A new software release is always exciting. It comes with a promise that features you’ve been wanting might have been included. Problems (okay bugs) have hopefully been fixed. Sometimes, it even comes with more than you imagined.
Today, Adobe announced the release of its latest Technical Communication Suite – Release 2017 (TCS 2017). TCS 2017 is especially exciting for us because it will have its premier debut at MEGAComm, Israel’s annual conference for technical writers and marcom professionals!
I was honored to have been given a sneak preview and was amazed at the amount of changes, new features and advances that made it into this release. FrameMaker has been given a huge facelift. It has always been a workhorse, a solid, dependable application that was, to some extent boring. It did its job day in and day out, but without fanfare and without fuss.
In the last couple of versions, FrameMaker began making noise. Not content to be in the shadow of Microsoft Word, it broke out and away by adding HTML output. This latest version continues by focusing on simplification and it is…simply wonderful. There’s a new Search option that allows you to quickly type in the name of a command rather than have to remember on which menu the command is located. This feature alone will save you hours! Another amazing feature is the ability to allow users to search for text within SVG images! FrameMaker 2017 also enables you to auto-generate mini-TOCs (automatically updated, of course) for ALL supported outputs. I think the feature that I liked the best was one that would benefit my team – and that’s the new Insert menu. Everything you want to insert – images, files, variables, elements…in one easy place. Oh, and if you’ are someone who loves shortcuts (me, me, me), the menus have been modified to now include a listing of all the many shortcuts you can use.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I’ve been using, recommending, teaching RoboHelp almost since it was first released. In this latest version, Adobe continues to bring RoboHelp and FrameMaker closer and closer and yet still, RoboHelp remains the tool that enables you to more easily customize the look and feel of the output to the needs and preferences of your end-users. One great new feature I wouldn’t have thought to ask for and yet has frustrated me for years, is the ability to import whole folders, rather than individual files, to baggage files. Like FrameMaker, RoboHelp is setting the industry new standard with its Dynamic Content Filters, which finally lets your end-user choose the visible content according to tags you set. For example, if you support and sell multiple versions, users can select to see topics related to their specific version. Multiple user roles? A user from one role can filter results for that specific role (or any other). Multiple region support? Users from each region can filter out other regions dynamically while still having access to the information should they need to shift regions.
Considering that TCS 2017 was only released today, I guess I have time to detail other amazing features in the coming weeks and months as I familiarize myself more and more with the latest features Adobe has added to this version but from my brief sojourn into the world of TCS 2017, I can tell you it’s a solid, exciting, ground-breaking release and I look forward to writing about it again soon (and even more excited to really begin working with it for real as I move my work-related projects into 2017 and beyond).
Kudos to the Adobe team – you guys did a great job!