We are using FrameMaker 10 and RoboHelp 9 on a Windows 7 platform.
We publish Webhelp directly out of FrameMaker. To do this, we first have to go into RoboHelp and set up an empty project. We configure File > Project Settings, and then also configure the WebHelp (Primary Layout) > Properties. Then, when we publish from FrameMaker, we simply point to the empty RoboHelp xpj file that we configured.
The problem is that some of the time the default topic is correct (the first topic in the FrameMaker book), but sometimes it is not.
As you know, if you set up an empty project in RoboHelp, you cannot do the following:
1. Select WebHelp (Primary Layout) > Properties (the WebHelp Settings window appears).
2. Expand the Content Categories node, and select Content.
3. Click the Select button beside the Default Topic field.
In an empty project (i.e., one that is not linked or imported), there is nothing to select.
So, my question is this: How is RoboHelp determining what to target as the default topic in the published WebHelp output?
Thank you in advance.
You should find that you can open up the WebHelp.ssl file (in your project directory) in a text editor to set all kinds of settings that are otherwise difficult.
As with any text edits to a file, make a backup of the file prior to editing!!
I believe we discovered the answer to the question.
When you publish from FrameMaker, look in the output folder. There should be a parent folder, named whatever you specified on the New Project Wizard in RoboHelp when you first set up the empty project.
For example, let's say we entered "Shiney New Online Help" in the field named "Enter the title of this project." In the published output folder, you will find a folder named, "Shiney_New_Online_Help."
If you open that folder, you will see a series of folders, one for each chapter in the book you published out of FrameMaker. Let's say you have ten chapters.
In FrameMaker, when you select the book, then select File > Publish, FM hands off the content to RoboHelp for publishing. RoboHelp converts the chapters to folders. Then RoboHelp seeks out the folder that falls first alphabetically in the list of folders, and then takes the first file in the folder and sets it to become the default topic.
So, to force RoboHelp to set the default page to what you expect, make sure the chapter name in FrameMaker falls first alphabetically in a list with the other chapter titles.
Thanks for the tips Jeff and Matt.
When I open the WebHelp.ssl file, I can see the following line:
<element name="SSDefaultTopic" value="First_Topic.htm" />
If I am understanding this line correctly, it explains why my previous post is true.
("First" means "first alphabetically in the folder that contains all of the chapter folders.")
Glad that you figured out what's going on ;>)
Still of the opinion that this "publish" method straight out of FM isn't quite ready for prime-time; you still get way more control going the conventional FM to RH route.
Hopefully folks won't mind me chiming in here. Note I'm horribly ignorant on Frame, but I do share a long history with RoboHelp.
Indeed, when you create a new project in RoboHelp, the default name used for the very first topic is "First_Topic.htm".
Because there are no other topics, this topic is configured and used as the "Default".
Helpful and Handy Links
Hi everyone, here is an update.
Nothing we tried has worked, including the following:
Somehow the WebHelp output seems to be selecting a default topic on its own, three files down from the top file as the chapters and files are organized in the FrameMaker book. We have not been able to fix this problem with RoboHelp properties prior to publishing, nor are we able to fix the problem in the published output after publishing.
Therefore, we are simply not going to use the feature to publish WebHelp directly out of FrameMaker. Instead, we will be forced to import the FrameMaker file into RoboHelp the old fashioned way, and specify the default topic after the import has completed.
Just FYI. Thanks for everyone's suggestions!
I'm having enough of my own problems with a linked project (that weren't there before the TCS Suite upgrade to 4), however I am seeing exactly the same behaviour as Tim. I had already deleted the First_Topc.html file after creating the project and my default page (from the WebHelp SSL Properties is C:\Help_Link\ICM Help\!SSL!\WebHelp\CIM_User_Manual\Copyright\Copyright.htm
However the WebHelp SSL file has the following as SSDefaultTopic - value="CIM_User_Manual\Auto_Provision\Auto_Provision.htm"
This is the first topic in the first folder for my linked project, and refuses to change from the GUI. Once I've changed it from the WebHelp.ssl file, it's ok.
Something seems to have gone very wrong with linked projects in TCS 4