What’s new in RoboHelp 9

Authoring enhancements

Shared and linked resources
Save time and boost productivity by reusing assets across authors and projects. The enhanced Resource Manager in RoboHelp 9 lets you add shared resources in Copy or Linked mode. RoboHelp supports the auto-update of linked resources if the resources are modified in the shared location. Using linked resources helps you maintain consistency and conform to organizational and industry standards. See Managing resources.
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Statuses of linked resources help identify need for update

Enhanced User Defined Variables and Snippets pods
The User Defined Variables pod and the Snippets pod include many usability enhancements in RoboHelp 9. Both pods are now search-enabled. You can now organize snippets in categories and expand and collapse each category. Support for sorting, and enhanced preview helps you insert, edit, and manage UDVs and snippets with greater ease. Capabilities such as organizing snippets into categories and converting them to text provide you with flexibility and speed.
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A. Search-enabled User Defined Variables and Snippets pods B. Snippets organized in categories

Paste rich HTML content
Copy and paste tables from Microsoft Word, Microsoft® Excel, and browsers. RoboHelp pastes rich HTML content with text formatting, tables, lists, hyperlinks, and images intact.

Automated CSH authoring
From within RoboHelp, open the application for which you want to provide context-sensitive Help and map dialog boxes with new or existing topics. Dependency on developers is minimal because RoboHelp extracts the context-sensitive Help IDs automatically. Updating or remapping topics is also easy because of the seamless integration of RoboHelp and the application. See Dynamic editing of context-sensitive topics.
Note: The application needs to implement context-sensitive Help using the RoboHelp 9 CSH API. Currently, only C++ APIs on Windows are supported.

Include external content in search
Specify URLs for content available outside the Help system (for example, in blogs) and map them to terms that users are likely to search for. By curating relevant content in this way, you can optimize the search experience for users and provide easy access to user-generated content. See External content search.
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Implementing external content search

Preview Web output in multiple browsers
Preview a topic or the WebHelp, WebHelp Pro, FlashHelp, and FlashHelp Pro output of a project with different browsers. Multibrowser support for previewing topics and project output helps you ensure that the content appears correctly in commonly used browsers. See Preview topics and View output.

Support for latest devices, products, and browsers
Stay up-to-date with support for the latest platforms, browsers, and devices (eBook readers, mobile devices, tablet PCs, and more). You can now import or link content from and publish output to Microsoft Word 2010 (.docx and .doc). End users can view content generated from RoboHelp in the latest version of Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome.

Integration with FrameMaker 10, Adobe Captivate 5, and Acrobat 10
RoboHelp 9 supports the latest version of Adobe products such as FrameMaker 10, Adobe Captivate 5, and Acrobat 10. Leverage the latest enhancements in these products, such as support for setting a text background color at both character and paragraph levels in FrameMaker.

RoboHelp Server reports to optimize content
RoboHelp Server provides a host of reports to understand how users consume the content. Take advantage of these usage analytics to optimize the content according to user needs. Now that you can include external content in search, you can even map content that’s already available outside the Help system and help users find the information they need.

For more information, see Reports in RoboHelp Server Help.

Import and linking enhancements

General import and linking enhancements
In RoboHelp 9, the following enhancements apply to import and linking of both Microsoft Word and FrameMaker documents:
Saves the relative path of the linked document
RoboHelp 9 saves the relative path, instead of the absolute path, of linked documents. As a result, the links work even when the RoboHelp project and the linked Microsoft Word or FrameMaker documents are moved.
Note: Earlier versions of RoboHelp projects that contain absolute paths of linked documents open normally in RoboHelp 9. While saving these projects, RoboHelp 9 saves the relative path.

Modify character and paragraph source styles
While importing or linking a document, you can modify the character and paragraph styles defined in the document. In the case of linked documents, style properties modified from within Microsoft Word or FrameMaker and modified from within RoboHelp can now co-exist. In other words, you can modify the style properties that you want to override in RoboHelp and allow other style properties to be modified in Microsoft Word or FrameMaker.

