37 Replies Latest reply on Aug 7, 2009 8:54 AM by Peter Grainge

    Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project

    lpatryas Level 1

      Starting today, the RoboHelp 7 project I have been working in for a couple of years, no longer has topics. I thought maybe a path got corrupted so I was going to just import them back, but when I start to do that, it says they already exist in the project. How can I get them back into my project?

        • 1. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
          RoboWizard Level 4

          Hi there

           

          Please post a screen capture of what you are seeing.

           

          Before you do that, please read the post at the link below. Pay close attention to what is said about posting images.

           

          Click here

           

          Cheers... Rick

           

           

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          • 2. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
            lpatryas Level 1

            Thank you for looking into this. I searched and couldn't find an answer. A year ago, someone posted with my exact problem, but it was never answered. I also tried deleting my CPD file, and that didn't bring back my topics.

             

            Here is the screen shot.MissingTopics.jpg

            • 3. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
              Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

              Does it not give you the option to override what is there?

               

              In Windows Explorer look at the folder names you have used for topics. Go to RH and under HTML topics, create a folder with the EXACT same name. Does it then appear with the topics.

               

              If that does not work, try creating a folder under HTML topics with a name you have not used before and import into that.

               


              See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                lpatryas Level 1

                Thank you for your answer. I'm starting to understand this more. What really happened is that all of my folders in the Project Manager are gone. So, I did what you said and created folders with the exact names of the ones in my project source files.

                 

                So my question now is which htm files to select to import back to the folders - I have multiple places with some of the same htm files. For example, in the !SSL! > Webhelp folder, I have "viewing_interface_information.htm." I also have that same file in !SSL! > Webhelp > [app name] > Managing_interfaces folder. Is it normal to have the same files in more than one place?

                 

                In answer to your question, yes, it does ask me yes or no to replace the files that are already in my project (that I can't see in RoboHelpfor some reason), but I'm afraid to replace them because I shouldn't have to replace them. Why is it saying they are already there? I can't see them in RoboHelp. Why does RoboHelp not see them?

                 

                Do you have any idea why my folders disappeared?

                • 5. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                  lpatryas Level 1

                  Some more information: I also have more of the same htm files in my project folder in this location: root > [app name]. The htm files in this location all have a name that starts with "Copy" such as "Copy_of_Viewing_interface_information." Why do I have these "copy" files? Thank you so much for your help.

                  • 6. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                    Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    Hi there

                     

                    It's a standard behavior  of the Microsoft Windows operating system to prepend the file name with "Copy of". This generally happens under the following circumstances:

                     

                    1. You selected the files, right-clicked them and chose Copy. But you never opened a different folder. Instead, you elected to right click and choose Paste without changing the folder.
                    2. This also may have been caused by an inadvertent click and drag when attempting to select and copy or move files.

                     

                    Cheers... Rick

                     

                     

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                    • 7. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                      Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                      It sounds a bit like having got into a hole, you failed to stop digging.

                       

                      Before you go any further, create a backup of the project as it is now.

                       

                      First you do not want to import anything from the !SSL! folders. Those are the output files and you certainly never want to import an output file.

                       

                      In a project you may have some topics showing immediately under Project Files in Project Manager. Then you would have folders with further topics.

                       

                      projmanager.jpg

                      In this example you would find the topic New Topic 1 in the root of your project. You would also find a folder named Folder_1 and there you would find further topics.

                       

                      Somehow in trying to repair the project, you have created copies of the topics.

                       

                      First in Project Manager create the folders the contain the topics.

                       

                      Then import the ORIGINAL files, ignore "Copy of"


                      If you are told the file already exists and asked whether you want to overwrite it, say Yes.

                       

                      When you have finished that, you should have all your project back. Run Tools > Reports > Unused files and it should list all the Copies of. Provided you have recovered all your topics, you don't need those.

                       

                      It mgiht be cleaner to start with a new project and import just what you need.

                       

                      Provided you make that backup first, you cannot make it any worse!

