13 Replies Latest reply on Nov 20, 2009 10:18 AM by Peter Grainge

    Stop RoboHelp from Trashing CSS

    LarryTX Level 1

      I very much like producing help systems with RoboHelp 8, but it has a very ugly way of trashing custom CSS, whether inline or external. Specifically, when I write inline CSS in the HTML window in RoboHelp, it changes it to something that definitely does not conform to XHTML standards, commonly accepted CSS standards, or anything that I would want. (Yes, it changes the actual properties in my CSS!)

       

      To make matters worse, I tried to import a CSS stylesheet that I use else where to apply to my current RoboHelp project for consistency. RoboHelp, first, rewrote the entire stylesheet, appending its rewrite under my original stylesheet. So, I deleted its rewrite. Then, RoboHelp deleted the entire contents of the stylesheet.

       

      How can I get RoboHelp to stop messing with my stylesheets?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am sick and tired of this!!!!!!!!!!!!

       

      Yes, I could use RoboHelp's internal CSS editor, but it's tedious to use for someone who writes CSS all the time. It is extremely apparent that I know CSS far better than RoboHelp does. In addition, it's incredibly tedious to try to coax RoboHelp's internal CSS editor to use ems, rather than points. No one has used points in CSS for at least a decade. Points, as a unit of measure, make accessibility impossible, among a vast number of other things. They are much more than antiquated; they should be abolished! To show just how antiquated the internal CSS editor is, it renders many/most/all HTML selectors in uppercase, in total defiance of XHTML standards.

       

      How can I get RoboHelp 8 to stop messing with my CSS?

        • 1. Re: Stop RoboHelp from Trashing CSS
          RoboWizard Level 4

          Hi there

           

          As you claim to know CSS so well, you likely don't need the RoboHelp WYSIWYG editor to help you with the HTML either, no?

           

          You are able to code pages using Notepad if you like. Then nothing messes with your CSS. I think RoboHelp 8 also allows you to specify a .CSS file during generation. I'm not sure if it messes with it or just uses what is there.

           

          Cheers... Rick

           

           

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          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Stop RoboHelp from Trashing CSS
            Willam van Weelden Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            Hi,

             

            To stop RoboHelp from messing with your css, simply don't use Robo's internal css-editor and do not use inline formatting. W3C also advises to use the strict DTD whenever possible, so even when Robo doesn't support it, you can still act like it does

             

            Try creating a new style sheet with Robo, then copy your style sheet over Robo's css. As long as you don’t try to open or edit the CSS in Robo's internal css-editor, it leaves your css alone. Modify it using the internal editor, and it rewrites your css. -> Edit using an external editor.

            Yes, the internal editor doesn’t offer you the full package, but if you want all what css has to offer, you'll have to code it yourself anyway, so why bother with the internal editor? Also, for most people a term like 'em' means nothing at all, while points are much more common. And I wouldn't use ems myself, better go for absolute sizes as 'small', 'medium' and 'large', which are the W3C's choice.

             

            Please keep in mind that Robo isn't a fully fledged html editor/web design tool, it's a HAT. It offers the basics that most authors will find usefull. If you want to use some more 'advanced' css, like suckerfish dropdowns, tamed lists, etc, you'll have to use an external editor for both css and html. Since these techniques aren't very common in help systems and the like, I have no problem with Robo not supporting them.

             

            Greet,

             

            Willam

            • 3. Re: Stop RoboHelp from Trashing CSS
              LarryTX Level 1

              I guess you missed the part of my original posting which said:

               

              To make matters worse, I tried to import a CSS stylesheet that I use else where to apply to my current RoboHelp project for consistency. RoboHelp, first, rewrote the entire stylesheet, appending its rewrite under my original stylesheet. So, I deleted its rewrite. Then, RoboHelp deleted the entire contents of the stylesheet.

               

              This style sheet was not created in RoboHelp, and I never edited it using RoboHelp. I never opened RoboHelp's internal CSS editor. Yet, RoboHelp rewrote the stylesheet, then completely trashed it. All I ever did was select styles from the stylesheet. So, yes, RoboHelp does mess with CSS stylesheets even if you don't create or edit them using its internal CSS editor.

