Old-time user, new ID. My company recently upgraded from RoboHelp 4 to RoboHelp 9. (Yes, we're slow about some things.) I was recently asked to upgrade our WebHelp Pro output, which had been posted to an old RoboEngine 3.1 server. Of course, the new RoboHelp 9 output does not play well with RE 3.1, and I got a "RoboHelp Engine server is not available" message when I attempted to upgrade the output. After doing a little research, I discovered that this lack of backward compatibility began with RoboHelp 7.
Fortunately, I made backups of my old WebHelp Pro output, and our users can still access the Help files. But I've been tasked with researching the upgrade path from our old version to the new one. So here's what I'd like to know:
Thanks in advance for your help. Nice to see that Rick, Colum, and Peter are still firing the big guns around here. I feel strangely reassured, as if everything will work out just fine
Welcome back Chet. I nearly typed the obligatory "Welcome to the RH forums" greeting when I saw your single post but that doesn't seem right here
The issue here is that the underlying RoboHelp and RoboHelp Server code was completely rewritten in Java. Personally I'm surprised you managed to get RH9 output running on RE 3.1 at all. It just goes to show what a error tolerant application it is.
You'd be far better off upgrading both the client and the server applications. I think you'll be surprised at just how easy RHServer is to install and use these days. No more fiddling with permissions. As for publishing, you still have a WebHelp Pro SSL in RH9. It does have some additional options and the UI of the RH Server application will have changed also. There is a lot of new functionality. You may find that the URL for the help is different though. There is an excellent guide that is worth reading called the RoboHelp Server Reviewers Guide. You can find it here and it will answer a lot of your questions.
One thing you may want to consider is migrating the data from RE3.1 to RHServer 9. The new app has a migration tool that can migrate from an earlier release. However I am not sure if it could cope with data from RE3.1. You could try, and it is doesn't get the data into the new database with SQL.
Oh, I couldn't get RH 9 to publish directly to the RE 3.1 machine, so I went to an old standby: FTP from the SSL to the RE 3.1 directories. Actually, I went even older than that: copy and paste! Unfortunately, the links to the new files didn't work, so I had to resort to the backups I'd made.
Thanks for the link; I've got the file open, and I'll read it today. I have a follow-up question. As I recall, the main advantages to WebHelp Pro are/were natural language search and the usability reports. But most of our users don't take advantage of the first feature, so the added value of the second is limited. Suppose I wanted to publish to a different format that users at different healthcare organizations (our clientele) could access over the Internet. Would we need RH Server 9, or would it be possible to publish the Help files in a non-WebHelp Pro format to one of our machines, yet still make it accessible to outside users? I don't want to explore the option of installing local Help/AIR on the users' PCs at this time; for now, I want to know whether it's possible to publish something like I used to, only without the need for RH Server 9.
The reports have undergone a lot of changed in RHS9 so they may be worth another look and the reviewers guide points to how they can prove useful. I've even used them to improve the UI as they allow me (with some lateral logic) to back up why the usability a dialog is poor. However if you decide RHS is not for you, you can just create the non-pro version of WebHelp, publish it to a server or intranet and have it available to your users.
Thanks again, Colum. I read the reviewer's guide from cover to cover but ultimately recommended to my boss that we not purchase RH Server 9. A quick review of our recent search results suggests that most users (a) are searching our clinical help, not our technical help, and (b) are using simple search terms rather than longer, question-style search strings. Given those factors and RH Server's continued availability should we change our minds, it's hard to justify IT's spending $999 on it right now when we can publish WebHelp output with a negligible loss of value.