Can I use FrameMaker as my source for online help?

Explorer ,
Jul 12, 2021 Jul 12, 2021

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I've been using WebWorks to take my user guide content from FrameMaker and convert it to HTML online help. Can I take FM content and use it directly in RoboHelp somehow, or is there a more elegant solution? I'd rather stick with the Tech Comm suite. Thanks.

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correct answers 2 Correct answers

Adobe Community Professional , Jul 13, 2021 Jul 13, 2021
The install directories are different, so the uninstall should not impact anything. However, any files you create and want to downgrade will need to be saved as MIF to go all the way back to Fm 2015. There will likely be an extra folder in your roaming directory, but it won't impact anything. -Matt

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Adobe Community Professional , Jul 13, 2021 Jul 13, 2021
FM and RH have traditionally played nice with multiple versions on the same machine - the worst side-effect is the Windows file associations get mucked up - .fm files open in FM2020 instead of FM2015. HOWEVER, Acrobat is notorious for having a conniption fit with old copies - it tends to trash existing installs if they are present (and not told to be skipped) - thus the safe advice is always use another machine & copies of your content to play around with.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 12, 2021 Jul 12, 2021

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Depending on your version of FM (which you don't mention) you can go two ways - FM to HTML5 output directly or FM to RH to HTML5.

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Explorer ,
Jul 12, 2021 Jul 12, 2021

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Thank you for the quick response. Currently using FM13, planning to upgrade to latest Tech Comm suite. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 13, 2021 Jul 13, 2021

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Hmm, FM13 would be FM2015, right? IIRC that was the first year FM went into the year system of releases. So you already have the ability to publish to HTML5 in that version. I find that you get more control over the output if you go the FM to RH route, but YMMV. Play around & see what you can achieve. There have been issues reported in the FM to RH integration in FM2020 and RH2020, and RH2020 is a completely different UI compared to Classic versions from before.

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Explorer ,
Jul 13, 2021 Jul 13, 2021

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Thank you for your answers. I will check it out.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 13, 2021 Jul 13, 2021

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Jeff prefers the Fm to Rh to HTML5 route, and I prefer the Fm to HTML5 route.

The setup is similar, but if the straight output from Fm gives you what you need, eliminating the Rh updating process is (for me) a big plus.

Inserting Rh into the process means that there is an extra "update" needed to push content to Rh, which can take a few minutes.

I've also seen the Rh project get corrupted, especially in the 2015 and earlier versions of TCS.

Either way, you'll find the skins and options in the latest TCS are far superior to what is available in 2015.

-Matt

 

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Explorer ,
Jul 13, 2021 Jul 13, 2021

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Thank you for your response. I just started comparing the two and so far, prefer FM straight to HTML5, but we'll see when I get farther into the process. 🙂

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Explorer ,
Jan 26, 2022 Jan 26, 2022

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Hi, Matt:

 

I just completed your RH tutorial - it was so helpful to know where everything is located in the workspace. Lots of great tips.

 

I was planning to use RH for OLH and publish to PDF for our online manuals. I tested sending my existing FM files directly to a Responsive HTML5 output without making any changes. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the information came over. Of course, I will have to make sections of the chapters into topics and do other cleanup. Do I make those changes in FM? Maybe this is why Jeff prefers FM to RH to Responsive HTML5, as I could control the help output design in RH. 

 

Thanks!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 26, 2022 Jan 26, 2022

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@bronxguys02 did you move up to the latest 2020 version of FM? You should be able to control your pagination (that's the fancy word for "bust stuff into topics") in FM through the Publish settings.

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Explorer ,
Jan 26, 2022 Jan 26, 2022

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I updated to Version 16.0.3.979, if that is 2020. Sounds like I should complete a FM tutorial, too, to learn about its magical powers. I love all these options I didn't know existed!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 26, 2022 Jan 26, 2022

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LATEST

Both direct-from-Fm and Fm-to-Rh-to-HTML5 options use roughly the same pagination options.

 

Rh does have a few lovely skins/layouts that haven't made their way to FrameMaker yet.

 

The better skins and (perhaps) more intuitive context sensitive help options might be reasons to use Rh.

 

-Matt

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 13, 2021 Jul 13, 2021

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Your safest route is to use a non-production machine and download a trial of the 2020 suite. Then you can play away with a copy of your FM content to see what you can produce.

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Explorer ,
Jul 13, 2021 Jul 13, 2021

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Another great idea. Will do.

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Explorer ,
Jul 13, 2021 Jul 13, 2021

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What are the potential issues if I install the trial on my production machine? I assume the uninstall of the trial would remove the files that might cause an issue...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 13, 2021 Jul 13, 2021

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The install directories are different, so the uninstall should not impact anything. However, any files you create and want to downgrade will need to be saved as MIF to go all the way back to Fm 2015.

There will likely be an extra folder in your roaming directory, but it won't impact anything.

-Matt

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 13, 2021 Jul 13, 2021

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FM and RH have traditionally played nice with multiple versions on the same machine - the worst side-effect is the Windows file associations get mucked up - .fm files open in FM2020 instead of FM2015. HOWEVER, Acrobat is notorious for having a conniption fit with old copies - it tends to trash existing installs if they are present (and not told to be skipped) - thus the safe advice is always use another machine & copies of your content to play around with.

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