RoboHelp 9 maintains two styles sheets to manage the styles of a linked document. A [topic].css file stores the styles defined in the source document. The global CSS file, by default named RHStyleMapping.css, stores the details of modifications and mapped RoboHelp styles.

RoboHelp stores each modified style with the style name WD_[original_style_name] (in the case of Microsoft Word) or FM_[original_style_name] (in the case of FrameMaker) in RHStyleMapping.css.

Note: RoboHelp hides the [topic].css files from the workspace to ensure that source styles are preserved in this file.

Edit style sheets from within Project Settings
While specifying the import settings in the Project Settings dialog box, you can now edit the CSS file you want to use for style mapping. The Edit With option lets you select an editor from a predefined list, which includes RoboHelp CSS Editor and other registered CSS editors.

Import and export of settings from an ISF file
You can now import settings from a saved ISF file or export them while importing Microsoft Word and FrameMaker documents. Any changes you make to the settings after importing the ISF file are not saved; the modified settings are used only in the current import process.

Enhanced FrameMaker import and linking
In RoboHelp 9, FrameMaker document import and linking includes the following additional enhancements:
Support for importing or linking DITA maps and DITA topics
You can now import or link DITA maps (.ditamap, .dita, and .xml) and DITA topics (.dita and .xml). For RoboHelp, a DITA map is similar to a FrameMaker book and a Dita topic is similar to a FrameMaker .fm file. RoboHelp 9 also supports Ditaval, which means that you can now create output based on conditions specified in the Ditaval file. See Apply conditions from a Ditaval file.

Enhanced list import in FrameMaker import and linking
In RoboHelp 9, list symbols used in unordered lists convert without any distortion. If you select Convert Autonumber To Text, RoboHelp retains the list indentation style of the FrameMaker source document.

Enhanced table import in FrameMaker import and linking
Enhancements include the import of table titles as captions, caption style mapping, import of table headers <th> tags when the table style is mapped to [source], and the ability to configure table height and width, row height, and column width.
Note: RoboHelp CSS Editor does not support caption editing. However, if you create a caption style with another editor, you can duplicate the caption with RoboHelp CSS Editor to create additional captions.

Better conversion of Math equations, text frames, and freehand curves in FrameMaker import and linking
RoboHelp 9 uses Acrobat Distiller to convert FrameMaker Math equations, text frames, and freehand curves to images. Select the Use PDF To Generate Images option in the Conversion Settings dialog box to use this enhancement. See Image conversion settings.

Review and collaboration features

With RoboHelp 9, collaborate in multiple ways with other authors, SMEs, and end users.

Review in Design Editor
RoboHelp 9 lets you enable Track Changes in Design Editor and insert comments and changes directly in the project. Take advantage of this capability to implement peer reviews. Multiple reviewers can work sequentially and provide their feedback on the project. After the review ends, you can view and manage the feedback from Review Pane. For step-by-step instructions, see Review in Design Editor and Manage comments and changes.

PDF review
Create a PDF from an entire RoboHelp project or from parts of it, including topics, master pages, and snippets, and send it for review (Reviewers only need the free Adobe Reader to add comments to the PDF). After the review ends, import the comments into the project and view and manage the feedback from Review Pane. For step-by-step instructions, see PDF review and Manage comments and changes.

Rate topics and add comments in AIR Help
Gather end-user feedback by enabling topic rating and commenting in AIR Help (Adobe AIR Application output type). You can implement a trust-based setup on an internal server or a secure setup on a server running RoboHelp Server for users outside your corporate network. In both scenarios, RoboHelp supports comment moderation. See Review and collaboration in AIR Help.

