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WebWorks ePublisher 2008.3

Oooooooooooooooh boy.

How to start this off? Have you ever used a product, and you thought it was pretty good, and so you decided that when an upgrade came out, you’d buy it? And so you do, and the day comes and you install your new program… And it’s lousy?

If you liked to use WebWorks ePublisher 9.3 to render HTML help files, then buy yourself the new version and this experience can be yours.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the two parts of the suite, Pro and Express pretty much must be used together. Why? Because only Express can apply stationary (formatting files used in ePublisher) and only Pro can create them. Pro also can’t do much of anything with earlier webworks projects that have stationary applied meaning that if you want to edit any of your 9.3 stationary, too bad, you can’t.

Pro takes longer than ever to create help (a real curse since you’ll be using it to rebuild your stationaries whenever you make changes) and just as with older versions, most changes to your help must be made in the files and hard code of your projects. Why not just use Dreamweaver? I had to use Dreamweaver, and Microsoft Word, AND Photoshop just to recreate a stationary in Pro.

Speaking of Word, if you want to make help from Word files in ePublisher 2008.3, you’ll pay for the pleasure. WebWorks now licenses the codecs for different filetypes independently, so if you buy the licensing to make help files from FrameMaker, then decide you need Word, you’ll have to pay. How much? More than a little.

Bottom line: unless you’re trying to build a help system from DITA (which this version of ePublisher actually seems pretty good at) this is a shabby excuse for an upgrade and may actually cost you some functionality. Oh, and don’t bother consulting WebWorks’ documentation- your main source of ePublisher info will be the official blog, created by WebWorks so users could come together and share solutions to their problems. Hey WebWorks: next time try hiring PAID BETA TESTERS. It gets the job done faster, so you might be able to release a good product.


Categories: Technology Tags: , ,
  1. March 24, 2009 at 2:27 am

    Wow… you have to use the express version of the software as well as the pro to perform tasks? I’ve never heard of that before! LOL Normally Pro is the express version plus more. Application FAIL!

  2. andrewvcgmail
    March 24, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    Thanks for the review. I am one of the good folks at WebWorks (and have been for 9yrs) I respect your review and knowledge – however I don’t think you have the entire story on Pro/Express – I would love to share some thoughts with you anytime. You can contact me at andrew@webworks.com

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