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I have come across this problem in RHX5 but not in my current role. My last role used to have occasional problems which meant me having to do exactly the same as you. I also never got to the bottom of when or why it was happening. I did report it to Adobe but I think it is one of those bugs that is almost impossible to solve. It is probably caused by a very specific set of circumstances. As I say it only ever happened with one set of help files I produced. It has nothing to do with Webhelp as I produced CHM files at the time.
A possible explanation: When you batch-apply a template in RH 5 (and perhaps RH 6 and RH 7 as well) in a properties dialog for multiple topics, you should click "Apply" and close the dialog with the X box. Do not click OK. (RIck and I have exchanged views here. He understandably argues that OK should apply all changed settings and close the dialog. I agree that it should, but [sometimes] it does not.)
Another angle: If you batch apply a template from the multi-topic Properties dialog, you should limit the number of topics selected. The number is not predictable. Unproven, but a strong hunch: If you tend to use short filenames, I think you'll be successful with more topics than if you tend to use long filenames.
Here's a longshot:
If you can fix this permanently as you described, fine. But it the problem persists in the same project, you might try removing the cpd file and regenerating it.
Thank you Colum and Harvey for your replies.
Specific to Harvey's reply, I can say that I had never batch-applied a template until yesterday - as a test. I selected all topics and applied the same 'troublesome' template. I'm quite confident I used Apply then OK but wouldn't swear to it in Court. It took a while to apply but the template did 'stick' to all topics.
I have more edits to perform in the next few weeks. Now that I know I'm not imagining the problem, I'll be taking notes on the specific steps I use to edit my project. I now have a list of the previously affected topics so I'll be better able to watch for patterns.
I'd like to leave this topic open for a while longer to see if any one else has any insights.
You are not alone. I've seen it too. I'd call it a bug.
As far as I have been able to tell, it looks like the only work around is to go into the topic pod, select all and manually re-apply the template.
PS: If you are (by any chance) using referenced Frame files, then you will have to do this each time you 'force update'.
Hopefully someone 'official' can suggest a better approach to this issue.
It's a bug, all right. But I thought it was related to RoboSource Control. I'm glad (in a sorry way) that other people have seen it, too.
We have had this problem in RHx5 and RH6, with RoboSource Control 2 and 3. As far as we can tell, there is no consistent cause - topics just lose their template connections. Yes, doing a batch Properties change with OK will do it, but sometimes it just happens.
It hasn't been a terrible burden, honestly. The hardest part is figuring out which topics have lost their templates. There's an option in the Topic Properties report to show the style sheet for each topic, and if there is no template, there is no style sheet - but with 2000+ topics in a project, that's not very workable.
And Harvey's right about the batch update in the Topics pod - click Apply, then click the red x to close the window. RH7 may be doing batch updates differently from RH6, but I say why take the risk?
just as an additional thought to consider, when speaking of settings that don't hold - just today I was burned by a problem I have seen occasionally. Every once in a while, just infrequently enough to lull me into a sense of security, my conditional build expression poops out. I make no changes to it, and build after build after build is just fine, but then just when you don't pay attention, content that is supposed to be excluded from the build isn't. It doesn't happen often enough to be able to pin any reason down. But if you use tags, set up a quick test of your output to make sure they work!!!
Very interesting and WOW.
I wasn't very concerned if I lost my template headers and footer because they don't contain any mission critical details. But if the same is happening with Conditional Build Tags, that's a different matter. Can I trust my Index changes or any other topic property modifications?
Every piece of software has its flaws but at least you learn and work around them. I have no problem with that. But now my faith is shaken. Can I trust the output or do I have to review EVERY topic after I generate?
Would be nice if we heard from Adobe on this matter.
Thank you all for your input and comments,
I wouldn't panic too much about the tags. It's good practice anyway to do some basic testing of a Help build before you release it. My bad for not doing so. From now on, I am going to rebuild the conditional expression each time I compile, then check one or two topics that contain the excluded tags on content to make sure that content is really hidden. It will take just a few extra minutes.
I believe I may just have stumbled on the answer by applying a technique that was intended to fix a different issue.
Generate the CHM making sure its name EXACTLY matches the name of the project as in the XPJ file. So myproject.xpj, generate myproject.chm
Please report back successes / failures.