Content Creation/Authoring Tools


#1

I don’t want this to devolve into a debate or corporate shilling match… I just wanted to know what tools you or your team use to create documentation (end user, developer, etc.)

My team currently uses RoboHelp for end user docs and Sphinx for internal developer docs. Management is currently reassessing some different options and I wanted to get the pulse of our community. Thanks guys!


#2

We use DocBook here, partially enhanced with Bootstrap. I’ve been looking at AsciiDoc as a README-friendly alternative, since the converters to DocBook are pretty good, and it’s fairly easy to use the same build tools.


#3

I don’t yet know what we’ll use for end user docs. Currently, our developers are using AsciiDoc.

More than likely, I’ll look at using Author-it quite seriously once I start transitioning a real technical writing team into place. We’ll want to consider the amount and ease of content reuse, the ease of localization and how to manage content, the ability to maintain and roll back history instantly (due to the ease of working within a database object oriented system, as it is when you work within a content CMS), working in the cloud, and so on.


#4

I’ve come across a couple of companies now that use Drupal, for product docs that span the sysadmin and developer roles. I’d be curious to hear directly from anybody who’s on the ground with Drupal for docs – it does not seem like the most obvious tool to me, but I’d love to be shown its advantages.


#5

I use Oxygen XML to create content for end-user documents that can be single-sourced and output as PDF.

For blogs and small projects, I have discovered that Markdown is a quick and easy way to use a simple text editor to generate HTML code for blog posts or simple HTML files. GitHub and WordPress have their own flavors of Markdown.


#6

I use Doc-To-Help with Word source to create web-based Help systems, and I love it. It’s exactly what I need.


#7

reStructureText and Sphinx are my primary tools. Markdown/pandoc was used for some docs, but I’ve converted everything to RST that was previously in Markdown.


#8

Over the years, I’ve used various products, but my favorite approach is using DITA (an XML format created via oXygen XML editor) so I can leverage reuse and output multiple formats, including Word. A few clients are firmly married to Word as both the creation tool and the delivery tool. It’s feasible for ‘hand-crafted’ documents, but drives me crazy when they decide to change the look and feel. Reformatting in Word is time out of my life that I will never get back. However, if it’s in XML, I tweak the CSS or XSLT and regenerate the output. :smile:


#9

I’m a big fan of Sphinx, and think it’s often misunderstood and much more powerful than people give it credit for. We’ve also recently adding Markdown support, so that removes one of the biggest issues people have with it, I just need to publish a blog post on it.

In general, I’m a fan of rst/md/adoc files in a source control repo, when documenting things about source code. Keeping the docs & code together is a huge win, and invites developers to write documentation in a much more real way.