10 Replies Latest reply on Sep 9, 2009 4:59 PM by Gravenstein

    Rh Automatically Shutting Down & Breaking Links All Over the Place

    Steph.Deshler

      I am in RoboHell for some reason and I cannot figure out why. It's getting more and more difficult for my technical writers to focus on her writing since all the focus is constantly on figuring out the problems with the tool. I'm hoping there is some RH expert out there that can help me...

       

      There are two general problems that seem to continue to crop up:

      (1) RoboHelp frequently shuts itself down after attempting to perform an action

      (2) Topics frequently disappear from where they should be and end up in the "Broken Links" folder which requires us to restore them, but when we restore them we lose any cross project links (MergedProjects)

       

      So here's what I'm working with:

       

      (1) We're have 6 writers working on RH 8

      (2) We use RoboSource 3 Version Control

      (3) We have more than 50 RH projects we're currently maintaining and number is growing (partly b/c we find working with fewer topics creates less RH problems thus we split large projects into several and merge the children with a parent at the end)

       

      Here's what I've tried in the past:

      (1) Deleting and/or renaming the .cpd file. I've read several places that this may eliminate the problem of RH shutting down. This seems to work in about 50% of the cases to stop the weird automatic shut down, but we never do this until the shut down happens at least once and by that time a bunch of other problems are created.

       

      (2) Taking projects out of version control. I know this probably goes against every IT person's beliefs about the importance and use of version control, but version control has caused a lot of problems for us in the past so we use RoboSource Controller 3 more as a document repository or for file sharing these days. What I mean is that I assign one project to a writer who goes into version control and opens/accesses the project and then does file<version control<remove from version control. The writer will then spend time working on the project and when whatever activity s/he is assigned to do is complete the writer does file<version control< add to version control so it's there for everyone. We decided to do this b/c (1) we were having a huge latency issue when more than one writer was working on a project per time. Changes were being lost all over the place. Also, we were receiving a lot of error messages about not being able to make changes to a topic b/c it was checked out when in fact it wasn't checked out at all according to version control and in some cases, had never been checked out. Plus, it was taking several minutes to make any changes in RH to topics when using version control and it could take nearly 20 minutes to check in just a few topics. So, I basically made the executive decision to use it, but not necessarily how it was meant to be used.

       

      So, what the heck is happening to my RH projects? The problems I'm having are not with just one or two of my 50 projects, but frequently happening on all of them. When RH automatically shuts down and we reopen the project (whether in or out of version control) many of the topics have moved them selves to the "Broken Links" folder. I can go and restore them, but that actually takes a lot of time as sometimes it's hundreds of topics (I don't know if there is a way to restore multiple topics at a time) and since we rely so heavily on cross-project linking these days using merged projects we lose all the cross-project links and have to do a lot of rework. Thus, you can see why I'm more frusterated that my staff has to pay more attention to solving/resolving RH issues and less time to writing quality help documentation. This has been seriously affecting our ability to meet project deadlines. I feel like I can't be the only one out there having these problems... Please help!

       

      Thanks,

      Stephanie

        • 1. Re: Rh Automatically Shutting Down & Breaking Links All Over the Place
          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional

          What struck me is issues with source control. Why not try this? Pick two or three frequently used projects. Pull them completely out of source control and do some work on them. When finished, simply zip up the project and save it somewhere. On that users PC either delete the project or add LOCKED or something to it so the author knows not to work on it, it is a sort of backup.

           

          Then get someone else to unzip it and work on it.

           

          Keep this going for a few days or a week and if everything now works, that really does pin it on source control.

           

          I am not suggesting the goal is to abandon source control. This is just to identify whether the problem is source control or the projects.

           


          See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

          • 2. Re: Rh Automatically Shutting Down & Breaking Links All Over the Place
            Steph.Deshler Level 1

            I have actually tried something similar to that already. For a big deliverable that I'm leading the work effort on I just created 10 projects and never put them in version control at all (not even once). The automatic shut down and broken links issue still existed. Version control DEFINITELY brings it's own set of issues which was why I pulled stuff out of version control in the first place, but the two issues that are giving me the most amount of problems happen when using and not using version control.

            • 3. Re: Rh Automatically Shutting Down & Breaking Links All Over the Place
              RoboWizard Level 4

              Hi there

               

              I was working with someone a few days ago that seemed to repeatedly encounter an ABEND in RoboHelp when she attempted to work with the Broken Links feature. Perhaps see if things are isolated to that?

               

              My gut says there is a bug there somewhere, but pinpointing it may prove elusive.

               

              Cheers... Rick

               

               

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              • 4. Re: Rh Automatically Shutting Down & Breaking Links All Over the Place
                Author care Level 2

                Hi there,

                Silly question, are you working on the C drive when working on these projects? If you're working off a network drive or "My Documents" this will also cause problems....

                • 5. Re: Rh Automatically Shutting Down & Breaking Links All Over the Place
                  Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional

                  I recalled a little while ago I had a project where the links broke if you renamed it. Went into each topic and redid them, at some point it would break again.

