4 Replies Latest reply on Aug 22, 2006 10:37 AM by MergeThis


      Hey everyone,

      Do many people use the Publish option instead of regenerating entire WebHelp outputs when you're making help updates?

      Currently, when we generate WebHelp output for a project, we copy the entire !SSL/WebHelp folder to a folder on a network share, then we tell Development to grab the entire folder and overwrite the files in production with the files we give them. Though it's not a problem now, I'm expecting some resistance to this strategy as we implement more and larger help systems, especially as more help systems are placed into Development's version control software (ClearCase). Their version of ClearCase I've heard is very old and takes a long time to load files.

      I attempted to use the Publish option once, but didn't have much luck, probably because I didn't understand it fully AND I was concerned, once I DID understand it completely, of being able to make it understandable to help authors, some of whom had a difficult time even with the basics of Word. So, I never recommended that we use it, but I'm thinking about trying again with some help from this forum.

      Here's how it seems to work. Please correct me if I'm wrong:

      1. I create the project (topics, TOC, index, etc), then setup the layout and specify a destination folder. I guess I would specify a network folder with the name of the help project. At our company, I wouldn't think about a web server since it would be difficult to get that kind of control.

      2. Next, I generate the WebHelp layout, then click Publish. It appears to me that the very first time I click Publish, RoboHelp publishes the entire layout to the destination or "publish" folder.

      3. When I then update a topic or two in the help project, then Generate the layout, then click Publish again, RoboHelp will overwrite only the files that were updated in the "publish" folder. For a single change to one topic without any links to other topics, this appears to be a minimum of 7 files (topic plus 6 control files).

      4. I then also have the option to click "Print" to print out the list of changed files. Can I also somehow easily SEND a list of changed files to my Development team, since they are in different building and a printout would be very inconvienent? This would seem to make sense in this century, would it not?

      Thanks for your help,
        • 1. Re: Publish
          MergeThis Level 4

          ClearCase doesn't work well with RH (Visual SourceSafe is the only one that does, AFAIK).

          1) To use it for source files, keep the HHP, CPD, PSS, and LDB files out of the mix (Add all files but those).

          2) To use it for output files is a waste of time (besides, you'd have to remember to add the sequentially numbered RH control files in the wh*data folders as they're created).

          Remember, no matter what developers insist on, your help is a separate entity and does not impact the software "build." Since the help is not compiled with the app, It therefore does not have to be a part of their source control efforts.

          Good luck,
          • 2. Re: Publish
            MergeThis Level 4
            Oh, by the way: you might want to generate to an entirely separate folder other than the SSL/WebHelp folder. We find it more efficient when copying our source files to the server for backup (instead of using Perforce for source control, yuck!). That is, we can copy the entire folder and know that it contains only source files, and no output files.

            Good luck,
            • 3. Re: Publish
              maniac9999 Level 1

              Thanks for the help. When you say "generate to an entirely separate folder" do you mean for the complete Webhelp publish or for when I click "Publish"? I created a separate folder (outside of !SSL) for when I click Publish.

              • 4. Re: Publish
                MergeThis Level 4
                No, I meant Generate.

                We have a 42-project merged Webhelp for our IMS product; all our project source files are under the C:\imsmerge directory, and we generate to our respective project folders under the C:\imsgenerate directory. We also copy the source to an imsmerge folder on the server, and publish to an imsgenerate folder on the server.

                As to printing the changed files, I was just able to print the list by selecting my Adobe PDF printer driver and my SnagIt printer driver in the Print dialog. In the PDF file, I was then able to save the content as TXT, DOC, etc. (A little kludgy, but hey...)

                Good luck,