19 Replies Latest reply on Jul 1, 2008 6:41 AM by Bill_Maier

    WebHelp not displaying content in left nav pane

      Any suggestions for why WebHelp is not displaying contents in the left navigation pane? When Help is called, it displays the frame (including buttons such as glossary, search, contents, etc) and the work area, but does not show the TOC in the left navigation pane.

      I have also tried generating FlashHelp, with the same results. This time, only the work area displays. Any suggestions to fix this?

      This is a new project, where RoboHelp is being deployed for the first time. Any suggestions for making this a simpler transition would be much appreciated. I have used RoboHelp for many years with a different company and do not recall ever running into this many problems.

      Help!
        • 1. Re: WebHelp not displaying content in left nav pane
          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
          Welcome to the forum

          Is there an HHC file in the root of the project source files and and is the filename exactly the same as the project name?

          I have assumed you are you using RH HTML rather than RH for Word. Which version though? X5?

          • 2. Re: WebHelp not displaying content in left nav pane
            MergeThis Level 4
            The project's start page, which you select at the top of the first WebHelp generation window ( Select Output Folder and Start Page), contains all the tri-pane frameset information and the calls to retrieve the information for all those frames. This should not be confused with the default page ( Default topic), which is also in that first window and is the topic that you want to appear first in the right pane.

            If you're not launching the start page, you will certainly be missing elements.


            Good luck,
            Leon
            • 3. Re: WebHelp not displaying content in left nav pane
              Level 1
              Hi,

              Glad to join in and thanks for your quick response. Yes, there is an HHC file in the root of the project source files and it is named exactly as the project name.

              I am using RH HTML and Version 6. Hope that helps.
              • 4. Re: WebHelp not displaying content in left nav pane
                Level 1
                Hi,

                Thanks for the quick response. It had been a while since I generated WebHelp, but what you suggested is actually one of the first things I did check. I can get the file to display correctly on my machine; or another co-worker's machine. The problem surfaces when I turn the files over to development and they try to link them to the application. From what I am told, they are copying the correct files, and linking to the correct start page. However, when they link Help to the application (click the Help button from the UI), WebHelp displays in the correct frame, the work area shows the content, but the left navigation pane only displays a box with a red X in it. If I enter text into the Search window (so that content displays in the left nav) nothing displays. Also, any external files such as linked PDF files or image files such as JPEG do not display. The linked PDF files say "the file cannot be found" and the image files display the same box with a red X in it instead of the image.

                Any suggestions?
                • 5. Re: WebHelp not displaying content in left nav pane
                  Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
                  The correct files are all the files in the webhelp output and with the structure retained. It certainly sounds as if the developers are not including all the files or are messing with the structure.

                  Often they think the files and folders starting "wh" are not necessary and missing those would cause issues of this type. Ask them how many folders and files they have in the help and compare that with your copy.

                  • 6. Re: WebHelp not displaying content in left nav pane
                    Level 1
                    Will do, and good advice. This is the first time developers are working with RoboHelp. I found an excellent article on your website that explains how to call WebHelp. This should help them get through calling it correctly for the first time.

                    Searching your website, I didn't see much about FlashHelp. Of course, I am still looking. Would you have any suggestions on where I can go to get more information about why the left navigation pane is not displaying when calling FlashHelp?

                    In my current position, I have been asked to create new online Help systems for various applications; for various project teams. This is the first time anyone here has seen or used RoboHelp. At this point, I have demo'd FlashHelp to all teams and have received their buy-in. If at all possible, I would like to continue generating FlashHelp but am running into the same problem as WebHelp (the TOC is missing). I only generated WebHelp as an alternative since I could not get FlashHelp to display the TOC when called from the application. It displays correctly on my machine. Same issue as WebHelp.

                    Any suggestions for FlashHelp? Or can you point me in the direction of a good resource to help me research this problem?

                    Thanks for your time,
                    Lavonna
                    • 7. Re: WebHelp not displaying content in left nav pane
                      Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
                      Sorry but I don't do FlashHelp!

                      I strongly suspect that when you have resolved the issue with the webhelp, the answer to that will be the answer to the FlashHelp problem.

                      • 8. Re: WebHelp not displaying content in left nav pane
                        Level 1
                        Thanks Peter! Appreciate all your advice.
                        • 9. Re: WebHelp not displaying content in left nav pane
                          Bill_Maier
                          I've been having a very similar problem. We are trying to implement context-sensitive help using RoboHelp HTML X5.0.2 Build 801. I am using RoboHelp_CSH.js to interface to the help system. There are two issues I would like to ask about:

                          1. When I call the help system using RH_ShowHelp with the start page and map ID, the correct help screen appears. It has a "Show" link in the upper left-hand corner which must be clicked to get to the navigation panes to appear. After I click the Show link the navigation panes appear, but the TOC pane is empty. What do I need to do to get that pane to populate correctly?

                          2. When I call the help system with the start page and map ID, the correct help screen appears. However, it has a "Show" link in the upper left-hand corner which must be clicked to get to the navigation panes to appear. I would like
                          the system to go immediately to the navigation panes, bypassing the single screen with the "Show" link. Is there a way to do this?

