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RoboHelp to Wiki Conversion Tool

by Tom Johnson on Feb 5, 2007 •
categories: technical-writing wikis

A RoboHelp to Wiki conversion tool has been announced. This tool will convert your RoboHelp project over to Mediawiki (Mediawiki is the same tool used to create Wikipedia). Other tools already exist that convert HTML pages to Mediawiki pages, but this RoboHelp2Wiki extension apparently allows you to convert batch files all at once. Here's an exerpt from the developer's blog:

When we create Product Design documents we include descriptions, requirements, test scripts, GUI mockups, and help text for each process step. We use RoboHelp conditional tags for each section, so the right information is outputted at the right time for the right audience. When we converted the RoboHelp files to MediaWiki with our RoboHelp2Wikiextension these sections become sub-headings on each article page. While we gained many benefits moving to a Wiki one important item was lost, the ability to output documentation. Printed documentation is still important for manuals, training materials, and sign-offs. Additionally, it would be very helpful to generate a hard-copy of the updated Product Design Document.

To solve these issues, I would need to convert over hundreds of Wiki articles into another format. Unfortunately, I have not found any good solutions for these conversions or the printing of Wikis in general. I have looked at the wiki2PDF scripts where user enters a list of articles and the script makes a single PDF file. However, it is based on the assumption I want to directly output the list of articles for final printing, which is not the case.

The ideal solution would be a new type of Wiki where the stored format can be used for multiple sources. A DITA based Wiki idea was floated and attributed to Paul Prescod, Group Program Manager, XMetaL in Crystal Ball: A DITA Wiki by The Content Wrangler and elaborated on by Anne Gentle in Document Actions Darwin Information Typing Architecture, meet Wiki. However, no such product yet exists.

The author is considering a round trip tool that would convert Mediawiki content back to RoboHelp, but I'm not sure if there are problems with RoboHelp's code that make it problematic. They are also looking at doing the same with Madcap's Flare.

I'm pretty excited about this tool because one of the main drawbacks of wikis (at least that I see) is the lack of compiling the information in an organized, easy-to-browse way like webhelp and also the inability to output the printed documentation as an entire manual. I haven't tried RoboHelp2wiki yet, but I just might.

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer / API doc specialist based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.