In a recently recorded webinar, Captivate and Adobe maven Kevin Siegel of Iconlogic.com demonstrated how shockingly simple it is to publish from FrameMaker to ePub using Tech Comm Suite 4 and RoboHelp 10. In less than an hour, you can view a real world case study in which a book that was actually published in print and as an eBook goes through the process of migrating from FrameMaker via RoboHelp to ePub format.
Kevin has successfully published many books to print and PDF. As Kevin illustrated in the recorded webinar, “Become an eBook Publisher for eReaders, Desktop, Mobile and Tablet Devices”, PDF can work on tablets or Kindles, but it is not particularly friendly when screens are rotated and gesturing is required for zooms. Unlike the ePub standard, text does not dynamically reflow based on changed font sizes.
If you already have the content, why pay someone else to create ePub?
Kevin discovered that a number of content aggregators are available to convert your FrameMaker or Word books into ePub for about $.50 per page. Some vendors charge as much as $400 to fix a typo? Wanting to take matters into his own hands, Kevin decided to publish his latest book on Captivate 6 to both ePub3 format and Kindle. In the recorded webinar, he showed nearly all steps involved, and that it took approximately 2 minutes to publish 250 “pages” to ePub.
Once a simple RoboHelp 10 project is set up, the process for publishing or republishing is very repetitious and a modest skill set.
Some helpful hints for publishing to print and ePub
Kevin Siegel recommends that you obtain ISBN numbers for your publications, and that it is a good practice to have a separate ISBN for the print version of a book and another ISBN for the eBook version.
If you are going to embed video in your content, you may want to avoid SWF (Flash) video, as it is not supported by Apple iOS. You can use mp4 video (now supported by FrameMaker 11 and RoboHelp 10), which should work well on most devices.
Metadata, including an image for the cover, is extremely important.
Dynamically updating source files for all output
Kevin demonstrated how FrameMaker books may be “linked” into a RoboHelp 10 project. If there are typos or desired edits, you would make those edits in FrameMaker to the source files and force update the RoboHelp project.
Try it for yourself!
The best way to determine if this solution will work for you is to download the trial version of Technical Communication Suite, which includes both FrameMaker and RoboHelp. As one attendee at the webinar commented in the chat window, “This whole process would save my company a ton of money!”