                          I am using the WebHelp directory as supplied by the RoboHelp author exactly as-is, copied into our web project. I did not modify or delete any of those files.
                          • 10. Re: WebHelp not displaying content in left nav pane
                            HKabaker Level 2
                            Bill,

                            Welcome to the forum.

                            If you open the help project directly from a browser, does the TOC show?

                            For the empty TOC pane, make sure the author has given you the entire output file, which includes subfolders with names like whgdata.

                            Apparently you are calling the target topic, and normal behavior is as you see it (except "Show" should display the left pane).

                            Good luck.

                            Harvey



                            • 11. Re: WebHelp not displaying content in left nav pane
                              HKabaker Level 2
                              By the way, be aware that the launch file has a filename that includes the project name. The topic that first appears is not the launch file, and has a different file name. Are you calling the launch file?

                              Harvey
                              • 12. Re: WebHelp not displaying content in left nav pane
                                Bill_Maier Level 1
                                Thanks for your response, Harvey!

                                If I open the html file with the project name directly with a browser it does display the TOC on the default page. However if I add the string "#<id=3" to the end of the URL in the browser to try to bring up a specific context-sensitive topic, it still goes to the default page.

                                I do have the directories whdata, whgdata, whxdata, etc. so I think I have everything.

                                In addition I see the "continuous loading" problem, where the screen loads but the browser indicator makes it look like the page is still loading. I have found web posts in various places on this problem and the TOC problem, but no one seems to have come up with a solution. I think that maybe we need to upgrade to RoboHelp 7.
                                • 13. Re: WebHelp not displaying content in left nav pane
                                  HKabaker Level 2
                                  Sorry, I haven't used the CSH method which, by the way, was designed to show only the topic at first, I think.

                                  I give my developers a list of path/filenames for topics, and they use this form:

                                  .../helpdirectory/myproject.htm#targettopic.htm

                                  There are some shortcomings to this method, which leaves the window open and, when you call another topic, another new window opens. In other words, you have to close the help window manually to avoid windowmania.

                                  A solution is a little js that checks to see if a window is already open, closes it and opens a new one. (If no help window is open, it's a harmless js error.) It's fast enough that you wouldn't notice.

                                  The downside here is losing the browser history. Forward and back buttons work only so long as the help window stays open.
                                  In my opinion, this is not a major concern, since many Web based applications these days tell users not to use the back button. Production users won't mind so much.

                                  For ordinary people doing e-shopping and online banking, the browser back button is anathema.

                                  The bottom line is, if you have a decent set of navigating options built into the design -- TOCs, left or right rail lists, useful links at top and/or bottom of the topic page, the back button can become superfluous.

                                  Browe sequences work fine from any point in the lineup (I know, it's not the same as browser history -- unless you give them a really useful set of sequences).

                                  The forever-loading left pane is gone in RH 7.

                                  Hope this is useful.

                                  Harvey


                                  • 14. Re: WebHelp not displaying content in left nav pane
                                    Bill_Maier Level 1
                                    Thanks for the information. I will try your method of calling the help topics.

                                    I have resisted using the direct calls. This is basically bypassing the javascript mechanism given by RoboHelp. The RoboHelp-supplied system with Map IDs allows the help screen writer to change screen names and locations without affecting the developers. If I call the HTML pages directly, any time the writer changes these I have to change my code as well. However, as long as the writer doesn't change the names/locations of help screens it's not a problem.
                                    • 15. Re: WebHelp not displaying content in left nav pane
                                      Bill_Maier Level 1
                                      Another problem I have run into is the help system acting differently when acccessed by different browsers - IE, Firefox, Opera. The RoboHelp CSH system tried to take those differences into account, and if the developers rewrite it they need to do that also. However so far I have not seen consistent results using different browsers, whether I use the RoboHelp CSH system or not.
                                      • 16. Re: WebHelp not displaying content in left nav pane
                                        Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
                                        The browser differences are built into RH using different style sheets. How you call the help shouldn't affect that. You seem to agreeing with that in your last sentence.

                                        Take a look at the Browsers article on my site.

                                        • 17. Re: WebHelp not displaying content in left nav pane
                                          HKabaker Level 2
                                          A very important point, which Peter makes on his site:

                                          Alternative browsers do a lot better with RH 7 output than they did with X5.

                                          Harvey
                                          • 18. Re: WebHelp not displaying content in left nav pane
                                            Bill_Maier Level 1
                                            I checked out your site, Peter. There'a a lot of good information there! Thanks.

                                            And thank you, Harvey, also. Your responses have definitely given me better ideas about these problems.
                                            • 19. Re: WebHelp not displaying content in left nav pane
                                              Bill_Maier Level 1
                                              We finally solved this problem, and I thought others might be interested in the solution. It is not easy to track down! Our application was running through Weblogic server using Struts, and in the web.xml configuration file we had an entry like this:

                                              <servlet-mapping>
                                              <servlet-name>action</servlet-name>
                                              <url-pattern>*.xml</url-pattern>
                                              </servlet-mapping>

                                              This maps all XML files to Struts actions, which prevented the RoboHelp system from being able to load its own XML files (e.g. whproj.xml). In our case, we found that this mapping was not necessary and simply removed the servlet-mapping tag.