6 Replies Latest reply on Apr 18, 2008 11:58 AM by John D 67995437

    RoboHelp7 crashes during generation of  CHM file

    TechWriterKat2 Level 1
      I've inherited another document previously developed in older versions of RoboHelp. In RoboHelp 7, it crashes with no error, no warning; RoboHelp 7 just exits. I don't even know how to begin debugging this. I've tried with and without conditional processing. (I read other posts about that). Can anybody help?
        • 1. Re: RoboHelp7 crashes during generation of  CHM file
          TechWriterKat2 Level 1
          I just spent an hour on the phone w/ Adobe tech support Level I. It got a little bit better. Now it just fails with a Fatal Error: Microsoft HTML error message and creates a corrupt .CHM file. Adobe has escalated this to Level II, after all the things we tried (deleting and rebuilding the xpj and cpd files, generating WebHelp, which worked, but I still need a CHM file) I'll let you know if this ever resolves.
          • 2. Re: RoboHelp7 crashes during generation of  CHM file
            AdamXT2 Level 1
            I'm with you, TechWriterKat2, this is happening to me as well. Some projects are worse than others. Adobe Tech Support didn't inspire much confidence in me so I'm trying to figure out why this happens in MY projects (and not to many other users out there in similar situations).

            First, make sure that the file path to your project isn't too deep. Try reducing the number of characters in the path...in RoboHelp 5 I would get incomplete generation and corrupt .chm files with deep paths.

            In my search for a "crash generation suspect" I've narrowed down that it isn't due to using multiple windows in single sourcing, isn't due to any DHTML code, isn't only related to conditional text (though that seems to make the problem happen more frequently), isn't only related to broken links (though that seems to make it worse as well). It has nothing to do with Templates.

            The crash always occurs during the "Updating" part of the Generation process, while RoboHelp is creating a temporary folder and filling it with a duplicate copies of all the topic files. This folder is left behind after the crash, and I find that it never includes all the topic files, but that the topic files it includes is not consistent (so it isn't crashing due to a specific topic).

            Sometimes, after a crash, simply opening the project again and re-generating will work. Other times, reversing a change made before the crash will allow me to generate the project. Even continuing to make OTHER changes, then generating again, makes the crash go away.

            For these reasons I suspect that the crashing does not have much to do with specific changes made to topics.

            I am (thankfully) not working in RH at the moment, but when I go back I'm going to start experimenting with the "Auto-compile outdated files" option in the General preferences tab, and I'll also try turning off the "Compress CHM file" option.

            Every time I think I've found the answer to this one, it slips away. If you get an answer from tech support please let us know!
            • 3. Re: RoboHelp7 crashes during generation of  CHM file
              AdamXT2 Level 1
              By the way, if we knew what RH does during the "Updating" part of the process we might be able to narrow down the problem.
              • 4. Re: RoboHelp7 crashes during generation of  CHM file
                TechWriterKat2 Level 1
                Hi AdamXT2, what a nasty bug this is -- you are right, it doesn't seem to be related to any one thing, which is the worst kind of bug. I spent a lot more time with Adobe, and then while I was waiting for a response from them, I managed to "fix" it. I'll tell you what I did, and then I'll post what Adobe suggested I do next (though I didn't try it because for now, the problem is fixed).

                1. I copied the project into the C: drive
                2. I deleted .cmd and .xpj files
                3. I Opened file in RoboHelp X5 (yes, even though I was told this couldn't be done, I was able to do it)
                4. Generated unused files reports
                5. Deleted 95% of unused files using Windows Explorer
                6.Generated CHM files in RH5 with no problem using all conditions (including NONE)
                7.Realized I couldn't save files in RH5 w/ out crashing RH5 (at least it gave an error message before it died)
                8.Opened the file in RH7 and let it "upgrade" project to RH7
                9.Generated CHM file with Conditional processing set to NONE successfully
                10. Generated CHM file with Conditional processing set to NOT Comment NOT Printed
                successfully.

                I have no idea why this worked.

                I let Adobe know what I did. I haven't heard back from them yet. Here is what they suggested I do:

                1) Download the following file and convert it to Robohelp7. Are you
                having the same results when you try to generate the Microsoft HTML
                Help?

                http://tinyurl.com/37acn8

                > Kat < I haven't done this, but I tried other small projects and they worked fine.

                2) Remove any indexing intensive items in your help project, like DOCs,
                PDFs, FLV's or other non HTML items, and try to generate the Microsoft
                HTML Help.

                >Kat< It's possible that removing the unused files (there were a few .DOC files and lots of unused HTM and
                GIF and JPG files) helped, but I don't know.

                3) Try to cut up your project to troubleshoot individual topics. Try
                removing half of the topics and generate the help file, are you getting
                the same results?

                <Kat> Never tried this; it would cause more broken links.

                4) Do other formats aside form Microsoft HTML cause the issue?

                <Kat> I was able to generate WEB help with no problem.

                5) What about creating a new conditional build tag which includes
                everything does it happen as well?

                <Kat> Tried that too; didn't work

                In conclusion, I have no idea why it worked. I was actually planning on going back to RH5, until I realized I couldn't' save the project in it even though it let me open the project in RH5. I hope the information I provided helps someone. This doesn't inspire me with much confidence, but I have work to be done.
                • 5. Re: RoboHelp7 crashes during generation of  CHM file
                  AdamXT2 Level 1
                  Thanks for the update, TechWriterKat2! I agree that none of this inspires confidence either, since the bug appears mostly random. I'll come up with a theory for what the problem might be, fix that problem, get thrilled when the project compiles successfully...

                  ...then, a few hours later the project crashes again.

                  This is a major problem with RH7 that stops all productivity, and it isn't just happening to us. If only it were 100% repeatable we could pinpoint the problem.

                  I don't want to bring my projects back to RH5 because my main reasons for using RH7 are the snippets and variables, and they're lost when the projects are opened in RH5. But if this permanently fixes the bug then it WOULD be worth it.

                  Please, please let me know if the project you fixed this way continues to generate without crashing!
                  • 6. Re: RoboHelp7 crashes during generation of  CHM file
                    John D 67995437 Level 1
                    I had the same problem after "Upgrading" X5 to 7.0 with Adobe Technical Communication Suite. It turned out that TCS did not upgrade X5 but simply installed 7. So after I uninstalled X5 and did the little "delete the corrupted XPJ file" process, 7 version was able to generate the chm OK>