                       


                      See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                      • 8. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                        lpatryas Level 1

                        Thank you so much for all the information and I always wondered what the !SSL! folder is for.

                         

                        After I create the file folders, when I go to import the htm files to the folders, I can't find them. This is what I see at the root level (there are only three files there):

                         

                        RootLevel.jpg

                         

                        The HMS folder is the main folder in RoboHelp where I created all the new subfolders. I haven't done anything yet (really!) and some of these folders have the "Copy of" files, but most of them are empty. In addition, there are two files outside of these folders and I don't see them in the RoboHelp Project Manager HTML Files (Topics). This is the HMS folder contents:

                        HMS folder contents.jpg

                         

                         

                        When I poke around, I can find any of the original files. Where could they be? This is so strange. This problem occured between the time I last worked on it two weeks ago, and then when I opened it this week. I very much appreciate your help!

                         

                        I suppose what I could try is importing the orginal files from a backup I made of the project unless you can think of anything else.

                        • 9. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                          Are you creating these folders using Windows Explorer? You must do this via Project Manager.

                           

                          I am not sure how you can not have known about the !SSL! folder. How did you manage to give any output to anyone without going into that folder?

                           


                          See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                          • 10. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                            lpatryas Level 1

                            I am creating the folders in the RoboHelp Project Manager pod.

                             

                            I know about the !SSL! folder, I just didn't know why the files are in that folder. When I produce output, yes, I got to !SSL!, and get the chm, webhelp, and printed docs from subfolders in !SSL!. Some of my htm project files are in the !SSL! folder, but only a handful. I would think that either all of the htm topics would be in the root of the !SSL! folder or none of them since you say the files in the !SSL! folder are output files.

                            • 11. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                              Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              Hi there

                              lpatryas wrote:

                               

                              ...I would think that either all of the htm topics would be in the root of the !SSL! folder or none of them since you say the files in the !SSL! folder are output files.

                               

                              Depends on what sort of monkey business has occurred!

                               

                              In the earlier screen captures it appeared the project was on your Desktop? Are you able to walk to ANY PC in your organization and see your customized Desktop follow you around? If so, your project is on a network location and that could be the whole issue in a nutshell.

                               

                              Cheers... Rick

                               

                               

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                              • 12. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                HockeyTime Level 1

                                My team is having much the same problem with a project we are working on. This is not a new project, has never been in version control, and in a folder off of the c drive. The first time the topics disappeared from the folder, we reimported them and went about our business. Then it happened a couple of more times.

                                 

                                I've looked at the folder where the project files are located (through Windows Explorer). The main thing I've noticed is that a file with an .hhp extension has a much later date on it than the .xpj file. I researched the .hhp file and all the RoboHelp documenation says is that it is a HTML Help Project file. Which I take to mean Microsoft HTMLHelp. But maybe I'm wrong.

                                 

                                So I opened the .hhp file in RoboHelp and got a message that says "There is already a Project file (XPJ) for this project. Would you like to use XPJ rather than the HHP file?" I selected no and the project opened. All of the topics were displayed in the proper folders. So I closed it (without saving anything).

                                 

                                I tried opening the xpj file but nothing had happened. Then I went to the windows explorer and double click on the xpj file (we never open projects like this). Still nothing. Then I double clicked on the xpj file again. ALL the topics were back in the xpj file in the proper folder.

                                 

                                I have no idea why this happened and it is very scary as to why the topics disappeared and why they came back.

                                 

                                So I deleted everything and pulled down a new copy of the project. This time I selected Yes when I opened the hhp file through RoboHelp and opened it as a xpj file. All the topics were back. Including recent changes that had been made AFTER the date of the hhp file.

                                 

                                I'm throughly confused by all this and a little hesitant to release this project back to the working environment.

                                • 13. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                  lpatryas Level 1

                                  Thank goodness, someone else lost their files and I don't look like a freak  . Thank you for chiming in.

                                  • 14. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                    HockeyTime Level 1

                                    Never feel like a freak and never hesitate to ask for help. RoboHelp does weird stuff all the time. I've been working with RoboHelp for too many years to count and there is always something flaky happening. All in all though it is a great product.

