5 Replies Latest reply on Jul 8, 2009 4:12 PM by ElisaFnord

    Implementing multiple TOCs in one RH8 output

    ElisaFnord Level 2

      I'm waiting with bated breath for my RH8 upgrade (from RH6). The multiple TOC feature may solve a problem for me, if I can get it to put multiple TOCs in a single WebHelp help system.

       

      Before anybody mentions conditional build tags, I'm not trying to solve a security problem. I'm actually trying to avoid getting into a head-butting contest with the Training group.

       

      Our product's training relies heavily on the online help for the specific steps students need to complete the exercises in the curriculum. That decision was made at a level higher than the help writing or the training curriculum preparation and isn't negotiable at this time.

       

      The applications in our product tend to have long tables of contents. This is structural; there's a whole lotta merging going on.

       

      Training decided that a special book in each TOC was needed to contain just the topics students needed for the curriculum. That book now resides at the top of each TOC. The purpose was to make it easy for trainers and students to locate the topics they need. Management said, "Make it so."

       

      This has completely hijacked TOC synching. When a topic is displayed, the TOC synch finds the first match - which is always in the Training book - and doesn't show the topic's contextual location in the "real" TOC.

       

      Yes, the easy answer is to move the book to the bottom of the TOC - did I mention Management?

       

      What would be really neat would be to have two TOC buttons that call two TOCs, one labeled Training, one labeled Contents. I'd like to use the TOC builder in RH to create the TOCs, but I don't know if there's a solution to getting both TOC files into the WebHelp build. A similar post about double Glossaries was met with a certain skepticism - I just wondered if RH8 was closer to doing this with TOCs.

        • 1. Re: Implementing multiple TOCs in one RH8 output
          Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Hi there

           

          I'd be skeptical of the ability for multiple TOCs as well. You are already using merged output, which is a good thing. The only way I might fathom more than a single TOC "appearing" to be in use would be if you had a child project and opened it on its own. But you could have done that with RoboHelp 6 and not upgrading.

           

          The only thing RoboHelp 8 will offer you that 6 doesn't, is the ability to easily define more than a single TOC. Just like the Glossary thread you mentioned. You may only use a single TOC (or Glossary) in any given output. If you want to present something with a different TOC, it will mean creating multiple outputs and viewing that specific output so you see only its TOC.

           

          Probably wasn't what you hoped to hear, but I feel you can never go wrong if you are honest and up front about things. At minimum, it means less for folks to remember.

           

          Cheers... Rick

           

           

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          • 2. Re: Implementing multiple TOCs in one RH8 output
            Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            Hi again

             

            After re-reading that reply I need to make an amendment.

             

            I said: The only thing RoboHelp 8 will offer you that 6 doesn't, is the ability to easily define more than a single TOC.

             

            What I meant to convey is that I was referring ONLY to the multiple TOC aspect.

             

            RoboHelp 8 offers way more features than 6 has.

             

            * Snippets

            * Variable Sets

            * Formatted Variables

            * Placeholders and Master Pages

            * Improved code handling

             

            Just to name a few of them... Rick

             

             

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            • 3. Re: Implementing multiple TOCs in one RH8 output
              ElisaFnord Level 2

              Thanks, Rick! I never interpreted your reply to be dismissive of what RH8 is offering.

               

              I have a whole list of new features to try as soon as I get my upgrade, but for my money (which is my employer's money, really) the very best changes are to the end-user search. Not only phrase (AND) searches, but relevance sorting! Woo hoo!!!

              • 4. Re: Implementing multiple TOCs in one RH8 output
                MergeThis Level 4

                Elisa:

                 

                We went directly from X5 to RH8, so I'm not sure if snippets were introduced in 6 or 7, but I'm thinking you could use snippets in RH8 along with a separate "Training" project.

                 

                • You seem to need two things: 1) separate the "Training" topics from the "Normal" topics; and 2) synch your "Normal" topics within the TOC. True?
                • You have a merged project. True?

                 

                1. In each topic that also appears in the "Training" book, turn all the relevant content into a snippet.
                2. Create a new child project.
                3. Create new "Training" topics (maybe MyTopic_TR, for example) and import and insert the appropriate snippet.
                4. Add this new child project to the merged project TOC.

                 

                As to maintaining updates for all your snippets, see my suggested method for snippet control - #108 on Peter Grainge's Snippets page (http://www.grainge.org/pages/snippets/snippets.htm). (Peter didn't hijack the "Snippets" title; that page pre-dates the RH usage.) You'd need to establish your own method for syncing the .hts snippet files, either from your "Training" project or from a "phantom" project, but that's pretty manageable.

                 

                A side benefit of this would be the ability to customize the Heading 1 and intro text to both the "Training" topics and "Normal" topics, while the "how-to" stuff in the snippets was always duplicated properly.

                 

                 

                Good luck,

                Leon

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                • 5. Re: Implementing multiple TOCs in one RH8 output
                  ElisaFnord Level 2

                  Leon, this is a really cunning plan! ("How cunning, my lord?" "If you put whiskers and a tail on it, you'd mistake it for a weasel.")

                   

                  I will try this with our task topics, which are the ones they need most. Those topics are pretty much text-only, so there shouldn't be any inherent problem with putting them in snippets.

                   

                  Also, many thanks to the lead on snippet wrangling techniques - I had worried a bit about having large numbers of snippets in a project.

                   

                  E