4 Replies Latest reply on Mar 19, 2008 8:48 AM by wndsfr

    CHM files not merging under MMC

      I have just inherited an unstructured FrameMaker book that was created in an older version of Framemaker. The previous book author regularly imported the frame book into RH and generated a CHM file for a MMC (Microsoft Management Console) snap-in tool.

      The MMC provides a programming hook that automatically grabs any CHM file associated with a snap-in, and integrates the snap-in help underneath the top-level MMC help volume. Users can see the integrated help when they open the application in the context of the MMC. The ToC for the snap-in appears right under the MMC main volume. (Users can also launch the help as a standalone help file.)

      It's a really simple implementation - nothing complicated in the help at all. All I did was open the book in Frame 8 and update it, then import it to RH7 HTML and generate an updated CHM file. The new CHM file looks well-formed and it opens normally. However, its ToC no longer integrates properly under the MMC. (It does open in standalone mode.)

      To isolate the problem to either FM8 or RH7, I created a short "dummy" CHM help file using RH7 alone. This test file exhibits exactly the same problem in that it does not properly integrate into MMC help.

      The snap-in programmer has decomplied the CHM file, and he says that its structure appears different to the CHM files that he was getting from the previous author, who was using the older variant of FM and RH.

      As a final test, with the help of the previous author we exported the book back to the older FM/RH environment, then built the CHM file and it worked - the CHM file integrated properly inder MMC help.

      I have tried creating a Binary ToC and creating a ToC from scratch (rather than importing the source FM ToC) but nothing seems to work. I've also read everything I can find on MMC to see if there have been recent changes to the way that Help integration works.

      Just wondering if there are any MMC snap-in development teams out there who might have experienced this problem.

        • 1. Re: CHM files not merging under MMC
          Pete Lees Level 2

          To my knowledge, the only specific requirement that a .chm file must meet to merge successully with the MMC collection is a binary table of contents. If you open the project (.hhp) file for your .chm file in Notepad, does it contain the following line in the OPTIONS section?

          Binary TOC=Yes

          When the programmer said that the structure of the new .chm file differed from that of the old file, did he say how?

          Can you do a comparison of the .hhp and .hhc files in the new and old versions of the .chm file, using a tool like DiffMerge, to determine how precisely they differ?

          • 2. Re: CHM files not merging under MMC
            wndsfr Level 1
            Hi Pete,

            Thanks for the hint. I think you've put me in the right direction.

            I was specifying a binary ToC, because that was one of the few absolute requirements for merging that I found in the MS/MMC help creation info. However, it looks like my project is not generating that option in the hhp file:

            Binary TOC=No

            The engineer mentioned that the prevously-generated chm files had a flat structure whereas the new files have a folder structure.

            Also, I noticed the following message in the build output view.

            HHC4001: Warning:
            The following alias line does not contain an '=' character separating the topic IDs: .

            Not sure if that is related.

            I will play around with this and post the outcome.


            • 3. Re: CHM files not merging under MMC
              Pete Lees Level 2

              My guess would be that ensuring you have a binary TOC is all that's required to merge the help file successfully. As a test, you could try setting this in the .hhp file and then compiling outside RoboHelp, with HTML Help Workshop. The resulting .chm file should merge into the MMC help collection without problem, at least in theory.

              Whether the help file retains the folder structure or is compiled flat is most likely a red herring, as either arrangement should work fine as far as MMC is concerned.

              The error message indicates a problem with one or more of the lines in your .ali file, which aliases the HTML topic files to topic IDs (which in turn are mapped to context integers that an application might pass to the help file). So this would break context-sensitive calls to the help file in at least one instance. Again, though, I don't think has any bearing on the MMC merge issue.

              • 4. Re: CHM files not merging under MMC
                wndsfr Level 1
                Confirmed, Pete.

                For some reason, even though I set Binary ToC it was not creating the binary ToC. Hacking the hhp file made it work.

                I'm not sure why this is not working in my setup. If I blow away the hhp file and force RH7 to recreate, it appears to always ignore the Binary ToC setting.

                There appear to be two ways to set the ToC a binary:

                1. Select Microsoft HTML Help (primary layout).
                2. Click RMB and select Properties.
                3. Under 'Additional Options", click Edit.
                4. Click the ToC Styles TAB.
                5. Click the Binary ToC checkbox. (Disables all other options).
                6. Click OK.
                7. Click Save.

                The other way is to specify a binary ToC interactively during a build.
                Neither way is working for me. The only way is to edit the hhp file and manually set Binary ToC=yes.