• New blog going live!

    We have created a new blog for HAT-Matrix.com called The Mad Hatter (hat tip to Sarah O'Keefe for the name!), so we are closing this version. The new blog can be found at http://www.hatmatrix.com (no hyphen). Be sure to change your bookmarks!
  • MadCap Software announces two new products

    MadCap Software has announced the release of two new products, MadCap Analyzer and MadCap Lingo.

    MadCap Analyzer proactively suggests document development improvements and provides the most comprehensive project reporting in the technical documentation industry, delivering more than twice the functionality of any competing solution. MadCap Analyzer works with both MadCap Flare and MadCap Blaze.

    Read the MadCap Analyzer press release.

    MadCap Lingo rewrites the rules for translating documentation, eliminating the need for file transfers. MadCap Lingo is tightly integrated with MadCap Flare and MadCap Blaze.

    Read the MadCap Lingo press release.

  • Vendor announcements for LavaCon

    The Fifth Annual LavaCon starts next week, held in New Orleans in conjunction with Project Management Institute's Greater New Orleans Chapter. Two HAT Matrix vendors have made announcements:

    • Adobe Systems will be demoing the new Adobe Technical Communication Suite, which includes the latest versions of RoboHelp, FrameMaker, Captivate, and Adobe Acrobat 3D. They are also offering a 10% discount.
    • MadCap Software will be demoing their new products MadCap Blaze, MadCap Lingo, and MadCap Analyzer. They are offering a discount on MadPak ($999, instead of the normal price of $1,416 or their online sale price of $1,199), and for every seat sold, they will donate $100 to New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity.

    In addition, across Systems will introduce version 4.0 of the across Language Server.

  • Definitions one-third finished...

    Definitions have been added for just over one-third of the listed features. Even though some definitions are not better than all, we are turning them on.

    Definitions have been finished for the following categories:

    • Content Management
    • Context-sensitive Help
    • Customizing the Outputs
    • Database and Database Management (new category)
    • Development Platform
    • History (new category)
    • Outputs
    • Workflow (new category)

    Definitions still need to be added for features in the following categories:

    • Development Environment
    • Development Features
    • Development Features - Extras
    • Hyperlinks
    • Images
    • Import Content From ...
    • Import Features
    • Localization and Translation
    • Reusable Content Across Projects
    • Reusable Content Within Projects
    • Single-sourcing Features
    • Support
    • System Administration
    • Table Editor
    • Web Standards and Accessibility
    • Workflow

    We'll post updates as the definitions are added.

    UPDATE: Due to the way the database was set up, we can only enable definitions on the "up to four" report. We're working on another idea...

  • Currently making updates...

    Just a note that we're making some database updates. Because the edits take place in real time, you may get some weird results until all changes have been incorporateed.

    We're also adding definitions to the individual features. Once all definitions have been added, we'll turn them on. (Definitions for the categories "content management", "context-sensitive Help", and "database and database management" are finished.)

  • HelpStudio 3 released

    Innovasys has announced the release of version 3 of their popular Help authoring tool, HelpStudio.

    HelpStudio 3 includes the following new features:

    • Multiple language authoring, using locales for management.
    • Widgets, which allow you to create and edit complex content (such as drop-down sections, expand-in-place images, note boxes, includes, and more). Widgets are stored as XML, but edited in a WYSIWYG environment.
    • Feedback support for gathering and analyzing reports, which works in combination with a .NET web application (a license is included in HelpStudio).
    • Source control support with Team Foundation Server, SourceGear Vault, Subversion, and Perforce.
    • Integrated style editor.
    • Style Picker window with WYSIWYG preview.
    • Page Map that indicates how elements are used in a page. Elements can be manipulated with drag-and-drop or cut/copy/paste.
    • Element Bar that displays the current element's position in the page hierarchy.
    • HTML Source Intellisense for tags and attributes.
    • Preserved undo/redo history when switching between visual, HTML edit, and preview modes.
    • Convert table row to header.
    • Auto See Also links and categories.
    • Custom topic properties.
    • Custom topic status codes.
    • Property filters.
    • Help 2.x XML Island.
    • Hyperlink title synchronization, which synchronizes hotspots with topic titles.
    • Help 2.x link designer.
    • Document! X filtering.
    • Add indices and glossaries to PDF booklets.
    • Breadcrumbs.
    • Browser Help toolbar for access to quick search, print, refresh, back, forward, TOC, index, full-text search, and favorites.
    • Browser Help index search.
    • XHTML output.
    • Glossary preview (without building the output).
    • Project index editor.
    • Clone topics, build profiles, and booklets.
    • Customizable topic caption.
    • Runtime merge for HTML Help 1.x and Help 2.
    • Print topics while in Preview mode.
    • Thumbnail options.
    • Use regular expressions in Find and Replace.
    • Build flags for files other than topics (for example, images and stylesheets).
    • Build flags for keywords and See Also links.

