Thoughts on Adobe's New Technical Communication Suite
I'm excited to welcome Adobe as a new sponsor for Tech Writer Voices. This past week, I've been playing around with their new Technical Communications Suite. This Suite includes Framemaker, RoboHelp, Acrobat 3D, and Captivate.
I've especially been playing with the Captivate-RoboHelp integration. So far I think it's pretty amazing. You can embed Captivate movies directly in your online help, even in drop-down hotspots. For example, you can have a drop-down hotspot link that says "Show Me." When the user clicks it, rather than opening up a new window, the show me demo drops down and immediately begins to play the demo.
You can either begin Captivate projects directly from RoboHelp, or insert the demo from an external Captivate file. (If you insert the swf file from an external file, be sure to choose the swf file that has the word Skin in its name so that the border and player controls are also inserted). With Acrobat 3D, you can even embed Captivate movies within PDF documents.
If you're trying to learn Captivate, by the way, check out the tutorials by Andrew Brown here: http://www.swict.com/captivatecourse.asp. Brown's tutorials are both helpful and a good model of how tutorials should be.
If you're a Framemaker user, RoboHelp has some stunning integration with Frame, but I haven't explored that yet. I'm mostly interested in online help coupled with Captivate tutorials.
For the podcast, I'll be doing some upcoming shows on Adobe products. They have quite an amazing lineup, and are now packaging their products together in suites (for example, see the Creative Suite).