9 Replies Latest reply on Sep 8, 2009 9:53 AM by Nick@Tag

    Organising a big project with sub-projects

    Nick@Tag Level 2

      So ,I'm laying out my project now, very large. Easily over 1000 topics, about 1000 images, some embedded, some not, variables all over the place etc., and this is for our generic help file.

       

      I'm thinking of how to proceed with the other versions of this that will come in the future, i.e client specific help files with some sections removed that aren't relevent, images changed etc.

       

      Just wondering what people think.

       

      a) create a new project for each client iteration of the help file and share topics, variables etc using the resource manager? (this is what it is used for correct?)

       

      b) leave everything in one large project, remove topic in each TOC before publishing and maintain everything in one place.

       

      Both are good ideas, maybe. if I have different projects, then I manage things individually and keep prject sizes low and organised. If I keep each topic in one place I don't have issues with importanting resources, keeping them all shared properly and potentially losing things and everything is centralized, though things could become very big and maybe RH will start to slow down......

       

      I also worry about the Resource manager and where its storing things that I import into it, and if they are lost/corrupted then other links etc might die also....

       

      cheers.

      Nick

        • 1. Re: Organising a big project with sub-projects
          Willam van Weelden Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Hi,

           

          This looks like the perfect job for conditional build tags. You give client specific help a conditional build tag and when generating your output, exclude all build tags that a client doesn't want. You can set a conditional build tag to text, images, snippets within topics, topics and toc items (I might miss one or two).

           

          You may also want to explore the variable sets if you use Robo8. You can then set a different set of variables for every client, so you can easily switch between client names.

           

          You can also create multiple toc's if your client specific toc needs a custom order. Just select a different toc when you generate your output.

           

          Greet,

           

          Willam

          • 2. Re: Organising a big project with sub-projects
            Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

            To add to Willam's post, you could have multiple layouts with one for each client. Each would save the TOC for that client, the variable values and suchlike.

             


            See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Organising a big project with sub-projects
              Nick@Tag Level 2

              ~Great ideas, thanks. the multiple outputs is handy too. didnt know you could do that.

               

              regarding the conditional build tags, I'm playing around with them now, but I wonder. If I simply create a TOC for each client and choose their content through adding or removing topics, does this not work in a similar way to what the conditional tags would? and it seems a bit faster too.....or is there some added benefit of using the tags aswell?

               

              cheers.

              • 4. Re: Organising a big project with sub-projects
                Willam van Weelden Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                Hi,

                 

                The toc only determines which topics will be in your toc, it doesn't affect which topics make it to your output. Using conditional build tags, you can exclude text and topics from your output. If you use the toc, a customer can still open and view all topics by using the index or search.

                 

                Greet,

                 

                Willam

                • 5. Re: Organising a big project with sub-projects
                  Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                  That use of the TOC has been suggested before and it would suit some, not all authors. If you would like to see that in a future version submit it as a feature request but do specify "as an option".

                   

                  The more people who report a bug or request a feature, the more likely it is to be actioned. Please follow this link.

                   

                  http://www.Adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform&product=38

                   


                  See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                  • 6. Re: Organising a big project with sub-projects
                    Nick@Tag Level 2

                    ah ok then, so to achieve output where I want some topics in and some not  I need to use the conditional tags, and basically I have to apply conditional tags to every topic, more or less, as I pretty much want this option with regard to everything. Guess I'll just apply the tags to topics as they are requested to not be in the ouput.

                     

                    Thanks.

                    • 7. Re: Organising a big project with sub-projects
                      Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                      You want say three outputs.

                       

                      Create three tags 1, 2, 3 where the number indicates what output it should be in.

                       

                      Your build expression for output 1 would be Not 2 and Not 3.

                       

                      You will get anything untagged and without those tags, which is what you want for Output 1.

                       

                      Basically plan your tags on the basis of excluding content rather than including it.

                       


                      See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                      • 8. Re: Organising a big project with sub-projects
                        MergeThis Level 4

                        "ah ok then, so to achieve output where I want some topics in and some not  I need to use the conditional tags, and basically I have to apply conditional tags to every topic..."

                         

                        Not exactly.

                         

                        To control "some topics in and some not," different TOCs and different layouts can each be used, in addition to conditional tags.

                         

                        And no, you do not "have to apply conditional tags to every topic." As Peter said, topics with no conditional build tag will be included in every output. You might find variables to be more useful if you're looking at branding or versioning issues (the rest of the topic is identical for every output, and would not need conditionalizing).

                         

                        Your best bet is to investigate what the output demands are currently, and what they might morph into in the near term and long term, such as whether context-sensitive help will be needed, whether print versions will be supplied, etc. You might find that the largest percentage of topics will appear in every output, with each of them containing a smattering of variables, snippets, and conditionalized segments of content (different screenshots, tables, etc.). You might even structure a merged help project so that certain outputs would eliminate entire project folders.

                         

                        Bottom line: one solution is usually never the way to go...be good to yourself, and use all the features that RH offers. But again, do your homework now, to save yourself untold grief later on.

                         

                         

                        Good luck,

                        Leon

                        • 9. Re: Organising a big project with sub-projects
                          Nick@Tag Level 2

                          Great thanks for the info.

                           

                          I've had a play with the conditional tags and have a good grasp of how it can be applied to what we are doing, and I noticed that RH removed the un-used topics from the TOC when they weren't being published. Like this.

                           

                          99% of doucmentation will be published in the form of online help/AIR help systems. We wont go to print, context sensetive help is very unlikely to be developed. So our outputs are quite defined now. I'm just wanting to get all these things organised now so I don't face problems down the road.

                           

                          I think for now I will work with one project, use the coindtional tags, snippets, and variables with custom output layouts to get client specific stuff done. It should be ok for now, and with the solid import/export features I think if I do decide to split projects, then I should be able to share resources easily.

                           

                          Thanks for all the suggestions and advice.