9 Replies Latest reply on Aug 17, 2011 5:17 PM by Kim A Scott

    HTML Help Workshop cannot compile RH 8 projects

    magmill1

      I have recently upgraded from RH X5 and am using RoboHelp HTML 8.0.2.208 on a Windows XP machine.

       

      We use the Microsoft HTML Help Workshop to compile all our projects during our daily builds. When we were using RH X5, this worked well for us. However with RH8, the Help Workshop displays numerous warnings and creates a chm with no TOC or index. Example warnings:

       

      HHC4003: Warning: The following option line does not contain an '=' character separating the option and its value: [OPTIONS].

      HHC4001: Warning: The following alias line does not contain an '=' character separating the topic IDs: </aliaslist>.

       

      From various sources, I gather that this is because the .hhc file and others are now is XML and that the Help Workshop doesn't like this. Is there a way for us to continue using the Help Compiler with RH 8 or is there another solution?

       

      I know that RH8 has been out for a year now, however I have hardly found any references to this problem and no solutions.

       

      Many thanks.

      HHC3004: Warning: NC.hhc : The HTML tag "?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?" is not a valid HTML tag (it does not begin with an alphanumeric character).

      HHC3004: Warning: NC.hhk : The HTML tag "?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?" is not a valid HTML tag (it does not begin with an alphanumeric character).

      HHC3004: Warning: NC_Guide.htm : The HTML tag "?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?" is not a valid HTML tag (it does not begin with an alphanumeric character).

        • 1. Re: HTML Help Workshop cannot compile RH 8 projects
          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

          Open one of the supplied sample projects and check that you can compile a CHM from that.

           

           


          See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

          Follow me @petergrainge

          • 2. Re: HTML Help Workshop cannot compile RH 8 projects
            magmill1 Level 1

            Thanks for the response! I tried compiling the sample RH 8 projects using the Microsoft HTML Help Compiler - same result! Loads of error messages (as in the original post) and the chm has no toc & index.

            • 3. Re: HTML Help Workshop cannot compile RH 8 projects
              Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

              Have you tried compiling from RH rather than direct through the MS compiler?

               


              See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

              Follow me @petergrainge

              • 4. Re: HTML Help Workshop cannot compile RH 8 projects
                magmill1 Level 1

                Yes. The RH compiles normally - the sample projects and our own projects.

                 

                I spoke to someone at Adobe support a few days ago and he had never heard of this problem (which quite surprised me as I'm sure we're not doing any groundbreaking RH usage here!). He basically said that, in this case, RH does what it is supposed to do and that it was a Micosoft problem and that I should contact them! When I mentioned that the RH help says that "Microsoft HTML Help is an online Help standard" and asked how it is that source files produced by RH 8 cannot be compiled using the MS compiler, he just repeated that I should contact MS!

                 

                I then decided to ask the real experts - the forum!

                • 5. Re: HTML Help Workshop cannot compile RH 8 projects
                  Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                  So if you use RH it does the job, if you use the MS compiler direct, it burps. That does not surprise me.

                   

                  The MS compiler was produced many years back and Microsoft built it to do what was needed then. Now we want more but the compiler hasn't changed so Adobe have to work around it. It may be as simple as they suppress messages that they know don't matter, that's a guess.

                   

                  Bottom line is Adobe have done their job and given you a tool that produces a CHM. If you want to work with other tools that is,of course, your choice but you have to accept the limitations. It's like opening a Word document in OpenOffice, it does a good job but there are differences.

                   

                  Why do you want to use the Microsoft compiler rather than work with RH? RH offers command line builds now.

                   


                  See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                  Follow me @petergrainge

                  • 6. Re: HTML Help Workshop cannot compile RH 8 projects
                    magmill1 Level 1

                    Well, we use(d) the MS Compiler because it could be installed on multiple build machines, did the job and was free! Yes RH does provide a command line compiler, however it cannot be installed on multiple machines (since we only have 3 licences).  I have alreadly suggested to our system admin that they can use the RHCL on one machine and output the resulting chms to the appropriate build machine. In the light of what you say, this may the right way to go.

                     

                    Well, I guess its goodbye to the MS compiler for us and we'll try the RHCL!

                     

                    Many thanks for all your help Peter.

                     

                    Michael

                    • 7. Re: HTML Help Workshop cannot compile RH 8 projects
                      Kim A Scott

                      It appears to me that the XML generated by RoboHelp 9 (RH9) cannot be compiled by the Microsoft HTML Compiler; it gives the warnings mentioned because it doesn't see it as valid HTML. This would be fine if there were some way in RH9 for me to set [OPTIONS], [WINDOWS], [MAP], and other settings (like I can in the HTML Help UI, or by 'hacking' on the .hhp directly).

                       

                      I cannot figure out how to prevent RH9 from overwriting the HHP file, nor how to set my own WINDOWS and other settings in RH9, and/or use the 'Command Line' interface mentioned in a previous post, to customize HTML Help compilation. Any help with understanding how I'm supposed to have the same control over CHM generation from RH9 that I would have from Microsoft's tool would be greatly appreciated.

                       

                      In case it helps, what I do (after updating/generating HTML content from my FM10 files) is right-click on the "Microsoft HTML Help" item in 'Single Source Layouts', choose Properties, set options (such as what TOC or Index to use) as appropriate, and then either Save [and then hand-edit the HHP and try to compile in MSFT's tool, which doesn't work] or choose 'Save & Generate'. Either way, the resulting .CHM output is not what I wanted, and I cannot find a way to get it the way I want.

                       

                      FYI, I'm evaluating Adobe TCS3 (9 days left). We currently have FrameMaker 6 and WebWorks 7, and I wanted to update to tools that are supported. I was hoping TCS, using RoboHelp, was my answer... but this inability to control the HHP OPTIONS, WINDOWS, MAP settings seems to be the roadblock I can't get past. Oh, and I'm hoping that being able to control compliation better would also somehow solve the issue that when I open the CHM and search for a term like 'System Function' in my CHM, instead of getting a list of Topics/Headings I get a list of files... (e.g. instead of "System Defined Functions Reference" as a result, I get "appendix_C1").

                      • 8. Re: HTML Help Workshop cannot compile RH 8 projects
                        Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        Hi Kim

                         

                        In RoboHelp 9, ensure that Microsoft HTML Help is configured as the default layout. Then click View > Pods > Project Set-up.

                         

                        From the Project Set-up pod, expand the Windows section. You may or may not see a CHM window there. If you do, it will look like this:

                         

                        tmp1.PNG

                         

                        CHM windows look like little blank windows. WebHelp and FlashHelp windows look like the one on top with a globe inside of it.

                         

                        If you don't see a window like this, you will need to right-click and create one.

                         

                        Cheers... Rick

                         

                         

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                        • 9. Re: HTML Help Workshop cannot compile RH 8 projects
                          Kim A Scott Level 1

                          Hi Rick,

                           

                          Thanks for the speedy and helpful reply! I had to create a new window, and then I deleted the one that was already there. When setting properties on the new window (which I called TriPane and various other names) I was able to set the WINDOWS, OPTIONS, etc. settings in the HHP that I expected (e.g. back/forward/print & other buttons).

                           

                          Of course, Murphy's Law being in effect, now I'm mystified because no buttons/contents are shown; I only get the content that I've pointed to in a single window instead of a Tri-pane window like I've asked for (at least the correct HTML file content is displayed ;-). However, I think this is another topic, so I'll try to post a new one or do more searching on my current issue (any pointers to helpful articles appreciated :)...