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From the sound of it your merge relates to merged webhelp sitting on a server rather than merged CHMs sitting locally. If so, then there is a full article on my site explaining the procedure. Whilst the screens are from earlier versions of RH, the procedure is still unchanged in RH7.
Essentially you will create a parent project which is just a shell. Then you create child projects as required. Any one customer gets the parent and just those child projects they require. For that reason you will need to be careful about creating cross project links so that you do not link to a topic that the client might not have. 404 errors are not pretty!
Merging of projects is more useful in a situation where multiple team members are going to be collaborating on different pieces of the same project. Let's pretend the team is working on a help system about soda pop. One team member would work on the Pepsi help topic, and one would work on the Coke help topic. When both team members output to the same place, the TOC for that project is going to grab both the Pepsi and Coke topics and merge them together in the project's TOC.
I think you would be better served just creating multiple (client specific) table of contents. That way if you need to output help for Company X, all you have to do is tell RoboHelp to use that company's specific TOC when generating their help.
This is just my opinion, but I think this is the best route to follow.
Hope it helps!
If TMSpats2 has 10 products and customers can have any combination of them, that's a lot of tagging to include/exclude topics and a lot of generating the different outputs. Just because a topic is not in the TOC does not mean it is not in the output.
With merged help, you generate each project once and just deliver the required combo.
Yes, you are correct. We are using conditional build tags a lot and the projects are getting very complex, but ....that is what product management wants.
...and soon we will be throwing in the multiple translations:)
They want complex projects or they want the ability to just deliver what is wanted. Surely they say what they want, delivering it is your call.
My point here is that with merged help your tags could go out of the window and life would be simpler.