Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Do you have a favorite Help authoring software?

I'm in the process of evaluating help authoring software and was curious if any readers have a favorite I have not yet considered.

My core requirements are as follows:
  • Imports either WinHelp or HTML Help 1.x file format
  • Files are stored uncompressed as either XML or HTML
  • Compiles to HTML Help 1.x, Help 2 (Visual Studio), and WebHelp
  • Supports automated builds (command line compilations)
So far I have evaluated:
  • EC Software's Help and Manual
  • Innovasys HelpStudio
  • MadCap Software's Flare
  • Oxygen XML Editor
  • Just Systems XMetaL
And the contenders are:
  • EC Software's Help and Manual
  • Innovasys HelpStudio
  • MadCap Software's Flare (no Visual Studio help support though...)
If you have experience with any of these packages or war stories to tell I'd love to hear them. You can leave any feedback in the comments section of this post. Thanks!

2 comments:

Fred Ahrens said...

I prefer Help and Manual. It works now for me for years.

Pros:
- creates CHM files
- creates PDF files
- WYSIWYG document editor
- style support (like in Word)
- compiler switches allow to have all content for demo versions, full versions, light versions etc. in one project - and they give you control about what content should go into the different output formats (requirements for a printed documentation might be different from an online help)
- integrated project management
(small feature set but very efficient)
- help compiler can be used from command line (nice for complete project builds)
- very good support, errors will be fixed quickly
- fun to use!

From time to time I try other packages - but finally they are just different and not really better.

G√ľnter Kieninger said...

Help&Manual ist the best I know.

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