It appears that before one generates merged help, the user should ensure that all child projects have been individually generated first so that all recent changes to those projects' content are present in the generated merged help. In short, it appears that generating the parent project doesn't automatically pre-generate the child projects, Is this correct?
Spot on. Generating the parent only ensures the resulting help is aware of and knows to look for the child projects.
I also experimented with putting text in one of the child topics, and applying conditional build tags to them. I found that the conditional text that appears in the merged, in the text from a particular child project, is whatever conditional text was exposed when the child project was last run. It also seems that the conditional build tags specified in the parent project (via the single source config) has no affect on the text exposed/hidden for the child projects. Is this to be expected? If so, can I expect the same behavior regarding user defined variables?
Indeed, that is normal behavior and yes, the same would apply to user defined variables.
Perhaps it will help to explain conditionals and variables using a different analogy. My favorite analogy is food, as we all have that in common so we all likely understand it. So consider that a parent project is like a layer cake. As there are several layers in a layer cake, it's feasible that each layer may be baked differently. Perhaps one layer is chocolate, another coconut and so on. Using build tags and variables is similar to baking something in that the condition may state Sugar be excluded from the recipe, Just because you excluded sugar from that top layer (or any of the other layers) does not automatically ensure it has been removed from all of them. Perhaps each of them have a variable additive, such as nuts. Like the layer cake, each of the help outputs that are part of the merge will only contain what you told them to contain at the time they were created.
If my observations above are correct, is there any technique or script one can use to cause all child HTML text to be generated (per a specified single source config for each child) first, and THEN generate the merge via generating the parent help?
RoboHelp does offer a "command line generation" option. But I've never used it. Maybe it would be useful here. I'll defer to others on that aspect.
Regardless of the conclusions to the above three items, are there merged project features that you'd like to see added to RH 12?
Hopefully this helps a bit... Rick
You can automate this project using scripts, but it will require you to configure the script for your situation. I have a script that automatically generates the master project and all mergedProjects to a specified location. This may save you a lot of time. Send me an email if you're interested at contact [at] wvanweelden [dot] eu.
Realised what you mean. It doesn't matter whether you generate the parent and children manually or via batch generation, the result will be the same.
To get different setups, I would create different layouts in each project, each having the configuration you want. Apply good naming to make it clear which layout is part of which set up. WebHelp Pepsi Cola and WebHelp Coca Cola for example. Have one target folder with its children for Pepsi Cola and one for Coca Cola, Then set off Batch Generation. Each layout will generate to its designated folder giving you the merges you need.
Hope that's clear.
See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips