Re: MadCap

Subject: Re: MadCap
From: "Mike Starr" <mike -at- writestarr -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2006 02:24:21 -0500


Somehow this whole episode brings to mind the response I expect one might get if he/she posted a similar rant about Linux on \.

The folks over at RoboHelp did their best (probably unintentionally) to alienate large numbers of HAT users. As a result many in the community turned against RoboHelp and embraced the new kid (Flare). I suspect that a number of Flare users who've had problems have sucked it up because it wasn't RoboHelp. So I'm inclined to think that there are a number of folks whose ox has been gored and they're lashing out at the original poster because of it.

I became fairly antagonistic toward RoboHelp when ForeHelp fell off the market. I was a ForeHelp user and loved it and really resented RoboHelp for capturing so much of the market that the folks who sold ForeHelp couldn't gain enough market share to stay in business.

Having said that, I was forced to embrace RoboHelp because it was the tool in place where I was contracting. I'll grudgingly admit that I was reasonably pleased with it... it had its flaws but I was ultimately able to bend it to my will.

When Flare went into beta, I got a copy and tried it out. What I saw looked great and I really wanted to adopt it. Unfortunately, there was a dealbreaker there... Flare doesn't support WinHelp. That was what I was developing and I felt no need to transition to what I feel are inferior help formats for desktop application help. Now that Microsoft has announced the deprecation of WinHelp for Windows Vista the landscape appears to be changing and I'll have to evaluate my options (although my money is still on Microsoft changing their mind and including the WinHelp engine with the release of Vista). And there's no doubt in my mind that both Flare and RoboHelp will be strong contenders for my HAT-of-choice (along with AuthorIt, WWP and several others).

However, one thing that galls me is the attitude that if one buys V1.0 software, one should expect it to be only one step above abominable. Sorry, folks... my attitude is that if you take money for your product, it better damned well deliver. Bugs are going to happen but rushing a product into release before it's fully debugged is an unethical business practice in my book. V1.0 should be as bug-free as V2.0... incremental releases should be primarily for additional features and functionality, not for bug fixes.


<aside to Lisa>

I realize that the option of posting anonymously through the listowner has been around for a number of years but this is the first time I've heard that it was REQUIRED for anonymous posts to be delivered through that mechanism. I wonder if you'd expand on your reasoning for making it a requirement.

</aside to Lisa>

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