I would like to introduce the "Enhanced Search" feature of RoboHelp Server 8.
RoboHelp Server 8 has two modes of search.
In one mode of search, RoboHelp Server uses the search-index generated by the RoboHTML client which is published to RoboHelp Server when the project is
In the other mode, RoboHelp server re-generates the search-index at server. This is the default mode of indexing used by RoboHelp Server 8.
Server Side indexing (reindex=true) vs Client Side Indexing(reindex=false)
Advantages of Server side indexing as compared to Client Side Indexing-
a) This mode has better support for unicode search like CJK languages.
b) This search also supports wildcard search.
c) Its more efficient and robust.
d) Server Administrator can schedule reindexing of server documents at specified time. Any additional documents in pdf, doc, xls, ppt or txt format can be added to project folder on server machine explicitly at anytime and when scheduled indexing happens these documents will be indexed too and show up in search results.
This gives admin the flexibility to add documents other than RoboHTML published format to RoboHelp server and make them available to their end user via this search functionality.
Limitation of Server side indexing as compared to Client Side Indexing-
a) Project synonym list, phrase list and stop list is ignored while re-generating search index at server side.
b) Topic context is not shown in searh results.
However new search enhancements introduced in RoboHTML 8 like keyword search, ranking, excluding topic from search result are supported in both the modes.
To change the mode of indexing, user can follow these steps
-go to <RHServer8 installation path>/WEB-INF,
-open robohelp_server.properties file in notepad.
-set reindex=false (by default it is set to true).
-Restart the server(restart tomcat service)
Depending on their requirement, user can choose either mode of search.
I'm sorry but we are not finding the installation of RoboHelp Server 8 simplified nor easier as being promoted by Adobe. In fact, it's completely the opposite. Customers using IIS will be faced with figuring out and installing JRE and Tomcat, and for some companies, this may be the first time either of these technologies have ever been used. Neither JRE or Tomcat is included with the RoboServer 8 installation and forces the user to go out and find these resources, download them and try to figure out how they need to be installed. Why in world were they not included with the RoboHelp Server 8 installation and why weren't they automatically configured for the user? Additionally, the documentation on how any of this works is vague at best and extremely confusing. We have yet been able to get all of this to work!
We are extremely disappointments in the direction RoboHelp Server 8 has taken and the time, energy and resources being spent on getting it to work has left a lot of doubt in our minds about its future.
Whoa, Todd. My experience was just the opposite. After years of fighting that ugly IIS-only "RoboEngine", the new RoboHelp Server 8 was a dream to install. I am an author, not a developer or an IT network person. Yet, following the documentation, I downloaded Tomcat first and installed it on the default port 8080 (a single Windows .exe to install and fairly simple actually) Then I installed RoboHelp server and set up users and protected areas. It worked "as advertised."
I agree I was anxious at first because I had never installed Apache anything. I'm pretty much a Windows guy for good or ill. It took awhile for me to go to the Apache Tomcat site, but I figured out what to download pretty quickly. I don't know, but I think the reason Adobe doesn't include Tomcat in the install is because Tomcat is an open source software and constantly changing on their own timetable. Also, there might be support issues on non-Adobe software. Obviously, if it could be packaged as a single install, they would be definitely be more convenient.
Meanwhile, for a fumble-fingers, non IT guy like me, I was pleased with the outcome. So far I've installed it on three machines without a hitch. Maybe I was lucky? What I might do is create a Captivate movie on the install process so folks can see the procedure more clearly.
Tulika helped us get RoboHelp Server 8 running last Friday (3/20/09) but unfortunately, our help system still is not functioning because there appears to be some problem with the content that's preventing RoboHelp Server from running. Specifically, Tulika says:
"The problematic characters are : < (less than), > (greater than), " (quote), & (ampersand), ‘ (apostrophe) Scan your:
1) topic names
2) topic file names
3) toc book/page name
and remove any occurrence of the above mentioned characters."
Tulika and other Adobe support staff thought we could resolve the problem by upgrading the client version of RoboHelp to version 8. However, that did not solve the problem and we need to scan literally hundreds of help files for the above characters. These "problem characters" of course have always worked in the previous versions of RoboHelp (since v4) and we believe the RoboHelp client should trap for characters if they are not supported on RoboHelp Server 8.
John I'm really glad your installation has gone well because I can definitely say ours has not. Yes, I'm sure much of this has to do with us not being familiar with Tomcat and JRE but I also don't believe we should be required to figure out how to find, download and configure these applications when, in our opinion, they should be part of the install. My tech guys tell me Adobe has used Tomcat before in a product called Version Cue but it was completely transparent. Meaning, Tomcat was installed and configured as part of the CS3 installation, which is exactly what we would have love to happened here.
