Introducing Adobe Technical Communication Suite 3: Six Industry Trends Captured

On behalf of our various Adobe teams, who work on FrameMaker, RoboHelp, Captivate, Photoshop, Acrobat and on the product integration in the Technical Communication Suite, it gives me great pleasure to introduce our brand new Adobe Technical Communication Suite 3 (Twitter hashtag #AdobeTCS).

Today we are also announcing and shipping Adobe FrameMaker 10 and Adobe RoboHelp 9.

When I think about what these new releases mean to us, it really comes down to what we continue to hear from our customers, namely that their customers are demanding more from them, more interactivity and richer documentation experiences, that are socially-enabled, too.

This should come as no surprise to anyone, considering how the web, and perhaps more specifically Social Media, has revolutionized the way in which we consume and publish content these days.

Think about it, for the last 20 years, Online Help has not changed much, the traditional tri-pane format has remained static and hasn’t kept up with trending Web 2.0 technologies.

Meanwhile we are witnessing several revolutions that are fundamentally changing everything we do online. Our goal with this release is to bring innovation to the way our customers author and publish the next generation of Web 2.0 Documentation.

Instead of including a long list of new features in our Adobe TCS 3 and all the products that make up the suite, I thought I would blog about 6 key Industry Trends captured in these new releases:

1. Social Media —Just about everything we do today is in some way influenced by Social Media. Companies like Levi’s are making the shopping experience social by integrating Facebook in their online store, with their tag-line “like-minded shopping starts here.” Nike+ is making running a social experience. Google TV is making watching television a social experience with apps like the Twitter application, where you can be Tweeting as you are watching your favorite movie or show. Amazon with their “Popular Highlights” feature on the Kindle is making Reading a social experience. So why not make User Assistance (aka Online Help) a Social experience too? This is precisely what we are doing in Adobe RoboHelp 9, with features like enabling Topic Rating, Commenting and Commenting Moderation and the new Adobe RoboHelp Server 9 software.

2. User-generated Content — Today we are all Publishers thanks to the ease with which we can start a Blog, or launch a YouTube channel, or share content on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other networking sites. In 2010 alone, according the YouTube blog, we collectively uploaded 13 Million Hours of video and Flickr reported hosting 5 Billion images in September 2010. Here’s one more compelling statistic, Wikipedia now has 3.5 Million articles in English. What we need is a way to curate the very best of this content, and most applicable for our audiences, which is precisely what we are introducing in Adobe RoboHelp 9, with a new feature called External Content Search.

3. Multi-device Publishing — There’s a mobile revolution happening now and most statistics point to the fact that more people will access the web using a mobile device than a desktop computer by the year 2014. Tablets, smartphones and eReaders are fundamentally changing the way we consume content, and every industry is investigating how to publish their content to all of these devices. Fortunately, the huge majority of device vendors are embracing the ePub XML standard. In Adobe Technical Communication Suite 3, both FrameMaker 10 and RoboHelp 9 have one-click publishing to ePub.

4. Rich Media and Video — During the Web 2.0 conference, Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO, reported that there are 35 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute, and as mentioned above, the YouTube blog reported that we watched a combined 13 Million hours of video in 2010. The reality is that we are reading less these days and watching more videos. Companies like vook.com have realized this fact and provide a hybrid eBook experience. According to the company, a Vook “is a new innovation in reading that blends a well-written book, high-quality video and the power of the Internet into a single, complete story.” Apple is doing something similar with “Enhanced Versions” of their iBooks and Amazon with their Kindle A/V category of eBooks. In Adobe Technical Communication Suite 3, we are extending our Rich Media and Video support in FrameMaker 10 and RoboHelp 9 in order to enable our customers to author and publish richer, more engaging and more interactive Documentation. You can watch a video on this HERE.

5. Cloud-based Collaboration — Two years ago, we introduced a way to initiate PDF shared reviews in FrameMaker 9 through the Acrobat.com Cloud, where Reviewers only needed the free PDF Reader to participate. At the end of the Review, all comments are imported back into the original FrameMaker book, making this one of the most effective and streamlined approaches to documentaiton project reviews. This functionality was very well received and today we are bringing the same round-tripping capabilities to RoboHelp 9. In addition to leveraging the Acrobat.com cloud, our customers will also be able to leverage their existing MS SharePoint implementations for conducting project reviews. You can watch a video on this HERE.

6. XML Publishing — One thing I’m really excited about in FrameMaker 10 is all the work we have done around XML authoring and publishing. For our customers that are embracing the DITA standard, we have updated our support to the latest version, 1.2. For our customers in Aerospace and Defense, we now have built-in support for the S1000D standard. For our customers who have Documentum and SharePoint implementations, FrameMaker 10 now ships with connectors for these two Content Management Systems (CMS). These CMS Connectors are included out-of-the-box and at no additional cost. Also RoboHelp 9 supports publishing Help from FrameMaker 10 DITA 1.2 files. Finally our Element Tags are now Live, and we also have Designers for building Structured Applications, Read/Writer Rules files and more. Lots to be excited about if you use FrameMaker for Structured Authoring.

Please help us spread the news by clicking the ReTweet button at the top of this post.

I will continue to share more information and post more videos in the coming days, but for now here are some useful resources:

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  • Don’t forget Adobe RoboHelp Server 9 that was also released today. An excellent companion to Adobe Robohelp 9 output to enable you to gather feedback analytics on your documentation’s usage.

  • Sean

    So does RoboHelp 9 have any functionality to export Apple Help like it does CHM or are those of us who author Help Files for both platforms still left in the dark?

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