    For more information, see HelpStudio 3 Product Overview.

  • Doc-To-Help 2007 update released

    ComponentOne has released Doc-To-Help 2007 v1, the latest update in their annual subscription plan. This version includes:

    • Breadcrumb navigation tracking in HTML-based outputs
    • Generate PDF button in Microsoft Word
    • JavaScript search option in NetHelp for "no install" searching

    For more information, see What's New in 2007.

  • List of upcoming blog articles...

    The following items are in the queue for upcoming HAT-Matrix blog entries (it's been a busy couple of weeks!):

    • Doc-To-Help 2007 (update) released
    • HelpStudio 3 released
    • AuthorIT 4.5 (update) released
    • Flare 3 announced
    • Dana Worley's WritersUA presentation on converting WinHelp to HTML Help with Doc-To-Help (which includes an analysis of several other HATs)
    • AuthorIT V5 announced

    WritersUA recaps are available at the helpstuff blog (http://www.helpstuff.com/blog) and at Chuck Martin's WritersUA blog (http://writersua2007.blogspot.com).

    Stay tuned!

  • Doc-To-Help 2007 v1 announced

    ComponentOne has announced that Doc-To-Help 2007 v1 will be released on March 19, 2007. This version, part of Doc-To-Help's yearly subscription release cycle, adds a powerful new search engine, a new breadcrumb navigation feature in HTML-based outputs, and a "Generate PDF" button in Microsoft Word.

    These features give Doc-To-Help users a higher level of customization, and makes delivering effective Help systems and printed documentation to users even easier than before.

  • Visit some HAT-Matrix vendors at WritersUA!

    The WritersUA Conference starts in just over two weeks (you have registered, right?). At this year's conference, the following HAT-Matrix vendors will be at the exhibition:

    • 4.ST Belgium NV, makers of HelpServer
    • Adobe Systems Incorporated, makers of RoboHelp and FrameMaker
    • AuthorIT Software Corporation, makers of AuthorIT
    • ComponentOne LLC, makers of Doc-To-Help
    • Innovasys Ltd., makers of Help & Manual
    • MadCap Software, makers of Flare

    In addition, Sarah O'Keefe from Scriptorium Publishing Services will be at the exhibition, and she will present two sessions: Introduction to DITA and Coping with the XML Paradigm Shift.

    Rob Houser of User Assistance Group will present an optional Sunday seminar (Writing for Small Spaces: How to Create Content for Just-in-time User Assistance) and two sessions (Getting the Most Out of the Latest Features in Captivate and Introduction to Adobe RoboHelp).

    Char James-Tanny of JTF Associates, Inc. will present Innovations in Help Authoring Tools and will co-present Implementing Accessible Web Design with Brian Walker.

  • EC Software releases Help & Manual 4.3

    EC Software has announced a free update of their popular Help authoring tool Help & Manual, now at version 4.3. HTML-based Help output has been improved with multi-frame support, better search engine optimization, and more customizable navigation. A syntax highlighter for C# has been implemented (by popular demand). The PDF export has been improved and includes file embedding. And the screenshot editor has been updated.

  • Help Generator from AGORA Software BV / 4TOPS has joined HAT-Matrix

    AGORA Software BV / 4TOPS has developed a variety of tools to make the life of developers on the Microsoft Platform easier and more productive. Their flagship product, Help Generator, scans the application and automatically generates HTML files, screenshots and other elements needed to make the help and documentation. Help Generator works with applications developed in Visual Studio 2003/2005, Visual Basic 6, and Microsoft Access.

  • More updates to the matrix...

    The following changes have been made to HAT-Matrix:

    • Help & Manual: Development Environment > Vista-compatible
    • FAR: Development Environment > Vista-compatible
    • FAR: Outputs > HTML-based Help (IE7 compatible)
    • FAR: Outputs > HTML 4.x
    • FAR: Outputs > DHTML (HTML + JavaScript)
  • Congratulations to ComponentSource winners!

    ComponentSource has announced their Bestselling Product Awards for 2006, and two HAT-Matrix vendors placed in the Top 100:

    • EC Software's Help & Manual ranked 70th
    • ComponentOne's Doc-To-Help ranked 83rd

    In addition, other ComponentOne products also won awards, including Studio Enterprise, which placed 5th.


  • Help & Manual updates their feature selections...

    EC Software has updated their features selections on HAT-Matrix.com, specifying the following items:

    • Content management > See relationships between topics in a project
    • Context-sensitive Help > Windows applications
    • Context-sensitive Help > Edit map numbers by topic
    • Customizing the outputs > Customizable layouts: PDF template
    • Customizing the outputs > Master page
    • Customizing the outputs > Search in output: DHTML
    • Development features - extras > Manage recent files list
    • Development platform > Mojo Pac
    • Development platform > Windows
    • Development platform > Windows Vista
    • Hyperlinks > DHTML: screenshot hotspots
    • Hyperlinks > Jump to files
    • Hyperlinks > Test: during development
    • Images > Screen capture application: built-in
    • Import content from > XML: built-in schema
    • Localization and Translation > External translation support: generate XML file
    • Localization and Translation > Select language for spell check
    • Outputs > HTML-based Help (IE7 compatible)
    • Outputs > PDF (Unicode)
    • Reusable content across projects > Graphics
    • Reusable content across projects > Imported files
    • Reusable content within projects > Character
    • Reusable content within projects > Conditions/conditional tag sets
    • Reusable content within projects > File
    • Reusable content within projects > Paragraph
    • Reusable content within projects > Snippets
    • Reusable content within projects > Templates

    The following items have been cleared (we incorrectly selected them):

    • Import content from > XML: DITA
    • Development features > Edit/audit history
  • MadCap Flare 2.5 adds new features

    MadCap Software has announced version 2.5. This upgrade is free to all existing Flare 2.0 customers.

    The new features include:

    • Fully localized Flare interface into German, French, and Japanese
    • Microsoft Word 2007 Support
    • Microsoft Windows Vista Support
    • Improved search (synonym support) in WebHelp and DotNetHelp
    • New output formats via Microsoft Word 2007:
      • Microsoft XPS (XML paper specification)
      • Microsoft DOCX
      • PDF
    • New integration features with Capture and Mimic
      • Insert media directly within Flare
      • Cross-media variable support

    The following items have been added to the HAT-Matrix.com, and selected for MadCap Flare:

    • Output: Print (Microsoft Word 2007 .docx)
    • Localization and Translation: Localized Interface
    • Customizing the Outputs: Synonym support in search (HTML-based Help)
    • Output: XML (Microsoft Word 2007 .xps)
    • Output: PDF (Microsoft Word 2007 .pdf)

    The following item has been changed:

    • Output: Print (Microsoft Word 2007) is now Output: Print (Microsoft Word 2007 .doc)
  • STC Carolina: Free Mini-Conference on Online Help Trends

    STC Carolina is hosting a free mini-conference this Saturday. Don't miss "Online Help Trends in the Triangle and Beyond," a day devoted to learning the latest in online help trends. Come share your own tips and tricks. Best of all, registration is FREE to all!

    Scheduled presentations include the following:

    • Open discussion to provide an overview of online help and to show samples of what different folks are currently doing.
    • Ann-Marie Grissino of Keypoint Consultants will show the newest help authoring tool today, MadCap Flare. Flare is a help authoring tool that produces many types of help (including Flash-based help) and plays well with FrameMaker.
    • Sheila Loring of Scriptorium Publishing Services will show how to create online help in FrameMaker using a cool DITA XML workflow.
    • RJ Jacquez, Senior Technical Evangelist for FrameMaker and RoboHelp at Adobe Systems, will join us via an Acrobat Connect session to talk about the venerable RoboHelp and its latest incarnation, RoboHelp 6. Expect lots of excitement during the question and answer period.

    We will also give away Adobe and MadCap Software t-shirts, plus one licensed full copy of MadCap's latest release, Flare 2.

    Date and Time: Saturday, February 10th, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


    Talley Student Center
    North Carolina State University
    2610 Cates Avenue
    Raleigh, NC

    Directions: <http://www.stc-carolina.org/tiki-index.php?page=Unconference+Venue>

    Registration: Registration is FREE for STC Carolina chapter members and non-members. To reserve your spot, leave a message at +1 919-564-2359 or send a note to stcprograms AT pobox DOT com.

    Food: Please bring lunch money to supplement the provided snacks.

    For more information, visit the STC Carolina web site.

  • Updates to Doc-To-Help features list

    The following features are applicable to Doc-To-Help and have been selected in the Features list:

    • Context-sensitive Help: Automatic mapping of topics
    • Development Environment: Vista-compatible
    • Hyperlinks: Cross-reference: PDF
    • Import Features: Split imported docs by style
    • Outputs: HTML-based Help (IE7 compatible)
  • Got an opinion?