                                    • 15. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                      lpatryas Level 1

                                      Maybe I should have captured the title bar on those screen shots. That window is the RoboHelp > Import File window. The Desktop icon is seleted, but that is because it automatically highlighted when I dragged my cursor across it. The files are not on my desktop, but over on a shared server. Which brings me to a point that might shed some light. When those of us in my work group work from home periodically on our laptops, before we go home, we copy our entier RoboHelp project from the server to our computer because we are unable to work at home using RoboHelp with files on the server. We get home, work on our projects locally, and then when we come back to work, we copy the entire project back to the shared server.

                                       

                                      My files became "lost" after one of those working at home sessions. The only thing is, though, this project where the files disappeared is not a project that I copied and worked at home on. I was working on a different project. After I copied my other project back to the shared server when I got back to work, when I opened each of my projects from the shared server, half of the 6 project had issues where when I tried opening a topic, RoboHelp would freeze with Not Responding displaying in the RoboHelp title bar and I had to kill RoboHelp. Therefore, I couldn't open any topics. I was able to fix that by replacing the CPD file in those projects. This project I'm writing to you about, is the only one of my projects where the topics are actually missing, or kind of missing.

                                       

                                      Remember, that I did not copy this project to my hard drive. I had done nothing to it, but I had copied two other projects.

                                       

                                      What do you think? Thanks so much!!

                                      • 16. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                        HockeyTime Level 1

                                        I'm not sure. I know that working on RoboHelp files on a server can cause serious issues with files getting corrupt. But I think that means that you are actually working on the files while they reside on the server. Someone more savy than me can probably tell you. I'm not sure why that would impact a project you DIDN'T copy.

                                        • 17. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                                          I hope I didn't say anything to make you feel a freak. If I did, my apologies, it was not intended.

                                           

                                          Several things with what you say here:

                                           

                                          ****************************************

                                           

                                          After I copied my other project back to the shared server when I got back to work, when I opened each of my projects from the shared server, half of the 6 project had issues where when I tried opening a topic, RoboHelp would freeze with Not Responding displaying in the RoboHelp title bar and I had to kill RoboHelp. Therefore, I couldn't open any topics. I was able to fix that by replacing the CPD file in those projects. This project I'm writing to you about, is the only one of my projects where the topics are actually missing, or kind of missing.

                                           

                                          ****************************************

                                           

                                          1] RH froze precisely because you worked from a server. Project must be on your hard drive, unless source control is involved and you have not mentioned that.

                                           

                                          2] CPD files are not interchangeable.

                                           

                                          3] You cannot have source topics within !SSL!. The exclamation marks are a sign to RH that the files are not in the project database.

                                           

                                          I really think this project is now in such a state that it will be simpler either to revert to a good backup or start with a new one and import what you need, Do this on your hard disk.

                                           

                                          If the projects are on a network because IT dictate that for backup reasons, see Opening Projects on my site. That will explain why they have to allow a different working practice and your line manager will have to fight it if necessary.

                                           


                                          See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                                          • 18. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                            HockeyTime Level 1

                                            Peter, do you have any idea why the process I described worked in getting the projects to "see" the topics? I really need to know why it worked or what we did wrong before I can release it to the other writers to work on. I've learned that if I don't understand the "magic" it will come back and bite me.

                                            • 19. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                              Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                                              The HHP file is updated when you generate a CHM file and is best not used to open a project unless the XPJ is not working. I think it might get updated at other times but the CHM generation forces it.

                                               

                                              If your output is other than a CHM, it can be worth generating a CHM from time to time to update the HHP. Then if you have a problem with the XPJ, you have an up to date HHP. But if the XPJ and CPD ain't broke, leave them alone.

                                               


                                              See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                                              • 20. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                                HockeyTime Level 1

                                                Weird, weird, weird.This project is not and has never been generated as an .chm file. But good suggestion regarding generating the .chm to update the hhp file. Just so we have it in case the xpj file goes bad again. What makes the xpj file update? Is it generating WebHelp?

