Do you feel loved? Many technical writers feel unloved. They feel they don’t get the respect they deserve. I hear this on LinkedIn and Facebook: “people don’t respect the work I do.” Well, if that’s the case, here are a few ways to get more respect and move into a more rewarding career. Continue reading How Technical Writers Can Move Further Up The Food Chain
Ben says: “The goal of a project is to make the user successful at what he wants to accomplish. Go ahead, read that previous sentence a few times. It’s one that would do well to sink in.”
I’ve used the same technical writing tools for the last 5 years. A few products have come across my desk but nothing that really blown me away.
Here’s a run-down of what I use to write my technical documents. No order of preference. Which should I keep? Which should I replace?
Robohelp or Doc-to-Help?
My client has given me permission to use whatever tool I want to do the next batch of tech docs — and they’ll buy the software. No cost to me.
Which one should I choose?
Robohelp or Doc-to-Help
Doc-to-Help was the first help authoring tool (HAT) I used in my technical writing career. We’re talking quite a while back now. Since then Robohelp has overtaken it as the tool of choice for technical writers, especially as it’s now owned by Adobe and bundled with its Technical Communications software pack.
- I feel this product is under-estimated. Other technical writers (more knowledgeable than me about HATs) recommend it.
- Opportunity to broaden my skillsets (self-interest here and not to the client’s advantage!)
- Rapid response from Component 1 (product owners) when I contacted them. Very helpful. Only Techsmith (esp Betsy Weber) were more helpful.
- Price is not cheap
- Will there be enough qualified Doc-to-Help experts to take over this project when I move on?
- Does it integrate with other technical writing apps and/or Microsoft Word?
- Worried about lack of community support, i.e. from other technical writers, if I need help.
- Oceans of Doc-to-Help experts to take over this project
- Part of the Adobe Tech Communication suite. Maybe get discount.
- Arguably the industry standard
- Plenty of tutorials online if I get stuck
- Concern that there is no real advantage in getting the Tech Communication suite anyway as we (i.e. the client) won’t use it once I’ve left
- Found the user interface horrible to work with last time. Admittedly, this was four years ago but you know how these things stick.
Another alternative is Madcap Flare.
What do you think?
If you were in my shoes, what would you do?
Of all the technical writing tools I’ve used over the years, Epic Editor was probably the most impressive, especially when it came to doing tech documents that involved DocBook and Dita. It was difficult to learn – no point pretending otherwise – but once I got the hang of it, I used it non-stop for over 2 years. Then I switched companies are haven’t had the opportunity to use it again. With that in mind, here is a brief intro to EPIC Editor, Ivan’s favorite XML Authoring Software!
Update: Epic Editor is now called Arbortext Editor. You can learn more over here: http://www.ptc.com/products/arbortext-editor