I discovered WebWorks products fairly early on in my career as a technical writer. ePublisher has always done what I want and quickly, so I have never been encouraged to explore other HAT systems. Since I cannot really compare ePublisher to any other HATs, I’ll tell you why I always encourage my workplaces and other technical writers to choose ePublisher.
• All of the underlying files are exposed in ePublisher. Nothing is hidden and I can customize anything. This means that I can use ePublisher at a very basic level through the UI, or at a very high level through the underlying files.
• Something that I’m coming to appreciate more and more is that ePublisher ingests content authored elsewhere, and not from within ePublisher. Some people might see that as a weakness, but it prevents an all-your-eggs-in-one-basket scenario. Certain other companies seem to like to encourage their users to get locked into “suites” of software, and then change the business model, thus making it expensive to stay and expensive to leave.
• ePublisher handles DITA beautifully especially since it ingests DITA directly. When I created my first DITA-based online help system, my junior writer and I were learning DITA, converting messy, unstructured FrameMaker to DITA, writing new content, and going from innocence to experience in a very short time under deadline. Previous experience with ePublisher made me confident that I could make the deadline. ePublisher’s ability to combine FrameMaker, Word, and DITA made me confident that I could still produce output even if I didn’t have all of my unstructured FrameMaker content converted to DITA. Although we managed to get all of our content converted to DITA on time, I have relied on combining different source file types at other times to get me out of a pickle or two.
• Since ePublisher is an inline process, it reduces production time. Once my stationery is set up, creating help systems is very rapid. I have used that fact to justify to upper management that buying ePublisher would allow my small team of two to keep up with increasing product changes by shortening production time and increasing time to create content.
• WebWorks listens to customer feedback and incorporates it into product releases sooner rather than later.
The fact that ePublisher is so darn fun to play is beside the point.