To give you some idea of what it has taken to get this installed here is our time-line:
- Purchased RoboHelp Server 8 on 2/4/09
- Tried to get it running internally for 2 weeks.
- Engaged Adobe Support on 2/24/09
- Meeting w/ Adobe Support Engineers 3/2/09
- Meeting w/ Adobe Support Engineers 3/3/09
- Meeting w/ Adobe Support Engineers 3/4/09
- (Little to no response from Adobe during these 2 weeks.)
- Called Support on 03/16/09 and wouldn't get off the phone until I talked to a Support Manager. Well, I had to get off the phone but Jeri did promptly call me back.
- Meeting w/ Adobe Support Engineers 3/18/09
- Meeting w/ Adobe Support Engineers 3/20/09
- UNRESOLVED, SUPPORT SYSTEM STILL DOWN (problem with "content")
Additionally, there has been dozens of e-mails going back and forth between Adobe and our company, literally begging them for help. We came to our breaking point last week and finally demanded Adobe escalate this issue to their engineers/developers. That's when we hooked up with 2 people that really made a difference: Shawn Cormier and Tulika Garg. Both of these people are top-notch and are the ones who got the server running for us on Friday (3/20/09).
As of this writing, Tulika is still trying to pin-point exactly what file in our RoboHelp project is causing the problem with the server (yep, we zipped up our entire project and sent it off to Tulika). We're hoping for two things: (1) she can find it so we don't have to spend hours/days debugging this problem and (2) what we sent her will help Adobe fix the client and server software so others don't run into the same problem.
This post is not meant to disparage Adobe or their support staff, engineers, etc. in any way and I hope it ends up being useful to someone out there (Tulika actually asked me to post this for you – which I thought was pretty big of her).
Good luck to all.
Ok, our RoboHelp system is up and running again. The problem was definitely with the naming of the files, which were not playing nice with RoboHelp Server 8.
Tulika helped us solved the problem, here's what she said and did:
*** "I upgraded your project to RHT 8 and replaced “&”, “>”, “<”, “ ’ ” with “_” just in the file names and the project worked just fine after that. I didn’t change it anywhere else i.e. the topic names and toc entries still contain ““&”, “>”, “<”, “ ’ ” and the project was successfully published to RoboHelp Server 8 and I can view it from Web Admin page as well." ***
I'm hoping that since you were successful with RS 8, you can help us figure something out. Basically, we're evaulated version 8, but still trying to publish our version 7 robohelp projects. It did take some IT folks with Tomcat experience to get everything setup, but it appears to be working. We were able to publish our version 7 WebHelp Pro project to the server (after some touch and go trying to figure out exactly what the server string had to be, etc.
What we cannot figure out is the URL that we are supposed to use to view the webhelp? That's the main thing. But we also get a message on the Troubleshooting tab that "No default project has been defined" along with the date. But we don't see the project in the list on the Projects tab.
Thanks in advance for any help. (P.S. We are trying to launch this as part of our pilot on Friday so need to figure this out ASAP!)
Can you please clarify something that our IT guy just heard from Adobe help when he called. They told him that the topic name and file name cannot contain any spaces. I understand that is true for the file name...it always has been that spaces are replaced by the underscore. I cannot believe that the same would suddenly be true for the topic name. That would make RS8 a no-go for us.
I'm sure this was probably directed at someone else, but I'd be totally shocked if that were true.
Keep in mind that Adobe Support is a call center. And what you get from a call center will likely vary. You have folks that are well versed in products and other folks that aren't nearly as well versed.
I stand to be corrected on this, but I've never known Topic Titles to have any effect on things other than what they display to the user.
Hi Kristen, Rick,
You can safely include space or other special characters like > < & ' (apostrophe) in your topic names and it shouldn't be an issue. Your webhelp published to RoboHelp Server 8 will work absolutely fine even if your topic names include any of the above mentioned characters.
However you should definitely replace > < & ' (apostrophe) with underscore in your filenames. But its only for filenames and you can freely use these characters in your topic names.
RoboHelp Server Dev Team.
Yes, I was pretty confident that was the case, regarding special characters and spaces. Adobe help also apparently attributed our errors to having hyperlinks to documents in Lotus Notes databases. I have done that for years with great success. I can't believe that would cause the issue unless for some reason, the length of the URL is now an issue? (LN links are 12 miles long!).