Publishing features

Multidevice publishing with ePub output
With RoboHelp 9, generate project output for mobile devices, eBook readers, tablets, and other devices that support the ePub format. The output includes metadata conforming to ePub specifications. See Generate output in the ePub format.
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Access the ePub Generator script from A. File menu B. Tools menu C. Script Explorer

Publish to SharePoint
RoboHelp 9 supports publishing WebHelp, FlashHelp, and Browser based Help (Adobe AIR SSL) output to a SharePoint site using Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path. See Set options for generating WebHelp, Set options for generating FlashHelp, and Configure a server to host browser-based Help.
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Define SharePoint settings in layout properties

Dynamic user-centric content
Publish Adobe® AIR® and WebHelp projects as integrated Help systems with different content categories. Users select the content category that's relevant for them and navigate and search within the content category. Each content category has its own TOC, index, and glossary. Creating dynamic user-centric content is useful if end users have to quickly toggle between the content for different roles, products, or variants. For example, queries that a call center agent handles sometimes pertain to different areas of system administration (for example, user administration, site administration, and content administration). The ability to view and search the system administration content as a set of modular content categories accessible from the same interface works as a time-saver where you handle queries in real time.

For information about how to create content categories, see Configure the Adobe AIR layout and Set options for generating WebHelp.

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A. Content category definition in SSL B. Content category selection in the output

Merged AIR Help
The capability to merge the output of multiple projects is now extended to output generated using the Adobe AIR SSL. Both Adobe AIR output types—Adobe AIR Application and Browser based Help—support merging. See Merging Help projects.

Enhanced search experience
RoboHelp 9 ensures improved user experience by excluding unreferenced topics from the output and unreferenced baggage files from search. For a definition of unreferenced topics and unreferenced baggage file, see RoboHelp search basics. For the steps to exclude unreferenced topics and baggage files, see the relevant topic in Generate output.

See the following table to find the layouts that support the Exclude Unreferenced Topics From Output and Exclude Unreferenced Baggage Files From Search options:

SSL

Exclude Unreferenced Topics From Output option

Exclude Unreferenced Baggage Files From Search option

Adobe AIR

Output type: Adobe AIR Application

Yes

Yes

Adobe AIR

Output type: Browser based Help

Yes

Yes

WebHelp

Yes

Yes

WebHelp Pro

Yes

Yes

FlashHelp

Yes

Yes

FlashHelp Pro

Yes

Yes

Microsoft HTML Help

Yes

No

Printed Documentation

No

No

XML Output

Yes

No

Oracle Help

Yes

No

JavaHelp

Yes

No

Personalize or brand output
Change colors, styles, icons, and fonts to match company branding and other specifications with the brand new Adobe AIR Help Skin Editor. See Create custom skins for Adobe AIR projects.

Support for character encoding in SSL
Enables you to set character encoding at an SSL level when the web server to which you’re publishing has a character encoding different from UTF-8. For information about how to set character encoding for an SSL, see the relevant topic in Generate output.
Note: Character encoding in SSL is not supported for Printed Documentation and Microsoft HTML Help layouts.

Set a language for SSL
Override the language setting of the project by setting a language for the relevant single-source layout. RoboHelp uses the SSL language setting for the user interface (UI) strings and language-related UI elements in the preview and generated output. For information about how to set a language for an SSL, see the relevant topic in Generate output.
Note: Language setting in SSL is not supported for Printed Documentation and XML layouts.

Support for selection of browse sequences
In WebHelp and Adobe AIR layouts, you can now select the browse sequences that you want to display. If the layout defines content categories, you can select browse sequences for each content category. Further, in WebHelp layouts, you can enable or disable browse sequences at a project level. For information about how to enable or disable browse sequences and select them for content categories, see Configure the Adobe AIR layout and Set options for generating WebHelp.

Enhanced Printed Documentation output
Take advantage of enhanced style mapping options to generate better PDF output and printed documentation. In addition to mapping character and paragraph styles, you can now map multilevel list and table styles to the corresponding styles in Microsoft Word.
Important: By default, list and tables styles in Microsoft Word do not have names. Create new styles in Microsoft Word and name them so the style names are available in the drop-down list in Printed Documentation layout properties.
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Unnamed styles appear in the Microsoft Word styles (All) drop-down list as Unassigned

In the generated Microsoft Word document, the mapped styles retain the Microsoft Word style properties. For example, if you add a row to a table with shaded alternate rows, the newly added row has the expected shade. See Mapping styles.

With the new Insert > Page Break option, you can add page breaks in topics. RoboHelp honors the page breaks to add new pages in the Printed Documentation output.

Hide the Rank column in search results
For WebHelp and WebHelp Pro output, you can hide the Rank column in search results to allocate more space for displaying search results. The Hide Rank Column In Search Results option is available in the Search tab of WebHelp layout properties. See Set options for generating WebHelp and Set options for generating WebHelp Pro or FlashHelp Pro.

User customization features

In RoboHelp 9, organizations deploying Adobe AIR Application output (AIR Help) can configure features such as auto-update, commenting, and moderation settings through the configuration file and settings.xml files.

Customization through configuration file
In RoboHelp 9, an author can specify a configuration file path at the time of generating AIR Help (General settings in the Adobe AIR SSL properties). When the AIR application is distributed, users can copy the default configuration file from the SSL folder to the location specified in the configuration file path and modify the default settings according to their preferences.

Users can modify the following author-specified settings in the [configuration_filename].xml file:

Add the company logo and name
Personalize and brand the Help by specifying the company logo and name in the configuration file.

Enable or disable auto-update
Specify the preference for auto-update and override the author-specified auto-update setting.

Change the location of the auto-update XML file
Specify a location to store the auto-update XML file.

Change the location for storing comments
Specify a central location of choice for storing and syncing comments.

Change the status of new comments
Specify whether new comments are to be accepted without moderation.

Enable or disable topic rating
Allow or disallow users to rate topics.

For more information, see Configure the Adobe AIR layout and Distribute Adobe AIR output.

Customization through settings.xml
Users can override the moderation setting defined in the SSL by configuring the moderation state setting in the settings.xml file.

For more information, see Distribute Adobe AIR output and Comment moderation.

Usability and productivity features

Sample applications with layouts configured for multichannel publishing
RoboHelp 9 installation comes with two sample projects, Salesbuilder-Help and EmployeeCare. The Salesbuilder-Help project is designed to help you understand the new features offered by RoboHelp 9. The EmployeeCare project is designed to show how a knowledgebase can be created using RoboHelp 9. The layouts are set up ready for you to generate them when you have read the topics in the About folder. Both projects include the About Adobe RoboHelp 9 topic, which outlines the new features of RoboHelp 9. If a particular feature is used in the sample project you have opened, the icon appears below the feature name.

Workspace enhancements
In RoboHelp 9, you’ll find a host of workspace enhancements that give you flexibility and speed. Some of the key changes are as follows:
Easy-to-arrange pods
From the context-sensitive menu of the title bar of a pod, access options such as Dockable, Floating, and Tabbed Document to arrange pods in various ways. The menu also includes options to hide and close the pod.

Buttons in the Tabbed Document pane to open and close topics
Take advantage of fixed buttons in the Tabbed document pane to open and close topics quickly.

Topic drop-down list
When multiple topics are open, access an open topic quickly from the Topic drop-down list.
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Names of open topics appear in the drop-down list

Single-topic mode
Deselect the Allow Editing Of Multiple Topics option in Tools > Options > General to open and edit one topic at a time.

Uncluttered Tools > Options dialog box
The tabs in the Options dialog box are now displayed in a tree view in the left pane of the dialog box.

Save And Generate button for each layout
The properties dialog box for each SSL now has a Save and Generate button, enabling you to save modified properties and generate output with a single click.

Suppress messages while running scripts in TCS workflows
FrameMaker Server uses RoboHelp scripting APIs, and any message or alert in RoboHelp blocks the server. So RoboHelp 9 does not display unnecessary dialog boxes while running any script, especially in TCS workflows.

Read this articleto find out how Tech Pub departments are using RoboHelp Server to stay ahead of the competition and enabling information collection and publication.