    One of the benefits of HAT-Matrix is a section on reviews, where you can share your opinions of the tools that you use and read what others have said. Visit the HAT Reviews page and let others know what you like (or don't like) about the HAT that you use.

    Disclaimer: you have to register to leave a review, which will be approved before posting. (This is so we don't get a million spam reviews.) We will not change your posting or share your personal information.

  • Latest changes...

    The following features have been added:

    • Development Environment > Microsoft Word 2007
    • Development Platform > Windows Vista
    • Output > Print (Microsoft Word 2007)

    The following items have been updated:

    • Doc-To-Help: Development Environment > Microsoft Word 2007
    • Doc-To-Help: Development Platform > Windows Vista
    • Doc-To-Help: Output > Print (Microsoft Word 2007)
    • AuthorIT: Output > Print (Microsoft Word 2007)

    Also, we just noticed that the following options were accidentally cleared from "Reusable Content Across Projects" for Flare, and they are now enabled:

    • Alias files
    • Browse sequences
    • Conditions/conditional tag sets
    • Dictionaries
    • Glossary/Glossary Objects
    • Graphics
    • Header file
    • Imported files
    • Publishing destinations
    • Search filter sets
    • Skins/layout design
    • Snippets
    • Targets
    • TOC/TOC objects
    • Topic/topic objects
    • Variables/variable sets: used in development
  • Doc-To-Help announces support for Vista and Word 2007

    ComponentOne today announced the release of Doc-To-Help 2006 v3.1, adding support for Windows Vista and integration with Microsoft Word 2007. The update will be available on 5 February 2007. Current subscribers receive the new version as part of their annual subscription.

    This announcement makes Doc-To-Help the first tool to publicly announce support for Vista and Office 2007. (Note that AuthorIT automatically includes support for Word 2007, although it publishes to .doc by default. Word 2007's new extension is .docx.)

    Read the press release.

  • Latest status on the WinHelp Viewer...

    Microsoft told the Help MVPs yesterday that the code base for the WinHelp viewer for Vista is stable, but additional testing is required. At this time, it looks like the viewer will be released in late February.

    Stay tuned for more information...

  • Latest features added to the matrix...

    The following features have been added to the matrix:

    • Content databases (MySQL, SQL Express, and MSDE)
    • History settings (audit trail)
    • Merging files (if the same file is concurrently edited by two authors)
    • Branching (lets you create multiple streams of development)
    • Offline Mode (lets you work locally on content, then resynch updates to the database)
    • Searching in the output: CGI, DHTML, and Natural
    • User-customizable Home Page and Search
    • Cross-references (direct from the tool): PDF
    • RSS Feeds (under Customer Support)
    • Accessible PDF Files (tagged)
    • Test Hyperlinks after compiling output/during development
  • RoboHelp 6 features added to HAT-Matrix.com

    The new features for RoboHelp 6 have been added to the database. RoboHelp 6 is a bit different from earlier versions in that it includes RoboSourceControl, RoboScreenCapture, and Adobe Acrobat Elements, and some of the selected features require that these extra applications have been installed. If you have any questions, please post a question at one of the various user groups or install the trial version.

  • What's new in RoboHelp 6?

    Sign up now for a free online seminar from Adobe and learn about the new features in RoboHelp 6. The seminar will be offered on Thursday, 25 January 2007, from 1 pm to 2 pm Eastern time. (Use the World Meeting Planner to find out what date and time that is for you.)

  • HelpConsole 2007 Lite joins HAT-Matrix.com

    HAT-Matrix.com is pleased to announce that HelpConsole 2007 Lite from Extreme Ease is now included in our database.

    HelpConsole 2007 Lite is a server-based application that lets users produce static HTML-based Help. Check out HelpConsole 2007 Lite today!

  • HelpServer joins HAT-Matrix.com

    HAT-Matrix.com is pleased to announce that HelpServer from 4ST is now included in our database.

    HelpServer is a multi-platform, web-based solution for documentation for an enterprise. It includes many features that teams can take advantage of. Check out HelpServer today!

  • MadCap Software announces an update for RoboHelp users

    MadCap Software has announced a special update for RoboHelp users. RoboHelp customers who still have remaining months left on their RoboHelp maintenance plan can ‘grandfather’ those months into an equivalent Flare maintenance plan at no charge.

    For more information, see the MadCap Software website.

