Getting started: Exploring Technical Communication Suite 2

Monday, October 19 2009 @ 7:58 PM, By Mayank Agrawal

If you are a FrameMaker author looking forward to publish your FrameMaker content in various output formats or if you are a beginner trying to start with Technical Communication Suite 2, then this blog is meant for you. This blog helps a user explore all the areas of the product relevant for a beginner.
The integration of FrameMaker and RoboHelp in Technical Communication Suite 2 is an end to end solution for publishing FrameMaker authored content in various publishing formats including

  • Air Help
  • Web Help
  • HTML Help
  • Flash Help
  • Printed output(PDF, DOC)

One can author his/her help content in FrameMaker or can start with legacy FrameMaker content. Once the FrameMaker content is finalized and author is ready to publish it, it can be linked in RoboHelp for further tweaks and publishing into various formats.
In order to bring FrameMaker content into RoboHelp, one need to start with creating a new RoboHelp project or opening an existing project in RoboHelp. The FrameMaker file (book/document) can be linked in RoboHelp project from File menu

LinkFileMenu.jpg

Or Right click menu
LinkRightClickMenu.jpg
Once the file is selected, RoboHelp scans the files (including all chapters and sub-books in case of a book) to read document catalogs and to create an exact replica of the chapter hierarchy in case of a book. The FrameMaker documents appear as linked documents in RoboHelp Project Manager Pane.

FMView.jpg ProjectManagerPane.jpg

One can specify to import the TOC, Index and Glossary content from the linked document properties.

FMDocumentSettings.JPG

Settings related to style mappings, cross reference mappings, image conversion, file splitting, conditions, autonumber conversion, applying template etc. can be mentioned using Conversion settings dialog. It can be accessed from File->Project Settings->Import Tab
SettingsDialogs.jpg

These settings can be saved or exported for reuse and can be extended to other projects.
Once these settings are done, FM content can be imported in RoboHelp using the Generate/Update menu. This content can then be published to any of available output formats from Single Source Layouts Pane.
Thus, TCS 2 provides an end to end solution starting with authoring of content in FrameMaker and finally publishing it using RoboHelp’s Single Source Layouts.
Please note that, RoboHelp maintains a live link to FrameMaker files. This means that whenever the FrameMaker content is updated, RoboHelp notifies the user that the content has been updated and it can be reimported into RoboHelp. Thus, an author can edit his/her content as many times as he/she wants and can publish it any point of time.
Also, the FrameMaker content imported in RoboHelp can be locally tweaked for publishing. The look and feel of the content can be managed using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).
This is how one can start exploring the product. This product has a very rich feature set for advanced users which is not covered in this blog. My previous blogpost http://blogs.adobe.com/techcomm/2009/07/framemaker-robohelp_integration_in_tcs_revamped_myth_or_trut.html talks about the various useful features of the product.
One can keep exploring and learning this rich and easy to use product. One may keep following this blog to have further understanding of the product.

All the Best!!!
Mayank Agrawal
RoboHelp Engineering Team

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