                   

                  Then I right clicked the broken link and selected Restore. It's been running fine ever since.

                   


                  See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                  • 6. Re: Rh Automatically Shutting Down & Breaking Links All Over the Place
                    Steph.Deshler Level 1

                    What do you mean? I guess what's the alternative?

                     

                    This is basically how we're working right now...

                     

                    Because my company only supports laptops and not desktops and RH actually uses a lot of memory/space my company provided us each with our own remote desktop (virtual desktop) to run the software. We save all the projects in a folder inside "My Documents". Inside "My Documents" we create a folder called RH Projects. Inside RH projects we have a folder for each client. Inside the folder for each client we have folders called "parent," "projects," and "generate." We keep the parent project inside the parents folder and have another sub folder for each child project inside the "projects" folder.

                     

                    Due to the extreme amount of time it takes for us to check in and check out documents are tech guys are changing things up a little for us. They are providing us with much more powerful laptops (8gb) so that we don't have to use remote desktops. Also, currently we have to be on VPN to access the remote desktop and even when we don't have remote desktops anymore we'll have to be on VPN to connect to the server when version control lives. So, to help with that they are giving us a VPN connector so that from our office we are always in network rather than having to VPN in. If that doesn't work, they are just going to move the whole server to our office.

                     

                    Where should I be keeping the project if not in "My Documents." I guess I'm not te technical enough to understand the difference between keeping projects in "My Documents" versus on my desktop versus on a shared drive, etc.

                     

                    Thanks,

                    Stephanie

                    • 7. Re: Rh Automatically Shutting Down & Breaking Links All Over the Place
                      RoboWizard Level 4

                      Hi there

                       

                      Anything that isn't directly connected to the PC is usually a network location. RoboHelp has always been notoriously unreliable when you have a project that is stored on a network.

                       

                      My Documents may seem innocent enough, but if you can walk up to any PC in the organization and log in and see your custom desktop, My Documents is on the network. <Buzzer sound here>

                       

                      My Documents seems logical, but the actual path is long. Instead of C:\My Documents you get something like C:\Documents and Settings\LoggedInUserName\My Documents. Longer paths are known to cause issues.

                       

                      Hopefully this helps... Rick

                       

                       

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                      • 8. Re: Rh Automatically Shutting Down & Breaking Links All Over the Place
                        Steph.Deshler Level 1

                        OK, Rick. So I get that. But, I guess the question is where do I put the projects? In a folder on my desktop? On a shared drive? Saved to an external drive? My techno-phobia is probably showing, but what would be an out of network location?

                        • 9. Re: Rh Automatically Shutting Down & Breaking Links All Over the Place
                          RoboWizard Level 4

                          Hi there

                           

                          Anything starting with C:\ is typically not a network location. If you attach a USB drive, it may show up as a drive letter. I'm not connected to a network, but I think if you view your Windows Explorer, the icon is likley different for a network drive than it will be for a local drive. So crack open Windows Explorer and look at the icons.

                           

                          tmp1.png

                           

                          Cheers... Rick

                           

                           

                          Helpful and Handy Links

                          RoboHelp Wish Form/Bug Reporting Form

                          Begin learning RoboHelp HTML 7 or 8 within the day - $24.95!

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                          RoboHelp eBooks

                          • 10. Re: Rh Automatically Shutting Down & Breaking Links All Over the Place
                            Gravenstein Level 2

                            Some thoughts, recommendations, and questions:

                             

                            1. Any time RH crashes, you should delete your cpd file before opening the project again.
                            2. RSC doesn't like network interruptions. RSC 3.n is better than the X5 version, but it can still behave badly if the network isn't transmitting data fast enough while RSC is trying to do things. For this reason, anything you can do to avoid network problems is worth your while. One tip I can offer is to use your server's IP address for the connection, rather than the server name. This saves a small but sometimes significant amount of time spent doing the lookup and resolution of the server name.
                            3. Check what's going on with your anti-virus checker. Does it scan your directory when you do checkins/checkouts? Does it repeatedly check RH program files? This can have a big impact on certain RSC operations, especially checkin and checkout of large numbers of files.
                            4. Are you really allowing just one author to work on the project at a time? If so, maybe you shouldn't use RSC. Just pass the fileset around from author to author. (You'll need to set ground rules and make an archive plan, of course.) If that's not the case, and there is indeed more than one author accessing the project, I see a potential problem with the scheme you're using: having one author remove files from source control could mess up the next writer's project structure. For example, picture this: Writer A removes ten files from source control. Writer B is assigned to work on the project, and downloads the project from source control. In this case, the ten files are not included in his download, and any links to those files are broken.
                            5. When there have been significant changes to large projects, I recommend to our writers that they get a fresh copy of the project before trying to open it. If your version of the project is too different from the current one, the cpd file has a tendency to freak out and blow up.

                             

                            HTH,

                            G