  • WritersUA early registration deadline is 5 January 2007

    If you're planning on attending the WritersUA Conference in Long Beach next March, take advantage of early registration! Prices can be combined with other discounts (for example, if you attended the WritersUA Conference in 2006, the price is $895. If you didn't attend last year, the price is $995.)

    Joe has scheduled over sixty sessions presented by forty-five speakers, and you can also take advantage of the Peer Showcase, exhibition, product demonstrations, and, of course, networking! Visit the conference registration page.

  • AuthorIT announces version 4.5 update

    AuthorIT Software has announced that an update to version 4.5 is coming soon. This update includes:

    • A new Translation Export Wizard
    • Exporting images with XML files
    • New File Object option that uses a link to a URL
    • EPS and TIFF support
    • New publishing templates for Microsoft Word and HTML

    Read the article.

  • Mif2Go announces latest revision

    Mif2Go has released Package 33 Revision 47 for Windows. The latest revision includes support for Eclipse, updated index entry generation, and more.

    Jeremy Griffith sent an email to all users this week with instructions for downloading the latest version.

    For more information, visit the Omni Systems site.

  • AuthorIT Software is one of the fastest growing companies!

    Congratulations to AuthorIT Software, which "has been recognized as one of the fastest growing companies on the annual Deloitte / Unlimited Fast 50 list".

    Read the press release. Visit the AuthorIT website.

  • Doc-To-Help announces update

    ComponentOne announced Doc-To-Help 2006 v3 on Friday, 8 December 2006. This latest update includes team support, enhancements to NetHelp, publishing directly to PDF, and online-only conditional build tags for an entire document.

    For more information, visit the DoctoHelp website. Read the press release.

  • Let's catch up!

    So how are you? We're fine...just busy! I know, I know...it's been over a month since I added a blog entry. I just didn't adequately plan for all the time the matrix would take during its first month.

    And our first month was busy! Visitors from 42 countries have run almost 1300 reports during November. The stats are interesting...the busiest time of the week is 10 am, followed by noon, 3 pm, and 4 pm (all times GMT-5). And the busiest day of the week is Tuesday, followed by Wednesday.

    As I mentioned in November, the following vendors/HATs have signed up:

    In addition, some information is available for Omni Systems' Mif2Go, and we're in the process of adding 4ST's HelpServer.

    We're also adding new categories to the matrix and rearranging some of the features. (Some of those categories were getting a bit too long.) After all updates are made, you can use the matrix to find features in the following categories:

    • Content management
    • Context-sensitive Help
    • Customizing the outputs
    • Development environment
    • Development features
    • Development features (extras)
    • Hyperlinks
    • Images
    • Import content from
    • Import features
    • Localization and Translation
    • Outputs
    • Price
    • Reusable content across projects
    • Reusable content within projects
    • Single-sourcing features
    • Support
    • System administration
    • Table editor
    • Web standards and accessibility

    After the categories and features have been updated, we need to add the appropriate ticks for the different applications. New blog entries will let you know which applications have been updated.

    More information coming soon! Thanks for reading :-)

  • HAT-Matrix.com is officially open!

    As of 1 November 2006, HAT-Matrix.com is officially open. Later today, I'll remove the old HAT Matrix PDF from helpstuff.

    The following vendors and HATs have signed on with HAT-Matrix.com:

    • Adobe (RoboHelp X5)
    • AuthorIT Software (AuthorIT Enterprise Version 4)
    • ComponentOne (Doc-To-Help)
    • EC Software (Help & Manual)
    • helpware.net (FAR)
    • Innovasys (HelpStudio 2)
    • MadCap Software (Flare 2)

    We are in the process of adding definitions for both the categories and the features. These definitions should be available by next week.

    And if you are a consultant or trainer, consider signing on with HAT-Matrix.com! People need your help, and the site statistics show that the consultant and trainer searches are extremely popular.

    Coming soon...blog entries introducing each of the vendors in our database. Stay tuned!

  • The site is "unlocked"

    We're not quite ready for our grand opening...but the doors are open and visitors are welcome! A few pieces of information are still missing, and we're working to gather them. (And we plan on making other changes to the site during December...first we have to see how everything that we've got now works out.)

    Next week...on 1 November 2006...we'll start making formal announcements.

    We're excited...nervous...a little bit of everything. The goal is to help people find the application that best meets their needs, and we think we've accomplished that. But until we start seeing a steady stream of visitors and gathering more feedback, we won't know which pieces we've missed.

    Our thanks to both the vendors who have signed on and our site sponsors!

  • Site development is progressing

    It's been a busy three months as we pulled everything together. Our "go live" date has slipped, but not badly...we are now aiming for 15 October 2006.