WebHelp, Multiscreen, Responsive, Frameless - Which type to use?
For any help that had to be accessed from a server, WebHelp was the staple diet througout the life of the various Classic versions of RoboHelp. It started when help would only be viewed on a desktop computer and the layout comprised a panel on the left to view the TOC, the index or the glossary, a toolbar above to access the features and a main panel with the topics. With the advent of tablets and mobile phones (cellphones) the format was not suited to them as a different layout was required. Long term users of RoboHelp will also be aware that from time to time the browsers would change how they interpreted the code in RoboHelp and suddenly the help did not work until Adobe changed their code. In short, WebHelp's days were becoming numbered.
When RoboHelp's new UI was introduced in the 2019 release, this format was dropped in favour of responsive skins. See more about that below.
Multiscreen was the first solution to providing help that worked on different sized screens. Effectively it was three different skins that suited a device with the dimensions for which it was configured and that was ultimately its downfall. Many users either didn't undertand that or found it too difficult to customise to their requirements. Ultimately responsive skins were introduced where the layout automatically changed according to the size of the device.
There is more information about Multiscreen layouts in the RoboHelp Tour.
Multiscreen continued up to and including RoboHelp 2019 Classic but was dropped in the new UI version as it had not proved popular.
The advantage of the Responsive output is that the design and cut off point for each device is built in and requires no work on the part of the author, other than any chosen customisation. There is an editor built in to customise the skin.
Responsive layouts have proved to be hugely more popular than multiscreen. There is information about Responsive outputs in the RoboHelp Tour. The link goes to RoboHelp 11 information and there is more in the topics about later versions.
Some authors require the help to be available on the web and to be searchable through Google. Responsive skins still retain the three frame structure and Google does not index that well. Frameless puts all the help into one frame while still having the appearance of three frames by using div tags. That is behind the scenes so the author does not have to worry about them.
The big advantage of frameless skins is they offer more features and are where Adobe will be focussing on adding more features in the future. They can also be used on intranets so they are also suitable for authors whose help will be accessed locally.
Like responsive skins they automatically resize according to the device being used. See the RoboHelp Tour on my site to see an example.
If you were using a WebHelp skin, when you upgrade from a Classic version to 2019 New UI or to 2020, the name of your WebHelp SSL will appear in the list of Presets but note the HTML5 logo alongside. No skin will be selected in the preset but if you generate with that field blank, then Azure Blue will be applied. You can add further skins in the Skin settings and then select your choice in the Layout settings.
Alternatively, if you are using 2020 you can add a frameless preset.
If you were using a responsive skin, the same skin will be applied in the new UI. Any customisation made through the skin editor will be retained but any behind the scenes customisation will be lost.
If your context sensitive help is called using URLs, your developers will need to change the calls as described in RH2019 Calling Context Sensitive Help 2019 and Calling Context Sensitive Help 2020. As they have to change the calls regardless of which skin type you use, this would be a good opportunity to consider switching to frameless skins.
No change is required if you call the help using Map IDs.
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Changes to this page
22 Aug 2021
New topic based on the old HTML5 topic.