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Creating Help for multiple modules, multiple versions and multiple locales

Feb 1, 2013 4:11 AM

I need to put together a new help solution for a suite of applications. The problem I have is working out how to manage and publish the content. Would someone be able to offer any advice?

 

The software has:

  • Multiple modules
  • Head office and site versions
  • UK and US locales
  • Multiple software versions to be supported

 

Previously I used WinHelp, regenerating the project 6 times per software version to provide all possible permutations.

 

I’d like to create a single hosted help solution with a simple home/landing page that allows users to enter a natural search term – the results provided would be drawn from the database or collection of available help topics and ranked for relevance to application/version/locale etc.

 

Obviously the right help must be displayed, and I don’t want every topic to be prefixed with: [uk | head office | Module name | v3.5].

 

I have RH9 (for html and word), but would upgrade if I needed to.

 

I have looked into using Webhelp, Airhelp and even Wordpress but still haven’t worked out the best way to do this. I understand that this is not a normal posting, but if anyone can point me towards any information that may help me I’d very much appreciate it.

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 5, 2013 12:27 AM   in reply to R-A-X

    I think Content Categories could be a solution.

     

    Each topic would have such variances as required. Content that is UK specific would be tagged UK, content that is US specific would be tagged US. A build expression would then direct the right content to the right output. The Employee Care sample project that ships with Rh shows how to set it up and how it works.

     

    Your problem is going to be the sheer number of categories you are going to require, especially when you take multiple versions into account.

     


    See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

     

     

    @petergrainge

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 5, 2013 7:00 AM   in reply to R-A-X

    I think build expressions are what I am looking for, but if I need to create a new conditional build tag for every variation (Locale/Installation/Version) it will be become rather unwieldy and since new software versions are released almost quarterly it will soon become challenging to manage.

     

    OK, I am happy you picked up on that point. It will be challenging.

     

    Sorry but your requirement is a complex output so too will be the solution.

     

    Also, can I apply a build tag to an entire topic to include or exclude it from a build for whole topics that are UK or US specific?

     

    Yes. Whole topics or content can be tagged. You can apply a topic tag to exclude it entirely from some categories and you can have content tags so that variants of the topic can be generated so that a topic could be excluded from US but for UK it could then vary according to version, for example.


    From an authoring perspective I want to create a single help file, but I can’t have users scrolling through hundreds of possible help permutations to find the one they are looking for. Creating one help file will simplify the hosting of the webhelp too.

     

    You cannot have sub categories so you would create a category for each permutation. I don't think that would amount to hundreds though.

     

    ****************************************

     

    Another approach would be similar tagging but using multiple layouts. With categories, your output would have a folder for each category and when a user selects what they want, the system goes to the chosen folder. If you created multiple layouts, you would have much the same folders but each one would be a standalone help system. It would be for your developers to install the right help for each user. Not as difficult as it might sound. For a start, the versions would be simple to hook up.

     

    A lot of places stop updating help once either a new version is released or goes out of support.

     

    The best advice I can give is cut down the permutations as much as you can.

     


    See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

     

     

    @petergrainge

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 6, 2013 7:48 AM   in reply to R-A-X

    If they will not upgrade and their version is out of support, do you care?

     


    See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

     

     

    @petergrainge

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 6, 2013 10:33 AM   in reply to R-A-X

    If they are still paying then I do understand your dilemma. Good luck. Book some time with your therapist while you can.

     


    See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

     

     

    @petergrainge

     
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