                                                • 21. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                                  lpatryas Level 1

                                                  Peter, You have been a big help in me understanding some things about the RoboHelp file structure. I will never know what happened to the files in that project, or why a handful of my topic htm files are in my !SSL! folder. At least I know that they shouldn't be there.

                                                   

                                                  Oh, you weren't making me feel like a freak, I was just thinking of myself as one because of these strange happenings.

                                                   

                                                  What you are saying is interesting - that "RH froze precisely because you worked from a server. Project must be on your hard drive, unless source control is involved and you have not mentioned that." My entire work group has always worked from a shared drive when we are at work. When I say "always" I mean for years. The only time we don't work directly form that shared drive is when we are taking our work home, and as I said, we copy our projects to our hard drive. (We don't use source control.)

                                                   

                                                  CPD files are not interchangeable and I would guess that. With the problems I have described to you, does it look like I could have accidentally copied a CPD file from another project?

                                                   

                                                  I am already in the process of importing topics from my backup copy of my project to the one that is missing the files. I figured that was what I was going to have to do.

                                                  • 22. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                                    lpatryas Level 1

                                                    Peter - I appologize - I have been misstating something. I have never replaced the CPD file in a project, I have just simply deleted it. Never have I replaced one. So never mind about the question I just asked about possibly accidentally replacing one.

                                                    • 23. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                                      MergeThis Level 4

                                                      lpatryas said: "My entire work group has always worked from a shared drive when we are at work. When I say "always" I mean for years."

                                                       

                                                      Wow, Peter, you've never heard that one before, huh?

                                                       

                                                      In spite of what you may have always done, copy (or Get/Check Out in source control) the entire project folder to your local machine before you open the project.

                                                       

                                                       

                                                      Good luck,

                                                      Leon

                                                      • 24. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                                        HockeyTime Level 1

                                                        I agree. You may have gotten away with it but when weird stuff happens, file location is a likely suspect.

                                                        • 25. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                                          lpatryas Level 1

                                                          Three (possibly) final questions:

                                                           

                                                          - You create a new RoboHelp project, is the !SSL! folder empty?

                                                          - If so, it's empty because it only contain files when you complile to produce output? right?

                                                          - At this point, if I keep the project I was working with, with the addition of importing all my topics from a backup project, can I delete all the contents of the !SSL! folder?

                                                           

                                                          Thanks to all of you.

                                                          • 26. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                                            MergeThis Level 4

                                                            Yes, yes, yes.

                                                             

                                                            Shhhhhhh...don't tell Rick Stone I said this, but you don't have to generate your output to the !SSL! folders, especially in an environment where multiple authors are exchanging projects between the server and local machines. Those !SSL! folders are the default folders provided for you, which you can elect not to use.

                                                             

                                                            In our merged project for the IMS product, for example, all the project source files are in C:\ims_merge and all our output gets generated to C:\ims_generate. There's absolutely no good reason to be copying the output back and forth, only the source.

                                                             

                                                             

                                                            Good luck,

                                                            Leon

                                                            • 27. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                                              lpatryas Level 1

                                                              Mum's the word. Thanks to everyone for a successful troubleshooting session.

                                                              • 28. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                                                Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                                LOL, Leon is too funny.

                                                                 

                                                                Leon, what is your suggestion for deviating from !SSL! if no Merged WebHelp is involved? How does it help?

                                                                 

                                                                In your scenario, sure it makes total sense for you to work that way. But if all you have are different authors working from a server location, I'm failing to see how it will help. And in this particular case, I can see where deviating would have potentially (or already has) caused severe confusion with the whole troubleshooting process.

                                                                 

                                                                Cheers... Rick

                                                                 

                                                                 

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                                                                • 29. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                                                  Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                                                                  "My entire work group has always worked from a shared drive when we are at work. When I say "always" I mean for years"

                                                                   

                                                                  Thats what the guy playing Russian Roulette kept saying as the chamber kept on spinning and nothing went wrong. Suddenly he stopped saying it was perfectly safe. Indeed, suddenly he stopped saying anything!