               

              As to inline styles, they are not absolutely prohibited by the standards, but you are right, they are strongly discouraged. However, I was using them because of deficiencies in the internal editor. (And no, I'm not talking about anything as elaborate as suckerfish menus. I am talking about very simple formatting that the internal editor won't maintain.)

               

              So understanding that RoboHelp trashes stylesheets created externally even if they are never opened in RoboHelp, I go back to my original question:

               

              How do I prevent RoboHelp from trashing my CSS?

              • 4. Re: Stop RoboHelp from Trashing CSS
                LarryTX Level 1

                Yes, I know that RoboHelp allows you to specify a CSS file when you create a topic. (It's in the Appearance tab of the dialog box that displays when you create a topic.) Apparently, you missed what I said in my original post:

                 

                To make matters worse, I tried to import a CSS stylesheet that I use else where to apply to my current RoboHelp project for consistency. RoboHelp, first, rewrote the entire stylesheet, appending its rewrite under my original stylesheet. So, I deleted its rewrite. Then, RoboHelp deleted the entire contents of the stylesheet.

                 

                Yes, I can code in Notepad when I need to. However, WYSIWYG editors do have their place. Authoring systems such as RoboHelp also reduce the labor considerably by doing things like the layout, automatic indexing, search, glossaries, and the like, but if you have to spend huge amounts of time fighting them to get things to look the way you want (and stay the way you put them), then that labor savings is greatly reduced. The problem is that, I have used stylesheets created externally with HTML pages that I have coded externally. And RoboHelp rewrites both, trashing both the XHTML code and the CSS code. So, I go back to myh original question:

                 

                How do I prevent RoboHelp from trashing (and rewriting) my code?

                • 5. Re: Stop RoboHelp from Trashing CSS
                  RoboWizard Level 4

                  Hi there

                   

                  No, instead it is you that missed what I meant!

                   

                  When you generate your output in RoboHelp 8, there is an option that allows you to specify a specific CSS that is used.

                   

                  tmp1.png

                   

                  Sure, you can choose a CSS when you create topics and RoboHelp will likely rewrite that one. I'm not sure about the one you specify here, but as you are choosing it immediately before creating output, perhaps RoboHelp will leave that one as you wanted it.

                   

                  Cheers... Rick

                   

                   

                  Helpful and Handy Links

                  RoboHelp Wish Form/Bug Reporting Form

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

                  Adobe Certified RoboHelp HTML Training

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                  • 6. Re: Stop RoboHelp from Trashing CSS
                    Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional

                    If you amend a CSS using RH's editor, it will write the CSS its way.

                     

                    If you use the table editor, it will write the styles to the CSS.

                     

                    Same with multi-level lists.

                     

                    But if you avoid things like that, in other words you just use what is there, then it seems to leave my CSS alone.

                     


                    See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                    • 7. Re: Stop RoboHelp from Trashing CSS
                      Willam van Weelden Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      Hi,

                       

                      Apart from what Peter says, don't import a css using RoboHelp. Create a style sheet with the name you want, and then paste your style sheet over it in windows explorer. I haven't had any problems importing, but I can imagine that RoboHelp 'examines' your style sheet on import

                       

                      Greet,

                       

                      Willam

                      • 8. Re: Stop RoboHelp from Trashing CSS
                        jkcc606

                        I am using RoboHelp HTML 8 and delivering in WebHelp. The Help system was created by someone else who used the default.css for all topics using RoboHelp 6.  I am changing the styles significantly and created those styles in Windows explorer by modifying the code in the default.css and changing the .css file name.  All things look great until I compile and everything reverts to the old styles as if my new style sheet doesn't exist.  I followed the extra step of changing the options to "apply to all topics" before generating the output and it works!

