Choosing a Documentation Tool…Part 1

For many years, I have worked with hi-tech companies, creating their documentation and/or online help using a variety of industry-standard tools. In recent weeks, two companies have asked me to help evaluate their current and expected future needs to determine the best tool for them.

In each case, I created an extensive presentation with the following sections:

It has been an interesting exercise – made more interesting by the fact that I was involved in two at the same time.

One company (Company A) is using AuthorIT and wants out – partially because of the higher costs, partially because they want a less proprietary solution in place. Cost is a major factor for them as is the ability to learn the tool quickly and make future changes in house.

The other company (Company B) has recently acquired three other companies (of these, one uses LaTeX, one uses Word, and one uses Doxygen). The main company has used RoboHelp for limited help generation while the bulk of their 60 active documents are in Word/PDF. They anticipate future growth as they integrate and expand their product offerings, and they wanted me to consider localization as a requirement.

In the next few posts, I will go into further detail about each of the sections of the presentations and the recommendations I made for each.