6 Replies Latest reply on May 25, 2009 12:46 AM by Peter Grainge

    Numbered List and Bulleted List w/ Custom Style Sheet

      I am a new user to RoboHelp 7, and must say I find it useful but also painful to use. Currently I’m trying to solve something that feels like a bug in RoboHelp 7, but before I give in and accept defeat I wanted to check with the forum.

      I have FrameMaker 8, and import the files to RH where I use them to create WebHelp projects.

      Here’s a short procedure:
      1. I Import my files with a predefined style sheet matching the FM styles.

      2. I also check the Convert to HTML list option and set all numbering and bullet styles to User defined.
      - After import RH does the usual thing and creates a bunch of style sheets on its own

      3. I select all the files from the Topic List pod and apply a new custom style sheet. This enables me to have one style sheet for all the HTML files with the right layout and formatting

      4. I generate the output, and RH uses the new style sheet reference
      The resulting HTML files shows that the output is not the same as the generated HTML shown in RH’s HTML editor view

      - Editor view: <li class=”style”>
      - Browser view: <li>

      6. If I make a change (e.g. add a space) and save the HTML file, and generate the project again the HTML is correct in the browser

      One could argue that it’s not a big problem; however, with a large project this is starting to look more like a nightmare ;)

      Does anyone know of this problem, and if so can it be fixed?

      Kind regards,
        • 1. Re: Numbered List and Bulleted List w/ Custom Style Sheet
          JonStefan Level 1
          What would solve this in my mind is if RH would stop generating its own style sheets per HTML page. That way the HTML would be forced to use my custom style sheet right away.
          • 2. Re: Numbered List and Bulleted List w/ Custom Style Sheet
            Mayank Agrawal Level 2
            RH7 allows FM styles to be mapped to RH styles present in fmstyles.css. One can edit the stylesheet fmstyles.css as per the requirement and then can map the styles thus controlling the look and feel of the document at a single place.
            However, RH8 provides a much better control on this workflow. RH8 allows the user to pick any stylesheet to be used for style mapping. Thus, a user can manage all his/her styles at one place and can use them to replace any FM style in the generated XHTML topic. RH8 also provides a workflow to apply FM template to any FM document before import.
            Also the problem of different HTML code in Editor view and Browser view is resolved in RH8.
            You may try a trial version of RH8 to explore all this functionalities and improvements.

            • 3. Re: Numbered List and Bulleted List w/ Custom Style Sheet
              JonStefan Level 1
              Thanks Mayank,
              Hopefully my company will see your "solution" as an argument to upgrade the FM and RH licenses to FM 9 and RH 8. It would then be nice if Adobe would let us by cheaper licenses as we just bought FM 8 and RH 7 2 months ago. RH 7 is not really worth the money spent so far in my mind.

              Again thanks for answering my questions.

              Kind regards,
              • 4. Re: Numbered List and Bulleted List w/ Custom Style Sheet
                JonStefan Level 1

                Is this the time when I get really angry at Adobe for creating the worst FrameMaker/RoboHelp integration ever? No! However, I must admit that I'm amazed that they are unable to solve an important feature as conversion of lists from a FrameMaker document to a RoboHelp WebHelp project. When I say conversion I mean a clean conversion with minimal interference from RoboHelp that allows me to use CSS to its full extent.


                Here's the problem, and this was also the problem with RoboHelp 7 and FrameMaker 8. BTW, I use standalone versions (not TCS 1 or 2).


                Figures: First image depicts FrameMaker 9's Paragraph Designer and the Autonumber format for a paragraph named VizNumbered. Second image depicts the RoboHelp 8's conversion setting.


                1. FrameMaker uses Autonumbering in front of paragraphs to create lists. This means that you in RoboHelp need to manage two formats, the autonumber and the paragraph style.
                2. RoboHelp does of course not (by default) use Autonumbering in front of paragraphs because a RoboHelp WebHelp project is HTML based, and list tags in HTML can perfectly handle any formatting of text etc.


                RoboHelp will convert, when "Convert Autonumber to HTML List" is selected, the Autonumber in FrameMaker to a list tag (LI). By default this will generate a list with a lot of margin, font and other CSS properties that tries to simulate the way the list is laid out in the FrameMaker document. In addition to the list tags it will convert the FrameMaker paragraph to a P tag which it inserts within a list tag. The issue you will experience with this is that indentations with the paragraph tag does not align properly between line 1 and 2. At the same time the WebHelp project will not look the same in IE, Firefox or Chrome. That is, Chrome and Firefox will look the same, and IE different. IE has the WYSIWYG feel, but it does not comply well with W3C standards (i.e. using P tags enclosed by LI tags is not a good idea ...).


                Selecting "Convert Autonumber to RoboHelp List" does something similar, but is not recommended at all!


                So, here's the big question. How can I make sure RoboHelp understands that I ONLY need to define a list tag with a CSS class attribute attached to it?


                Today I basically only get the following:

                • <li><p class=""></p></li> or,
                • <p class=""></p>


                What I want is the following:

                • <li class=""></li>


                Can this be solved with today's versions, can anyone help me, or do I have to wait for the Adobe development team to realize this and to fix it?

                • 5. Re: Numbered List and Bulleted List w/ Custom Style Sheet
                  Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional

                  I cannot comment on the conversion process but may be able to suggest a post conversion solution. I am assuming you have tested and that if you manually change one of the files to <li class="yourstylename"> it does give the correct results in the RoboHelp Design Editor.


                  Try this on a copy of your project.


                  Using a multi-file find and replace tool such as FAR, you could search all files for

                  <li><p class="yourstylename">

                  and replace with

                  <li class="yourstylename">

                  That one is straightforward because the closing <li> tag exists


                  The <p class="yourstylename"> change is more tricky precisely because the closing </li> tag does not exist and RoboHelp does not autocorrect that at the end of the item. That leaves only one solution that I can see and that is the use of Regular Expressions. Basically you would create an expression, think of it as a mathematical formula but designed to find text strings. The formula would search for

                  <p class="yourstylename">Text that would be different in every item</p>

                  and replace it with

                  <li class="yourstylename">Text that would be different in every item</li>


                  I am not saying that it is simple but it should work using tools such as FAR and PowerGrep. It might also be that there is a way of doing the conversion that avoids the problem but, as I said, I cannot help you there.


                  FAR is low cost and has a long trial so that you can see how it works.



                  PowerGrep is a bit more expensive but there is also a free trial.



                  I have used both and they are good tools. I am not an expert in the use of regular expressions, I just sort of hack away until what I want works but that has often saved me days of work. I think I would be able to help you write this one if need be.


                  See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                  • 6. Re: Numbered List and Bulleted List w/ Custom Style Sheet
                    JonStefan Level 1

                    It is a useful answer which I have considered myself, but in the long run I don't think it's a useful process. We are an international company with tech writers spread around the globe. My task is to create a "straight forward" way of dealing with these things (i.e. not including hacks ).


                    The problem itself should ideally be a simple option in RoboHelp stating that the Autonumber and paragraph style in FrameMaker should be treated as one and converted to a list item with the formatting I set in the style sheet.


                    Thanks for the input/help, but I think I will pass on this one for now