Adobe Technical Communications Suite – Generating Adobe AIR Output from FrameMaker Documents

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With Adobe Technical Communication Suite and RoboHelp Packager for Adobe AIR (free download), you can now generate Adobe AIR output when you are authoring documents in FrameMaker. As part of Adobe Techncial Communication Suite, you can add FrameMaker documents and books as live links in RoboHelp and generate WebHelp output from RoboHelp. RoboHelp Packager for Adobe AIR enables you to generate Adobe AIR output from the WebHelp output. Adobe AIR output comes with several advantages – please check out Adobe Labs page for more details.

Generating Online Help for DITA content

If you are authoring in DITA, it is easy to convert the DITAMap file into a FrameMaker book or a FrameMaker document (see DITA menu in FrameMaker 8 below) and generate the HTML help using RoboHelp. If you update your DITA topics later, you can re-generate the FrameMaker document and RoboHelp will allow you to generate Online Help in two clicks (Update and Publish).

Another alternative for publishing DITA content to RoboHelp is to (a) create HTML files through DITA Open toolkit, (b) bring these HTML files in RoboHelp and (c) run publish/generate commands. RoboHelp also supports command line compile and publish. For generating overnight builds, you can run a batch command to download the source files from source control system, compile and publish the output.

Do you have a custom help viewer for cross-platform applications?

Online Help using Adobe AIR is an attractive alternative for cross-platform applications. Over the last month, I met several customers who write custom help viewers to support online help for cross-platform applications. This requires additional cost of creating and maintaining the helpviewer application. Helpviewer is not a simple application, it requires functionality for creating mini-TOC, breadcrumbs, browse sequences, support for skins or templates, support for PDF, SWF and other dynamic content and search functionality for multiple languages. If you are planning to add Web 2.0 features, there is additional effort required to create a commenting infrastructure. With Adobe AIR and RoboHelp Packager for Adobe AIR, you now have an easy out of the box cross-platform option available to you.

FYI- Adobe AIR for Linux (alpha) is now available on Adobe Labs.