                                                                   

                                                                  Leon is right, we have heard your response so many times. Usually it starts like this and we are not believed and the person carries on. Then a few months later they are back, in tears because a deadline looms later that day and the project is completely broken.

                                                                   

                                                                  Please don't tell me that sometimes you all work on the same project at the same time. Assuming you are not, the way for you to work is have the project on your local drive as you do at home. Zip it up at the end of the day and put it on the network. That gets it backed up. Next day you can carry on and repeat the zip at the end of the day. Go home with the zip when you need to. Next morning unzip the project to your local drive and carry on. (Rename the folder that was on your local drive when you went home and keep it there for a few days as a backup, or trash it). Create a system so that you don't have two people take the same zip.

                                                                   

                                                                  It's something like that or use source control but that makes working at home more of a pain. I would design a method that means you work locally and keep zips on the network.

                                                                   

                                                                  Otherwise please preface all posts with the fact that your project is on a network.

                                                                   


                                                                  See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                                                                  • 30. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                                                    Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                                                                    HockeyTime

                                                                     

                                                                    The HHP is a bit of a mystery. It gets created with every project and it does update without creating a CHM but it is not always up to date. I'll see what I can find out sometime. However, creating a CHM does force an update.

                                                                     


                                                                    See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                                                                    • 31. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                                                      lpatryas Level 1

                                                                      "Please don't tell me that sometimes you all work on the same project at the same time." Okay, I won't, and I'm not lying. At least we don't do that!

                                                                       

                                                                      Thanks for the suggestion on how to work "better." Because of this incident, I am now sufficiently afraid. I'll pass this on to my work group. One person on my team, I just found out, uses version control with RoboHelp on StarTeam somehow. I will find out exactly how he does that.

                                                                      • 32. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                                                        Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                                                                        Yes the !SSL! is empty until you generate. Then your output goes there, or anywhere else you define in the output wizard. I'll leave Rick and Leon to argue that, I'm not playing piggy in the middle today.

                                                                         

                                                                        You can trash the contents of the !SSL! anytime you want as you can use the source files to regenerate the what was there. At least, you can if all your source files are in place. For now you might want zip up the contents before you delete. Insurance is no bad things.

                                                                         


                                                                        See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                                                                        • 33. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                                                          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                                                                          One reason we generate outside the project sometimes is so that we can zip up the source project without the overhead of the output folders and files. Less bulk to zip and move around.

                                                                           


                                                                          See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                                                                          • 34. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                                                            Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                                                                            Also if you publish outside, less risk of publishing back into the source.

                                                                             


                                                                            See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                                                                            • 35. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                                                              Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                                              LOL - I have to respectfully disagree with any observation that it lessens the risk of overlaying source files.

                                                                               

                                                                              Publishing is always going to be a shotgun that doesn't know or care that it's pointed squarely at your forehead!

                                                                               

                                                                              Besides, once the publishing destination has been defined (assuming it was defined correctly) the risk is zero.

                                                                               

                                                                              Cheers... Rick

                                                                               

                                                                               

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                                                                              • 36. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                                                                HockeyTime Level 1

                                                                                Thanks Peter. It is a mystery to me too. In fact, it's just plain weird. But for now our problem is solved. I have told the writer involved to make back ups and generate a chm regularly so that there is recourse if the topics "disappear" again. I would like to know more about the real purpose of the hhp file though. It's obvious it has more involvement that HTML Help.

                                                                                 

                                                                                And just as a footnote. We generate most of our projects to a folder other than the !SSL! folder for just the reason you said. It helps when we zip up the output which is how we deliver. However that is not the case with the project where the topics went missing.

                                                                                 

                                                                                Thanks for you input. I appreciate it.

                                                                                • 37. Re: Topics missing in my RoboHelp 7 project
                                                                                  Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                                                                                  The circumstances in which the HHP is updated are now stated in Snippet 119 on my site. No need to generate that CHM.

                                                                                   


                                                                                  See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips