32 Replies Latest reply on May 20, 2014 12:17 AM by Peter Grainge

    Questions about using skins in online and local help

    Kasey1024 Level 1

      Caveat: I'm a very new RoboHelp users, somewhat self-taught, so my questions may be very rudamentary, but I can't quite find them in the (very meager) Adobe help.

       

      In a previous version of the Help (created by my predecessor), the local Help (.chm) looked like this, i.e., no skins:

       

      local help.JPG

       

      The online Help looked like this--i.e., it had the skin:

       

      online help.JPG

       

      First question: why doesn't the local help have the skin? Is this a setting?

       

      Second question: In a newer version of the help that I created, both versions of help look like the local Help above--no skins.  How do I make the skins display?

       

      Third question: We localized to French. When I open FR online Help and right-click a help topic (to open in a new tab) the page displays as below, with the "Montrer" standing in for what is "< Show Contents" in English (see below). This content is incorrect in French, and should be "Afficher le sommaire" ("Show Summary"). 

       

      Where do I find the source for this piece of content, so that I can correct it?  I've looked in the skins file, but didn't see anything that would qualify.

       

      local help--show contents-error2.JPG

        • 1. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
          Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Hi there

           

          One thing I notice is that you have a link in the upper left corner:

           

          tmp1.png

           

          Try clicking that link and you should see your skin.

           

          The thing is, you have opened just a topic inside the help system. The help system overall has what is called a "Start page" that has many functions. If you open just the start page, you end up with the full WebHelp system. But if you open just a topic in the system, it doesn't know to wrap the help skin around it until you click that link I pointed out.

           

          First, let's see if we managed to sort the skins issue. Assuming we have, come back and I'll tell you how to sort the French wording issue.

           

          Cheers... Rick

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
            Jeff_Coatsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            Your “show” terminology will be in the .lng file – you can get at them to customize them through File > Project Settings.

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
              Kasey1024 Level 1

              The word "Montrer" is not in the .Ing file. 

              • 4. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                Kasey1024 Level 1

                Wait--found montrer!  (buried in a rarely visited backwater in the .Ing file, missed it the first time.)

                 

                Okay, so that's solved.

                • 5. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                  Kasey1024 Level 1

                  Okay, Rick (Captiv8--nice!).  OMG, I KNOW that I can get to the content by clicking Show Contents. But what I want to know is why they online and local help open with and without skins, and where is that controled? So that, if I want to open in the skins, I can (or note--but it would be nice if it was a decision instead of an accident ),

                   

                  As for which topic file it's opening to, I've selected the one I want. Should I be using some other topic file--and how would I know how to identify this "Start page?" (remember, I inherited this whole setup!)

                   

                  The French wording issue is taken care of, thanks to Jeff Coatsworth (below).

                  • 6. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                    Jeff_Coatsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    When you launch your help in a context-sensitive manner (that is, a CSH call to a specific spot in your help), the tool that gets used strips off the skin and just offers you the topic you want to see when you pressed F1 on the page. The “Show” link launches the “full” help with all the ToC, Index, Search, etc. stuff that’s in your skin.

                     

                    Are you trying to launch a CSH call with the full skin? If so, you need to change the way you call the help. Read up on CSH on Peter’s site (grainge.org) and on Willam’s (wvanwelden.eu)

                    1 person found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                      Kasey1024 Level 1

                      Thanks, Jeff, I'll take a look at CSH's ...

                      • 8. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                        Kasey1024 Level 1

                        Okay, Rick and Jeff, I've tried Jeff's suggestion of looking the CSH info on Peter and William's sites and must confess that I am now thoroughly confused.  I'm really certain that I didn't make any modifications to the files at that level. 

                         

                        I've checked with engineering, and made sure I've assigned the content sensitive map ID call codes to the specified files. In the SSL file I'm using to generate both local and remote help, I have set a default topic that the help should open to. I've checked the skins file and there doesn't seem to be any place where I can turn skins on or off (nor in the SSL file).  But somehow I have done so, and want to turn it back on.

                         

                        Jeff, you say that I must change the way I call the help--?? Can you be more specific?  (Bear with me, I'm a newcomer here ...)

                        • 9. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                          Jeff_Coatsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          What are you trying to achieve when the programmer calls the help? The full skin (like you went and launched the index.htm page of the help) or the “slimmed down” page that CSH launches with the “Show” link visible? I’m unclear as to what you want to see, when.

                           

                          For CSH calls, your programmers have to be using one of the methods outlined in your C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe RoboHelp xx\CSH API\ folder to launch specific help topic pages.

                          • 11. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                            Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                            Have you resolved the issue of the local CHM not having a skin?

                             


                            See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                             

                             

                            @petergrainge

                            • 12. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                              Jeff_Coatsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              @Peter – I’d forgot the OP had even asked about CHMs (I usually just block CHM questions out of my mind ;>)

                              • 15. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                                Kasey1024 Level 1

                                Okay, so, here's a simple question.  First, note that I create two types of help, Local and Remote (online)

                                 

                                First: is opening Help with the skins a default for Local?  Is opening Help with skins a default for Remote?

                                 

                                I appreciate all the deep scripting/API help you've been giving me, but I keep coming back to a basic question: in the previous version of the help, the online help opened with the skins and now it doesn't.  I didn't tinker with any of the content you keep pointing me at (frankly, it's waaaaay outside of my current skill set) so what could I have inadvertently done to change how the online help opened?

                                 

                                Once I figure that out, may help me to make the local help open with the skins ...

                                • 16. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                                  Jeff_Coatsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  Take some screenshots of each of the Single Source Layouts for both the .chm and webhelp to guide us.

                                  • 17. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                                    Kasey1024 Level 1

                                    Okay, here you go:

                                     

                                    I generate from one of two locations: the Remote Pro and the WebHelp to CHM Converter

                                    Generate options.png

                                     

                                    Here's three captures from the Remote:

                                     

                                    SSL for remote help.PNG

                                    SSL for remote help 2.PNG

                                    SSL for remote help 3.PNG

                                     

                                    And three from the WebHelp for CHM SSL:

                                     

                                    SSL for local help (WebHelp for CHM).PNG

                                    SSL for local help (WebHelp for CHM) 2.PNG

                                    SSL for local help (WebHelp for CHM) 3.PNG

                                     

                                    See anything?  In both, I highlighted that the topic I want Help to open as it's default is Browse_mapping.

                                    • 18. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                                      Jeff_Coatsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      Both appear to be the same – both are WebHelp outputs – I thought you said you were creating CHM help for your local and WebHelp for the online part?

                                      What’s the issue with the default topic? I’m not seeing an issue with that.

                                      • 19. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                                        Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        Jeff, if I understood correctly, what is being created is a CHM, yes. But it is one of the new "WebHelp inside a CHM" CHM files.

                                         

                                        Cheers... Rick

                                        • 20. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                                          Jeff_Coatsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                          @Rick – are you seeing any diffs then between the 2 SSLs?

                                          • 21. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                                            Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                            Jeff, I've tried to leave this thread alone as you seem to be the primary person trying to help and it seems this thread is easy to get the OP confused with multiple responses offering different viewpoints.

                                             

                                            Personally, my gut says this *HAS* to be simply an issue with either the way the help is being called from the app, or perhaps a window needs to be defined that is used. I'd be shocked to find the layout properties have anything remotely to do with this.

                                             

                                            Cheers... Rick

                                            • 22. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                                              Jeff_Coatsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                              That’s kind of what I’ve been thinking – if you get a skin showing when you launch the help in your browser, but don’t when it’s launched by a CSH call, then it’s the JS that the launcher is using that’s stripping off the skin, so you have to go under the hood to tinker with that behaviour – which is why I referred them to that other thread.

                                              • 23. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                                                Kasey1024 Level 1

                                                Hi, guys,

                                                 

                                                So here's the thing: how did I inadvertently edit the Java script? Note my comment at the top of this string that I am a VERY NEW RoboHelp user, so I have pretty much avoided as much "under the hood" stuff as possible.  The only area where I've done anything like that is in setting the Map IDs, per the ids given to me by Engineering.  In this, I associated map IDs to specific pages, including associating the main help map Id with the age I want to open as the default (browse_mapping).  Is that incorrect? Should I be associating it with another page that will open with the skins, and the SSL will designate that the browse_mapping is the default ...?

                                                • 24. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                                                  Jeff_Coatsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                  I still have no idea of what you’re trying to achieve ;>)

                                                  Or what you think/know has gone wrong ;>)

                                                   

                                                  If you launch that start page that you listed in that super-long path – c:\p4-projects\MindManager\Product Resources\English\HELP\Remote\Pro\MJWin_H… - it should show you you whatever you’ve designated as the default starting topic – “browse_mapping” in your case.

                                                  • 25. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                                                    Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                    Okay, I'm going to wade in here and try to help.

                                                     

                                                    As you state you are very new to RoboHelp, I'm going to return to some fundamentals.

                                                     

                                                    When you generate WebHelp and you look at the Single Source Layout properties, you will see a path leading to the "WebHelp Start page". Normally, this page will be named Index.htm. So after you generate your WebHelp and you copy it to a server or wherever it will live, there will be a literal swarm of files and folders. But you need to open that Index.htm page. And at that point, WebHelp should open with the full WebHelp frameset loaded and you see the pretty skin. Toolbar buttons and all.

                                                     

                                                    Now you have a topic named Browse_Mapping.htm. Because that topic is nominated to be the "Default", many novice users think that the path they should use to open the help would include pointing to this file. And what will happen if you do that is that you would ONLY see the content of this topic and no frameset or skin would show because you are pointing to a specific topic inside the help. And odds are, you would get a link in the upper left corner that the user would click to see the topic with the frameset (skin) surrounding it.

                                                     

                                                    For context sensitive calls, one normally links to a specific topic within the help system. And that can happen in a variety of ways. If you are using the typical "Context Sensitive Help  or CSH" setup, you define map IDs in RoboHelp and you map them to the topics. And in the application, the developer issues some type of call that says "hey, i'm needing help and my ID is thus and such - and the API connects with the RoboHelp WebHelp output and assuming all is working well the correct topic opens.

                                                     

                                                    There is actually another way this can all work. The developer can simply make a call to open a specific topic in the help just as they could open Google.com if they wanted to. On the developer side, it's just an HTML hyperlink.

                                                     

                                                    In RoboHelp WebHelp, remember, each topic page has a unique reference. So as long as you know the path, you can point specifically to any topic you like. And if you do that, ONLY the topic content will appear. But if you wish to present that same topic with the surrounding frameset (skin), you have to construct the link a special way.

                                                     

                                                    Sounds like you may be a bit confused by all this. So to solidify what I'm talking about, I'd recommend just generating the help and playing with the output on your local drive until you get a good handle on how this works. Open individual topics where you don't see the surrounding frameset with the skin. Note the address presented in the browser address bar. Then click the "Show" link that should be present. Note the change in what you see. And also note the address bar change.

                                                     

                                                    See if that helps you make better sense of what is happening with addressing. Once you understand that, it will then be easier to understand the calls and JavaScript and whatnot.

                                                     

                                                    Cheers... Rick

                                                    • 26. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                                                      Kasey1024 Level 1

                                                      Thank you, Rick. (And thank you for starting from scratch here--this tutorial was very helpful!)

                                                       

                                                      I think I get what your saying--go back to basics and generate to the index file (renamed as it is in the path).  Don't redirect to a default page, and see if that works correctly. 

                                                       

                                                      THEN designate the specific page that the index should call when opened by using using map IDs. 

                                                       

                                                      Is that the gist?

                                                      • 27. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                                                        Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                        LOL, kind of.

                                                         

                                                        What I wanted you to get a feel for is that you have one URL that opens the help. And the HTML page that the URL points to is going to be named differently than the HTML page of the topic you see first. That's often a very confusing thing for folks because they often believe them to be one and the same.

                                                         

                                                        So when your URL points to the Index.htm file, a cascade of events unfolds. The screen window is divided into several areas, each area is populated with other information and lastly, the topic you nominated as the default is loaded into the topic frame.

                                                         

                                                        So as long as you have that basic understanding, it makes understanding context calls somewhat easier.

                                                         

                                                        Perhaps you have a URL of http://www.somesite.com/Help/Index.htm and it opens your help just dandy with the full frameset and skin loaded up.

                                                         

                                                        Inside your help, you have a few folders with topics inside each folder. So if you just issue the basic http://www.somesite.com URL, all you get is the default topic. But you want Topic13.htm which happens to be inside folder C. Now you could link directly as in http://www.somesite.com/Help/FolderC/Topic13.htm and that would present Topic13.htm but it would not have the frameset (skin) surrounding it. Instead, it would likely have a "Show" link. And when the user clicked the Show link, the full frameset would appear and Topic13.htm would then be loaded in the topic pane.

                                                         

                                                        To make this happen with a basic link, the URL would look like this:

                                                        http://www.somesite.com/Help/Index.htm#Folder C/Topic13.htm

                                                         

                                                        And guess what? If you linked the other way where you got only the topic with the "Show" link, and the user clicked the Show link. If you looked in the address bar of the browser, that's exactly what they should see.

                                                         

                                                        So consider this "segment two" of my explanation in your journey of hopefully better understanding the linking. Does it make sense? If so, great! But if not, just say so and I'll try to do better with my explanation. Just tell me where you are confused.

                                                         

                                                        Cheers... Rick

                                                        • 28. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                                                          Kasey1024 Level 1

                                                          Processing ...

                                                           

                                                          I'm doing a test with the next build to see if this helped.  Will get back to you ...

                                                          • 29. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                                                            Kasey1024 Level 1

                                                            So, how I generate without designating a default topic which, if I understand you correctly, will automatically default to a non-skins version?  The Default topic does not allow a selection of "none."

                                                             

                                                            SSL for local help (WebHelp for CHM) 2.PNG

                                                             

                                                            My further question is this: I'm deeply disappointed with Adobe's own Help system, which seems rudimentary at best. And it's my understanding that there is no way for me to connect with someone live, who can talk me through this as I'm doing it, which is frustrating--is that correct? What I want to do is VERY simple: show the frikken' skins ...

                                                             

                                                            VERY VERY FRUSTRATED.  

                                                            • 30. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                                                              Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                              Hello again

                                                               

                                                              Indeed there is a way to connect and have someone show you. But the problem is that most of us have other things going on. For example, I'd love to connect and try to help but presently I'm in a very loud coffee shop. So it likely wouldn't work all that well because of the surrounding noise.

                                                               

                                                              I'm so sorry my last "lesson" appears to have confused you more than it helped. There is no way to generate without choosing a Default topic. What I was trying to impart was that what you see depends COMPLETELY on HOW you choose to open the help. If you point at the WebHelp Start Page, you get the full frameset with the default topic loaded. If you point at ONLY a topic, you only get the topic. And to point at only a topic and get it in the full frameset, you simply modify the link a bit.

                                                               

                                                              I'm certain that we could resolve your understanding of this with only a brief live session. Shoot me an email message to rstone75 (at) kc (dot) rr (dot) com and I'll be happy to ping you when I return home where it's quiet. Perhaps we can connect live here in a couple of hours.

                                                               

                                                              Cheers... Rick

                                                              • 31. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                                                                Kasey1024 Level 1

                                                                Okay, so I read through the second bit you sent, Rick (after a few deep breathing exercises!) and understand that somehow, we need to change how the developer calls the URL ... yes?

                                                                 

                                                                Oh, and the default file I select is the one that is automatically opened, yes?  So at least that's going right. 

                                                                 

                                                                Inside your help, you have a few folders with topics inside each folder. So if you just issue the basic http://www.somesite.com URL, all you get is the default topic. But you want Topic13.htm which happens to be inside folder C. Now you could link directly as inhttp://www.somesite.com/Help/FolderC/Topic13.htm and that would present Topic13.htm but it would not have the frameset (skin) surrounding it. Instead, it would likely have a "Show" link. And when the user clicked the Show link, the full frameset would appear and Topic13.htm would then be loaded in the topic pane.

                                                                 

                                                                To make this happen with a basic link, the URL would look like this:

                                                                http://www.somesite.com/Help/Index.htm#Folder C/Topic13.htm

                                                                And this refers to the remote help, not the local CHM, yes?

                                                                 

                                                                Historically, I just give them the location of the files, i.e, they're at: http/onlinehelp.companysite.com/help/productname/version/language/mjwin_help.htm (which is the name we've been using, though I will someday want to change that as it references an older version of the brand ... but first things first). 

                                                                 

                                                                I ran a test in which I  I generated and posted the files to the correct location on the server (and identified the default topic I wanted in the SSL).  I sent this exact URL to the developer to include in this morning's build.  According to what you have indicated, since I'm not asking the Help to do anything but open up to the default topic, I should get a) the default topic and b) the skins.

                                                                 

                                                                I did not get this result. 

                                                                 

                                                                Could there be something going on on the developer end?  I ask this because I had problems with Map IDs, which turned out to be that they weren't telling me that some UI elements called context-sensitive help and therefore those pages needed to be linked to the correct map ID. (Like me, some of the members of that department are new to their positions ...)

                                                                 

                                                                Kasey (still tearing hair out ...)

                                                                • 32. Re: Questions about using skins in online and local help
                                                                  Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                                                                  Calling the help the way you are will only open the target topic. If you want the target topic to open with the skin, see Calling Webhelp Using URLs on my site.

                                                                   


                                                                  See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                                                                   

                                                                   

                                                                  @petergrainge