Ben Hechter wrote: 

> If you had to design roundtrip documentation and help
> (Framemaker/Robohelp) for a constantly evolving product, would you:
> a) begin in Framemaker and export to Robohelp
> b) begin in Robohelp and export to Framemaker
> c) prototype in both and iterate as you go

I'd pick (a), but I wouldn't try to (or _want_ to) roundtrip. I've never
understood the attraction of this "roundtripping" concept. To me, it
implies that you have not one, but two "source" files for your content.
I want just one. 

I've used WebWorks (Publisher Pro in my case) and Mif2Go in the same
manner that Linda Gallagher described. My source files are in FM, and
WWP or M2G are tools for creating specific output/deliverables from them
(just like Acrobat Distiller). I have to configure those tools for the
output I want, but all content changes are made in FM. If I had the new
Tech Comm Suite, I'd expect to work the same way. 

I wouldn't expect to edit in RH and "roundtrip" those changes back into
FM any more than I'd expect to touch up text in Acrobat and "roundtrip"
that back to FM, or make changes to WWP's .htm files and "roundtrip"
those to FM. 

Even if the FM-RH integration supports that kind of workflow, it just
doesn't strike me as a good way to work. Maybe because I'd almost
certainly lose track of which "source" file is the most current. :-} 

If Jim Owens is right, and there are desirable help features that can't
be implemented via FM, then these are shortcomings in the tools that
ought to be put on the enhancement request list. But, IMHO, "make the
HTML roundtrippable" should not be one of those requests. 

BTW, if you want to see what it takes to make HTML "roundtrippable,"
have a look at the stuff MS Word creates. <shudder />


Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Polycom, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom

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