Monday, April 10, 2006

WinHelp is Dead! RoboHelp Lives!

Microsoft has made it official. Windows Vista, Microsoft's new operating system that is now expected to be released in early 200, will not support WinHelp.

Why is this important? Well, despite it being rather long in the tooth, some systems still use WinHelp. Some companies have found something that works, and sometimes that something includes WinHelp.

What does this mean? Well, if you have customers who are planning to move to Vista, you will almost certainly have to get rid of your WinHelp systems. Not the content, of course, but many of the carefully crafted ways you've developed to help users find information will have to be redeveloped.

Meanwhile, I just spent a bi of time with Michael Hu, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe and responsible for the RoboHelp product that came to Adobe via its Macromedia purchase. Among the things he told me: There are developers as part of the RoboHelp product team at Adobe.

That's right, developers are actually working on RoboHelp code. And some of them are right here at the conference to meet with and answer questions from their target market.

RoboHelp has a future.

What does this mean? Well, just one year ago, all evidence pointed to the end of the RoboHelp line of products. Macromedia had laid off the entire RoboHelp development team. User assistance developers needed to know what tools they would have to create their help systems, and suddenly, RoboHelp wasn't on that map.

Now it is.

Understandably, Hu couldn't be specific about direction or timetable. But he did say that one of the reasons that he and the developers were here at the conference is to get feedback from attendees and to find out what their needs are, and then to use that to drive at least some future development directions.

So there you have it. WinHelp, no. RoboHelp, yes.


At 6:06 AM, Blogger Phy said...

Good job, Chuck. Looks like you got the scoop!

Johne Cook

At 10:33 AM, Blogger Roger Bell said...

I am not at the conference, but would like to give some input to Adobe about RoboHelp features, bugs, and improvements. Do they have a Web spot or e-mail address that I can use to submit such comments?


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