So basically, here's the low down. Apparently we can publish the test projects (e.g., clownfish schoo) to the server and launch it using the standard URL (which I think is something like <Server>/RoboHelp/Server/Prj=<project name>) There is some "redirect" action that converts the URL to what looks like gibberish, but it pulls up the project homepage.
When we publish our project, it does not show up in the RoboServer Admin tool and we cannot access it via that URL convention. It does attempt some redirect thing and then just displays a blank page (not even an error or "topic cannot be found" page).
We can't figure out what the heck is going on. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! (BTW, just to remind, we are publishing RH 7 projects to the RoboServer 8 trial version for testing).
UPDATE: We are now successfully publishing to the RS 8 server! We have been using it in our pilot release to about 300 users for about 1-1/2 weeks and have not have any stability issues whatsoever, unlike RS 7 which had to be rebooted almost daily because it went down all the time. So we are happy about this and plan to purchase the upgrade.
However (there is always a however!), we are now going back to working with a merged master/subproject methodology. We have successfully done this (following Peter Grainge's detailed instructions) to our old RS 5 server and it works perfectly. We have published the master project to RS8, which created the mergedProjects folder and related subprojects subfolders, per usual. We published the subprojects to their respective subfolders, per usual. But here's the however part...we cannot see any of the subprojects when we open the master, as we typically would.
I'm sure this is probably some simple setting we are missing or something. Does anyone know if this merge process has changed in anyway for publishing to RS8?
To the very best of my knowledge, the method of merging on my site works on RoboHelp Server so I don't think that is part of the problem. Unfortunately I don't work with RoboHelp Server so I cannot help you on that side of things.
I believe you are using RH7 to produce your help and I believe that needs a tweak to make it work with RHS 8. I am not sure offhand if that was part of Patch 3 and I will look into that as soon as I post this.
I am also asking someone else to look at this as he has more knowledge of RHS.
See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips
Thank you so much! I'm assuming this is a patch for RoboServer not RoboHelp? I'm also assuming I can download this from the Adobe site...and am off to look for it. But if my assumptions are wrong, please let me know.
Thanks again. I'll update the posting with the results and any lessons learned.
Actually the patch is for RoboHelp 7 and not for server. You need to apply this patch on RoboHTML 7 to enable publishing to RoboHelp Server 8. This patch can be downloaded from Adobe's site.
Again as I have always said, looking at the logs is the first step in troubleshooting any issue in server . So can you share your tomcat logs?
RoboHelp Server Dev Team
I did say the patch was for RH7. "I believe you are using RH7 to produce your help and I believe that needs a tweak to make it work with RHS 8."
You don't need to go looking for it.Check the version you are running by going to Help > About. If it is not 7.0.3, then go to Help > Updates.
See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips
Yes, you did say RH7. I was "already thinking". Re-read and figured it out. We installed the update and are re-trying to publish. But now I have another question. What my IT guy is telling me is that we can't "point" the output to the mergedProjects\subproject folder on the RS8 server (we point to <server>:<port>\robohelp\sever) and that by generating the master project, it should automatically copy over the subproject files, which are currently being published to the root, into the mergedProjects\subproject folders. This made me raise my eyebrows...is that correct? If that's true, that would suggest that I will need to republish the master anytime a change was made to any of the subprojects?
You have so helpful. I really, really appreciate it.
No. You have to generate each output separately. Generating the parent creates the sub-folder mergedProjects and the necessary folders for each child. You then have to generate each of those projects to the appropriate folder under mergedProjects.
I believe Adobe's instructions do indicate that you need to generate all projects. I don't. :-)
This is all covered in the instructions on my site.
See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips
I believe we have everything setup correctly, but having trouble coming up with the correct syntax to publish the merged subprojects to the server. This is what we thought:
Can you confirm if this is correct? We are able to publish all of the master and subprojects to the server at the root, but not in that hierarchy.
The way merged projects should be published to RoboHelp Server 8 is as follows:
1) As correctly pointed out by Peter, generate parent project which will create mergedProjects sub-folder inside the published output and the necessary folders for each child. You then have to generate each of those projects to the appropriate folder under mergedProjects.
2) Now you just need to publish the "parent project only" to RoboHelp Server 8 as you would publish any other project by creating a server configuration and specifying server url as "<server-name>:<port>/robohelp/server" and required user name and password.
3) Please note that you don't need to publish the sub-projects separately to
server as they will be published along with the parent project if you have
copied their output to the correct folder inside the mergedProjects folder
of parent project.
4) RoboHelp Server will automatically scan and figure out that the parent
project contains some sub-projects and when you will view them in Web Admin
UI, you will get a complete listing of parent project and also the sub
Just on a side note, it would be great if you could create new discussion
threads for different issues. This way it will be helpful for other users as
well who are trying to find help on similar issues.
