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mjptxtech
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Programmers editing the output files.

Jul 13, 2012 6:46 AM

We are using Flash Help with RoboHelp 7. Because there has been no technical writer working for this company for some time, the programmers have been directly editing the .htm files to update the help files. I am a recent hire and have been able to track down the source files, but of course the recent edits made by the developers are not in those source files. Importing the output files that have been edited causes huge problems. Any thoughts as to how I can fix this?

 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 13, 2012 6:58 AM   in reply to mjptxtech

    See Peter Grainge's site (www.grainge.org<http://www.grainge.org>) and look for "reverse engineering" - a painful process awaits ;<(

     
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    Jul 13, 2012 7:24 AM   in reply to mjptxtech

    Another method you could try (if the source files haven't been polluted by the output files, I forget if you said they had been or not) is to generate a new batch of help (which won't have the updated topics) and compare them to the edited output help files to see where the diffs are.

     
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    Jul 13, 2012 8:09 AM   in reply to mjptxtech

    Hi there

     

    This may not be as bad as it seems. What I would do is to examine the topics in the existing setup. Look at them using Windows Explorer. Specifically, I would sort them by date with newest on top. This should list the "last touched" files. I'd then import them into RoboHelp and just clean out the added scripting. It's really not as daunting as it looks.

     

    Cheers... Rick

     

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    Jul 13, 2012 8:24 AM   in reply to mjptxtech

    There are programs out there that will compare 2 text files and output the differences for you. They can usually be batched to chew through a bunch of files at once.

     
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    Jul 13, 2012 8:47 AM   in reply to mjptxtech

    Never really needed to use one, but I think you'd want something like UltraCompare

     
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    Jul 13, 2012 8:56 AM   in reply to Jeff_Coatsworth

    Hello again

     

    In thinking this through a bit, I'm wondering if there really is any value in using a file compare utility.

     

    Here's why.

     

    It sounds to me as if the developers have simply been amending the existing output files. Output files are fundamentally different from source files because the process of generating WebHelp modifies each file to include gobs of references to different javascript coding that makes WebHelp work.

     

    So if you are comparing the output files against the source files, each and every file in the project will indicate changes, no? Maybe the help system has 600 topics. Over time, the developers "touched" only 100. Thus you only need to identify the changes in those 100 files. But the file compare utility will list all 600 as having been changed.

     

    Something to think about... Rick

     

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    Jul 13, 2012 9:13 AM   in reply to Captiv8r

    No Rick, my suggestion was to take the original source files in the RH project, generate help & then compare that "original unedited" help content to the "new edited" help content that the programmers messed around with. Hopefully, only the diffs in content would be seen because they both originated from the same source files.

     
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