What is the difference between outputting to HTML5 via FrameMaker or HTML5 via RoboHelp?

Community Beginner ,
Jun 28, 2018 Jun 28, 2018

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My company is new to outputting this way, and we own both options, so we are trying to figure out which is better for us. What are the differences in formatting options?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 28, 2018 Jun 28, 2018

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Oh, loaded question! Matt Sullivan would argue doing it all through FM is the way to go; I would state that the FM to RH route still offers more control and better layout templates. YMMV - try them both out - nothing ventured, nothing gained. You're not committed either way if you pick one over the other.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 28, 2018 Jun 28, 2018

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Ha! Had I gotten here first, I would have written exactly what Jeff did, except that I don't think Fm to Rh gives you any additional options in processing the content, and that the layouts are the same.

While the ability to directly edit the XHTML in Rh could give you a slight advantage in controlling your output, those edits would have to be done each time you update the Fm content.

For me, I see the net output as being roughly equivalent, and the direct Fm output method as much faster and with fewer moving parts.

@Jeff, what are the specific advantages you see in the Fm to Rh route?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 28, 2018 Jun 28, 2018

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@Matt - I like to tweak my ToC that I use for online content vs. the one I have in FM for PDF output. I also tinker with my mapids that come over. Regarding the layouts, I haven't seen anyone offer any additional designs for FM, but I sure have with RH (shout out to Willam van Weelden​). I also find that the FM Publishing pod obscures where all the settings are located - the workspace I commonly use in RH has all the SSL layouts out all the time. I also don't think that FM handles the resulting HTML5 filenames like it can via the FM to RH route (something to do with markers - I don't actually use it myself). Then there's the conditional text settings - I think in the straight-FM route you have to do all your Show/Hide stuff first and then publish; in the RH-route, you can send everything over & then only decide what to output via CBTs.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 29, 2018 Jun 29, 2018

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Additional designs for RoboHelp will also work with FrameMaker, as the publishing engine is the same. So anything on Help Essentials can be used with both applications.

If you want to customise the design of the output, I find that RoboHelp makes it easier to customise as you have direct access to al separate files. That is more obscured in FrameMaker.

If you make changes in RoboHelp after importing/linking, you will have to redo the changes. But you can automate that with ExtendScript. But you can probably do a lot of the same by using ExtendScript/FrameScript in FrameMaker. Personally, I prefer importing so that I can tweak the HTML and TOC before creating the output.

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 29, 2018 Jun 29, 2018

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Where do we start with formatting the output? Does our current FrameMaker doc template need to change to be compatible with HTML5 output? Or do we format after the fact in Frame or RoboHelp? Where do we find templates/designs/styles?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 29, 2018 Jun 29, 2018

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I have a free mini course on publishing from FrameMaker at Get free HTML5 training - Tech Comm Tools

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 29, 2018 Jun 29, 2018

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Awesome we will do that!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 29, 2018 Jun 29, 2018

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Hi Jeff, just in the interest of accuracy...

No, you have the same control over conditions and dynamic content with Fm as with Rh.

As Willam pointed out, his custom layouts work with Fm, and in the case of the most recent Adobe-supplied Fm templates, they were developed by him. (Willam, feel free to correct as needed!)

The mappings and customization experience of branding within installed layouts is effectively identical between the two.

I can't speak to the TOC customization, though you could easily modify a FrameMaker TOC in Fm to achieve what you're doing in Rh.

However, with the direct Fm publish route, you avoid the nettlesome process of updating your Fm content within your Rh project, which takes time, as well as can cause crashing and corruption of the Rh project itself.

Bottom line:

If your content is (and will remain) in FrameMaker, the direct route is more stable, faster, and much less effort.

If your content is and will be edited in Rh, then editing content and publishing from Rh is the way to go.

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