The method you describe is to generate one by one the parent and then the child projects to their folders within mergedProjects and then publish the parent, which will publish the parent and the child projects.
I have always generated each project and when the Wizard gets to the page with View Results, I then choose Publish. In other words, I do each project one by one.
Your method sounds like an interesting alternative.Here we are talking about publishing to RoboServer which is not what I am using but is that method still valid when not using RoboHelp Server?
Presumably you right click the layout in the parent and click the Publish option there?
See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips
It definitely works in case of RoboHelp Server but I can't say for sure for webhelp output.Though I think it should work fine in case of webhelp as well because at the time of publishing, all content of SSL folder gets published, including the mergedProjects folder.
But still be I'll try it out and then get back to you with a definite answer
Thank you so much for all your help, Tulika and Peter.
We were pleased and amazed that we actually got everything published to our RS 8 server on Friday afternoon. Should I start a new discussion to post the steps we took?
It was a bit different than the way we have done it in the past, and I couldn't believe that now RoboHelp is "smart" enough to recognize the child projects and publish them into the appropriate subfolders automatically. But here is a brief recap of what we did (sort of a cross between Peter and Tulika's methodologies). Let me know if there's an even better way, but this definately works.
1) We have three authors using RH7 client. We set up all their folders to be the exact same on their local drives, and they are checking project files in and out of Source Control as needed. These are the "child" or subprojects. Everyone created new folder at the root of their "My RoboHelp Projects" folder called "Generated". This is where we point their local output to go (versus SSL...but maybe we should not have not changed that?).
2) We created a "parent" or master project, which only contains a home page and one TOC Book, into which all but 1 of the subproject placeholders were created (these are "work instructions" by different subject area). The remaining subproject placeholder was placed at the root of the TOC, following the book, as it contains "generic" content that is applicable to all subjects areas (e.g., forms, related documents, release notes, etc).
3) We published the master project as WebHelp Pro to the RS 8 server (server name syntax: <server>:<port>/Robohelp/Server). When we view the project using the RoboHelp Server Web Admin utility, we see only the home page. However, logging onto to the server using Remote Desktop, and viewing the folder structure, we can see that a subfolder was created called "mergedProjects", with subfolders beneath that for each of the children projects as defined in the parent project's TOC. At this point, however, these subfolders are empty.
4) We published all the subprojects as WebHelp Pro to the RS8 server using the same server string as above (we were not able to point them into the mergedProjects\subproject folder as we did when publishing WebHelp to the RH5 server). At this point, we now see that there are folders for each of the subprojects at the same level as the parent project on the server.
5) We re-publish the parent project exactly as we did in step 3. However, now we can see in the output pod, that files are being copied to the mergedProjects\subfolders. Indeed, if we watch the progress on the server, we see the files being populated in the mergedProjects\subproject folders. RoboHelp actually "knows" now that those files need to be there. Amazing!
6) When we go to "view project" using the server utility again, the master still doesn't show the content of the child projects. However if we enter the following URL in Internet Explorer, we see our master project with all the child content, organized in the TOC just as expected. The path is: http://<server>:<port>/robohelp/robo/server/general/projects/<masterproject>/<startpage.htm>. This would be the shortcut we distribute to our users or link to from other applications/help systems.
7) So now, our workflow will be that the authors will continue to work on their individual projects. They will generate locally and view the output to do their own QA, etc. Then they will publish to the server. Either daily or as needed, our "robocop" (who is responsible for the master project and coordinating everyone else's efforts), will publish the master project to capture and post all the changes made to the subprojects.
Overall, I'm really happy with the new RS 8 server and very happy to be able to report a success story. We've been using the trial version for 2 weeks now, and unlike RS7, it has not crashed or had to be rebooted once! We already got the approval to purchase the upgrade. We will continue using RH7 client for now, as they only recently upgraded from V5.
Again, that's to everyone for their help and support.
Kristen I just wanted to say thanks for how well you documented your situation. I'm sure a lot of folks will appreciate the process you described.
I was about three hours behind you in coming up with the same conclusion
Over the weekend I went to Peter's article on the Adobe Developer Network and downloaded his RH 8 Merged Sample project. I have been working on the Adobe RoboHelp Server 8 since beta but had not really pounded on the merged project technique. I had a similar experience to yours but I am still testing a few other quirks in the process. I'll let you know what I find. I really like the new server enhancements and stability and it is sooo much easier to administer than the old eHelp RoboEngine.