                         

                        One problem though, our  plan is to deliver one section of the help that has been reorganized and updated and has the new modified style and to leave the rest in the old style. By employing the "apply to all topics"  method, even the old funky part of the Help has the new fonts and heading levels and it looks BAAAD.  Any suggestions other than to change our plans? :-)    Was there something I missed?

                        • 9. Re: Stop RoboHelp from Trashing CSS
                          Willam van Weelden Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          Hi,

                           

                          You say that all things look great until you compile your project. Does this include the legacy topics?

                           

                          You suggest that you apply the style sheet to all topics trough the Generate dialog. In your project, do the legacy files still use the default.css or are the already upgraded to your new css? If the legacy topics still use default.css, simply don't apply the new style sheet to all topics. Modify the existing styles in default.css so it will start to look like your new css. If you just apply a different style sheet, you may end up with missing classes or markup that was meant to keep the topics together.

                           

                          If your legecy topics (source files) use your new style sheet, they should also be messed up within WYSIWYG and the preview. In that case, create a new style sheet with the old styles, while importing your new style sheet (@import 'new.css';) You apply the legacy css to the legacy topics to maintain correct styling. Whenever you revise them, apply the new style sheet and change the markup.

                           

                          Greet,

                           

                          Willam

                          • 10. Re: Stop RoboHelp from Trashing CSS
                            LarryTX Level 1

                            "small," "medium," "large," etc. are not W3C's recommendation. W3C strongly recommends the use of em. (See this Web page http://www.w3schools.com/css/css_font.asp) Em is preferable because it gives you control over the relative size while respecting the viewer's choice for base size. It is therefore accessible, something that I truly hope every user of RoboHelp is trying to achieve and is required by law for many of us. The small, medium, large, etc. font-size declarations are better left as browser settings. They are far too coarse for effective use, especially when you need to make use of five or six heading styles.

                            • 11. Re: Stop RoboHelp from Trashing CSS
                              MergeThis Level 4

                              As a top-line HAT, RoboHelp selects what css and html entities it will accept and work with. The only thing to do is 1) realize the fact; 2) submit an enhancement request; and 3) work around it. Hopefully, enough people request something so that it gets addressed in the next patch.

                               

                              Example 1:

                              RH simply ignores the @media element (from RH X5 and so far into RH 8).

                               

                              Example 2:

                              In using the Wrensoft Zoom search engine, I was using their ZOOMSTOP/ZOOMRESTART tags to "hide" any navigation content from being indexed. However, RH was ignoring those tags and not carrying them over into the generated output. I the @media element (from RH X5 and so far into RH 8).

                               

                              Be aware that it must:

                               

                              Show the WYSIWYG view as you edit topics.

                              Show a preview of your topic, for each of your conditional build statements.

                              Compile any of a half-dozen outputs, and display on multiple versions of multiple browsers.

                              • 12. Re: Stop RoboHelp from Trashing CSS
                                LarryTX Level 1

                                I can understand your response. What I cannot understand is why Adobe hasn't modified RoboHelp's WYSIWYG editor so that it works similar to Dreamweaver, also an Adobe product, now. Dreamweaver is a top-of-the-line HTML/CSS/JavaScript editor and is state of the art when it comes to those three scripting languages. RoboHelp is still back in the dark, dark ages, now at least a decade behind the state of the art. What RoboHelp accepts in terms of HTML and CSS is archaic at the very best. The unfortunate thing, is that RoboHelp has been bought and sold multiple times and nobody has really done much to improve it or keep it up-to-date. The only reason why it is top-fo-the-line is that it's a niche product with little competition.

                                 

                                I am going to submit a recommndation. I think Adobe should modify RoboHelp to become an overlay on Dreamweaver, giving it far  more flexibility, accessibility, and bringing into the contemporary Web world.

                                • 13. Re: Stop RoboHelp from Trashing CSS
                                  Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional

                                  I spoke with Adobe once on the idea of overlaying RH on DW. The reason that will not work is that DW uploads the local copy of the file. RH uses PIs (processing instructions) which have to be stripped from the output. As Leon said, earlier it is a different type of editor for a different use.

                                   


                                  See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

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