18 Replies Latest reply on Jul 10, 2008 8:11 AM by hughbetcha

    Installing RH on a Network Drive

    CeeEllBee
      Hi,
      I know this topic has been revisited a number of times over the years. My apologies for the sequel. I am trying to explain to our network admin folks why we should not install RH 7 copies on each author's private 'H' drive. In this case, H is a network drive accessible to the author. The environment here is pretty locked down and almost all other apps are available over a network drive, rather than local. For example, MS office is run via H.
      I have researched a bit, and found that RH has an underpinning of an Access db. Further, I have found that Access dbs don't do so well over networks.
      Is this still true for RH 7?
      Can anyone offer some tech-speak that would ward off the hounds? They are unwilling to accept the plain language, "I know it won't work."
      It would seal the deal if an Adobe person could offer the "company line" on the practice.
      Thanks.
        • 1. Re: Installing RH on a Network Drive
          Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP
          Hi ConTextCB

          It's not the RoboHelp application files you are concerned with being on the network. Instead, it's the project files you create using RoboHelp that shouldn't be on the LAN. As long as you work with your projects while they are on your local PC, you should be fine in this configuration.

          Now if your IT folks are wanting to install a single license of RoboHelp on the network and have multiple users accessing and using a single license, that is both against the licensing rules as I understand them as well as probably being a recipe for disaster.

          Hopefully others will offer other insights.

          Cheers... Rick
          • 2. Re: Installing RH on a Network Drive
            CeeEllBee Level 1
            Thanks Rick. We are in full compliance with RH licenses. No worries there.
            The IT dept hope is to install each licensed RH 7 copy on the LAN and to store the project files there as well. We will be using a source control system (not RoboSource or VSS!) to check in and out among multiple authors.
            1) Is it the project files that make use of the Access underpinning? Or, the app itself.
            2) Is it fair to say network traffic can corrupt the files by diminishing response time, increasing wait time, and causing repeat requests for data? (I must cite your article and a previous post, circa 2005 for this information.)
            3) Are there project files that are user/machine-specific?
            4) Ultimately, is there tech-speak that can address the "why not store the project on the LAN" question?
            I am very grateful for any information you or anyone can provide.
            Thanks.
            • 3. Re: Installing RH on a Network Drive
              Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP
              Hello again

              We are in full compliance with RH licenses. No worries there.

              Cool, just thought I'd point out the obvious with that.

              The IT dept hope is to install each licensed RH 7 copy on the LAN and to store the project files there as well. We will be using a source control system (not RoboSource or VSS!) to check in and out among multiple authors.

              Again, the actual application files are probably fine. Project files, no.

              1) Is it the project files that make use of the Access underpinning? Or, the app itself.

              Only the project files.

              2) Is it fair to say network traffic can corrupt the files by diminishing response time, increasing wait time, and causing repeat requests for data? (I must cite your article and a previous post, circa 2005 for this information.)

              I believe that is exactly the issue! You may wish to review fellow Adobe Community Expert John Daigle's Developer Center article. Click here to read John's article.

              3) Are there project files that are user/machine-specific?

              None to my knowledge.

              4) Ultimately, is there tech-speak that can address the "why not store the project on the LAN" question?

              Hmmm, I guess the very real risk of project corruption woes isn't techy enough to suit your IT group?

              Cheers... Rick
              • 4. Re: Installing RH on a Network Drive
                CeeEllBee Level 1
                Hi Rick,
                Thank you so much for your answers. Very helpful!
                • 5. Re: Installing RH on a Network Drive
                  HKabaker Level 2
                  Hi, ConTextCB,

                  As you point out:

                  "Further, I have found that Access dbs don't do so well over networks."

                  To elaborate:

                  When the project files are on a network and we are working in the RH application, occasionally and unpredictably the user's PC will freeze, or RH will crash, requiring a forced reboot before you can launch RH again. Often, the project's housekeeping system gets broken. Common symptoms include topic files "disappearing," SSL output setups malfunctioning, and Printed Output failing to generate.

                  Other applications that manage a Microsoft Access database across a network also have sporadic lockups.

                  Many of our colleagues who asked this question reported back that these problems went away after they brought the project over to a PC's hard drive.

                  I think tech folks whose first language is tech-speak can understand this.

                  That said, you can safely use a code management system to check out an entire project, bringing it to the PC for working in RH, and checking everything back in on the network. This is well documented.

                  We haven't heard much about installing the RH application on a network and launching it on a PC. If your IT folks go that route, please post here about your experience.

                  Harvey
                  • 6. Re: Installing RH on a Network Drive
                    CeeEllBee Level 1
                    Hi Harvey,
                    Thanks for the info. Between the information from you and Rick, I should be able to pull together a justification for local projects.
                    Agan, thanks for yoor time.
                    • 7. Re: Installing RH on a Network Drive
                      MergeThis Level 4
                      Actually, there are some files that might be trouble if included in source control (some machine-specific, some not): HHP, CPD, PSS, LDB

                      Good luck,
                      Leon
                      • 8. Re: Installing RH on a Network Drive
                        hughbetcha Level 1
                        I have RH7 installed on my local machine. Our project files are on our LAN. We're publishing to RH7 Server. There is no issue with having our Project Files on LAN if these are being published to the server is there? (We've been experiencing our RH site crashing, so want to rule that out).
                        • 9. Re: Installing RH on a Network Drive
                          HKabaker Level 2
                          Yes, there is an issue with having your project files on the LAN, unless you bring the entire project down to your PC while you're working on it.