BTW, I was curious. You mentioned you followed Peter's method which uses a redirect on the default parent project to a topic in the Child_1 project. Did you follow this part of his suggestion?
Meanwhile, I appreciate Peter's and Tulika's fine assistance in guiding us along.
Adobe Certified RoboHelp and Adobe Captivate Instructor
Glad to know RoboHelp Server 8 is working great for you.
I want to make a small point on you steps to get your merged projects published to RoboHelp Server 8.
6) When we go to "view project" using the server utility again, the master still doesn't show the content of the child projects. However if we enter the following URL in Internet Explorer, we see our master project with all the child content, organized in the TOC just as expected. The path is: http://<server>:<port>/robohelp/robo/server/general/projects/<masterproject>/<st artpage.htm>. This would be the shortcut we distribute to our users or link to from other applications/help systems.
If you view your WebHelp Pro project using the url you mentioned above and viewing using "View Project" from Web Admin UI doesn't give you the correct TOC, then that implies there is some problem with your publishing mechanism.
Using this URL to view your project will prevent RoboHelp Server from gathering any data needed to generate reports like "Frequently Viewed Content", "Frequently Asked Questions" etc. The correct URL to view help should be "http://<server>:<port>/robohelp/server?prj=<masterproject>"
So you should essentialy follow the steps that I listed in my previous post where you aggregate all the child projects' output in correct folders inside "mergedProjects" folder of parent project's generated output and then publish the parent project only.
I tested publishing merged WebHelp from the parent when RoboHelp Server is not used. It did not work but I recalled that I have seen it work. At the time I thought it was a bug as in most cases when you publish the parent, it only publishes only the parent. On a few occasion though it has gone on to publish the child projects as well.
That was actually a waste of time as at that stage the child projects had not been regenerated so it was publishing stale output. I never did find out why this happened on less than say 5% of the occasions when the parent has been published. You could cancel and start the publish again and it would only publish the parent, all with the same settings.
If it is meant to work that way, then there is a bug that needs reporting. But is it meant to work that way?
See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips
Thanks John, and you're welcome! No, we didn't follow the re-direct steps, as we actually wanted to display the default page of the master project as our home page. We did follow the folder structure though, to make the linking between projects easier. The only hitch we've noticed lately is that our CPD files seem to be getting corrupt more often. It may be just because we've been making a lot of last minute changes and publishing a lot. But it's pretty easy to identify the problem...the project hangs when opening. Also, noticed a weird thing were subfolders are being created based on corrupted topics...or something like that. Still investigating that one. But otherwise, we're making great progress!
Would love to hear if you come up with any other suggestions or tips.
Thanks to all. This forum is great!
I am completely new to RoboHelp 8 and RoboHelp Server 8. I have been looking for training and documentation but everything seems to point to RoboHelp 7. I have checked the links provided with the software and I've found only one on-line training for RoboHelp 8. Most of the link on the website and within the software bring me to RH7 doucmentation.
So, my question is, is RH7 similar to RH8 that the trainings are interchangeable? From what I can see in the forums that does not seem to be the case and there are many differences between the two versions, so this doesn't seem to hold true.
Any direction to training or documentation that would help me to get started using RH8 and RH8 server would be greatly appreciated.
Hi, Karen and welcome to the Forums
The courseware for RoboHelp 8 has only just now been released. That is why you haven't seen any promotion of it. I have been teaching RoboHelp 8 with the RoboHelp 7 courseware and supplementing it with the new features in 8.
That said, to my knowledge there is no "standard" curriculum that anyone has developed for Adobe RoboHelp Server 8 (or earlier for that matter.)
I would be happy to discuss a customized training for that if you are interested. You may email me using the info in my profile.
Adobe Certified RoboHelp and Adobe Captivate Instructor
I have converted around 11 project from RoboHelp 5 to RoboHelp 8.
We had lot's of issue, but converted successfully.
Now after convertion, when user publishing project from his machine-- sometimes project published successfully and will display in robohelp admin panel. but sometime, project will display as published successfully, but it's not coming in RoboHelp Admin section.
I check index onserver, and found that files are not creating sometimes for user.
And when i am doing same steps from my machine, everything is going well..
I tried many times from my machine, same project, same configuration.... project published successfully from my machine,and shown in robohelp admin section.
Do you have any idea about this issue ?
Please help me asap, If possible.
I have had my index on Robohelp 8 HTML come u and am never able to see the end of my index.
I have over 3000 Topics and the index only works up the letter 'C', and then I see 'Loading index..' and nothing ever happens.
I am not sure if I have my Robohelp server 8 index set to 'true' or 'false', but could this be my problem?