Adobe releases Tech Comm Suite

The tech-comm blogosphere is erupting with news and reviews of Adobe’s new Technical Communication Suite.

For $1,600 ($1,000 for the upgrade version) you get FrameMaker 8, RoboHelp 7, Captivate 3, and Acrobat 3D.

My initial thoughts: $1k is a heck of a price for something this robust. It’s clearly an olive branch to a community that, in general, has felt somewhat neglected by Adobe for the past decade.

I cannot yet offer any opinions on the individual products themselves. I’m just returning from a hiatus of sorts, and am in the process of re-immersing myself in the tech-comm “world.” However, I think it’s safe to assume that FrameMaker will be impressive, since it was still impressive in its previously neglected self. Same with Captivate and Acrobat. RoboHelp 7 appears to be a significant improvement over version 6.

The critical opinion I feel informed enough to share at this time is a small disappointment in the choices made for the bundle. Yes, tech-comm folk use those four tools, but most that I know or work with use Photoshop just as regularly. And what about InDesign? Dreamweaver? Again, I use these products regularly; it’s interesting that these didn’t make the cut.

The Creative Suite line comes with many different incarnations (Design, Web, Production), each targeted at a specific group, yet each group has enough overlap to be useful for a wide variety of projects. Some might initially suggest that Adobe create “Print” and “Online” editions of the Tech-comm suite, but that’s product-oriented thinking, not workflow thinking. To me, it’d be nice to have a “Documentation” and “Training” versions of the suite, for instance.

One other gripe: Am I the only one who noticed that this suite isn’t in the CS family? Maybe Adobe thinks what tech-commers do isn’t “creative” enough to warrant the title. Hm.

At any rate, kudos to Adobe for finally getting on board in supporting this important niche of their customers. Companies like MadCap and TechSmith are building empires based on business models that serve the tech-comm community, and clearly Adobe noticed. No doubt things will get better for us as the giants continue to compete.

- Sarah @ Palimpsest has collected together some initial reviews of the TC Suite.

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