                          What is the "RH Site" that crashes? Do you mean the place where the projects live, or the location of the output files?

                          Harvey
                          • 10. Installing RH on a Network Drive
                            hughbetcha Level 1
                            quote:

                            What is the "RH Site" that crashes? Do you mean the place where the projects live, or the location of the output files?
                            Just mean our online help site crashing, so where output files live I guess.

                            We have about 40 merged projects. Do you recommend then, I copy all the project folders from our LAN onto my PC and then generate and publish each of them again to the server?
                            • 11. Re: Installing RH on a Network Drive
                              HKabaker Level 2
                              Hard to say, without knowing what's making the help site crash.

                              Usually, the problem is while using RH locally to build a project not on the local drive. RH locks up, project files get messed up.

                              Are your projects on the same server as the help site? Can you say whether the server crashes coincide with someone editing a project?

                              Harvey
                              • 12. Installing RH on a Network Drive
                                hughbetcha Level 1
                                I haven't been experiencing RH freezing up locally when working on projects which are housed on the network drive - although it does take a lot longer to open up projects and publish, as compared to our previous RoboInfo 5.

                                As we had been getting error messages when trying to publish, we are doing a workaround where we are 'manually' publishing by generating output then someone else copies to the server. Perhaps I should try publishing a project that is on my local machine directly to the server to see if that makes a difference.

                                Yes, projects are on same server as help site. It's a VM dedicated to Robo. Our problems seem to be that the server experiences near 100% cpu usage and will crash. This problem has been posted before and there seems to be issues with RH 7 Server being installed on Windows Server 2003 from some of the posts I've read.

                                I don't think publishing our projects from local drive will solve our problems, but may be worth a shot.
                                • 13. Re: Installing RH on a Network Drive
                                  RoboColum(n) Level 5
                                  Working on your source files whilst they are on a network drive may not have caused any problems SO FAR. Think of it as a game of Russian Roulette. Sooner of later, your luck will run out. Regardless of whether it solves THIS problem it sure as hell prevents others.
                                  • 14. Re: Installing RH on a Network Drive
                                    HKabaker Level 2
                                    hugh,

                                    I don't know about RH Server, but 100 % usage is one of the symptoms you can expect when editing projects across a network.

                                    Since you're having problems, and you have to start somewhere, you should listen to Colum.

                                    Harvey
                                    • 15. Re: Installing RH on a Network Drive
                                      MergeThis Level 4
                                      RH license on local machine
                                      [Copy of?] RH project on local machine
                                      Copies of other merged project folders on local machine (for creating relative hyperlinks)
                                      Generate output to location on local machine (usually best not to !SSL! default)
                                      Publish [changed only] output to location on server(s)


                                      Good luck,
                                      Leon

                                      • 16. Installing RH on a Network Drive
                                        hughbetcha Level 1
                                        quote:

                                        Generate output to location on local machine (usually best not to !SSL! default)


                                        MergeThis, I did this and was successful in publishing to server (previously always got 'Publishing Cancelled...Native Error' message). First I tried publishing to a folder other than !SSL!, and publishing worked. I also tried with another existing project to first delete the contents of !SSL! and then republish to it, and this also worked.

                                        Is there any need going forward to either publish to a new output folder or delete the contents of !SSL! before publishing? I would think selecting the 'Re-publish All' checkbox would accomplish this. (Guess I don't understand why need to publish to folder other than the default !SSL!).

                                        When I tried publishing an update to the same folder, the progress bar goes to the end and then just hangs there forever and I have to stop the process, as even cancelling doesn't stop it.

                                        Thanks!
                                        • 17. Re: Installing RH on a Network Drive
                                          MergeThis Level 4
                                          I repeat:

                                          Generate to your local machine, but not under the !SSL! default (this is simply a best practice thing: in the merged help for xyz, we keep the source files under C:\xyzmerge, and Generate to C:\xyzgenerate). You would only publish that very same output to a server location to allow internal reviewers to view it, and to allow release engineering to fold the help into the application.

                                          If you're passing along the generated output via some other method like ftp or file copy/paste, or whatever, you wouldn't publish at all.


                                          Good luck,
                                          Leon
                                          • 18. Re: Installing RH on a Network Drive
                                            hughbetcha Level 1
                                            I have my source files in one folder and am generating to another. Once I generate, I am publishing to RoboHelp 7 Server. Again, it seems to publish fine for any new WebHelp Pro projects, but as soon as I make an edit to the project and publish again, it just hangs there forever and I never get the message that it published successfully. It does appear that it is creating all the output files though.