I have read some other discussions about whether RoboHelp Server is needed for publishing Web Help or Flash Help to a
web site hosting server. Some say no (and what I did, without RoboHelp server was simply copy files to our server and it is working - though not with context sensitive calls). Others who say "Yes" state it is either a requirement only for Windows Server 2008 or just a tool for collecting statistics and producing reports that you may not need.
I read somewhere else yesterday statements implying that RoboHelp server would support Context Sensitive help. Does that just mean that it would or does it mean it is the only way to support context sensitive help?
If that is true can anyone confirm this? If it is true, do I alone need to publish to RoboHelp server or does every customer of ours require RoboHelp server too if they install our browser-based application and my Flash Help on their own server?
Hi, NeilHaller and welcome to the forums
Short answer: You do NOT need RoboHelp Server to be able to have context sensitive help (CSH). "Plain vanilla" WebHelp and FlashHelp can be deployed with CSH on most any web server and platform (Apache, IIS, Tomcat, UNIX, LINUX, Windows, etc.) From your scenario, my hunch is that you would not need RoboHelp Server, but perhaps this rest of this post will clear up some questions.So, why choose Adobe RoboHelp Server in the first place?This is an optional purchase (roughly $2,000) but you only need a single license even if you have many different help systems or RoboHelp projects on your web server. You don't need a license for every author or every end-user. Here are the main benefits (I'll comment on your customer's requirement later):Benefit #1 End-user Feedback reports - . This provides the author with information on what topics are most frequently viewed and which Search terms are being used to seek information. Among 7 different reports some will list verbatim, the exact words (including mispellings) that end-users type into the Search box. This process can be very helpful for the authors as they plan for changes in the next release.
Benefit #2 - Security and Permissions - You can have a very "granular" level of control over who can have access to content. For example, you can assign certain end users in the Human Resources department with permissions and they would have to enter a username/password to see confidential content.
Benefit #3 - Empowers Authors
Often, the documentation team is dependent on the IT or Web team before changes can be made. On the other hand, a RoboHelp Server site is "owned" by the RoboHelp documentation team. Once the server is installed and up and running, there is much less reliance on the IT or Web team to do maintenance. The designated RoboHelp author "lead" can add authors, groups, determine who has access to view and/or publish projects and generate feedback reports and many, many other decisions instead of having to pester the IT department to intervene, and hope them respond on a timely basis. (There's more but that's the main benefit.)So what is this "Pro" thingy? Normally, regular WebHelp and FlashHelp are used when the content is hosted on a regular web server (see list above.) The "Pro" versions are very similar but these are the SSL outputs that are used ONLY if you are publishing to a web server that has the RoboHelp Server application installed.Normally, RH Server would be used for a single company where employees (even thousands) are accessing the same web server. Thus, my comment that you would need only one license. However, if I understand your scenario regarding your browser-based application customers, they would need their own license for RoboHelp Server if they wanted to have the same benefits I outlined above. So, from a cost standpoint, it sounds like RH Server is most likely NOT necessary in that situation. Instead, you would deploy regular WebHelp or FlashHelp.Hope this sorts out some confusion. Let me know if you need anything else.John DaigleAdobe Certified RoboHelp and Captivate Instructor
Thanks Mr. Daigle for your quick response.
Yes, our customers are not different departments in the same firm but totally remote from us.
Our web application would be supplied to customers all around the world. They would install most of it on their own web or Intranet server along with my help system and then within their company's Intranet, use a browser to access the application. So I would not want to have to put the RoboHelp Server requirement on them for it to work. Our customers will be nowhere near our server where I might have it installed - if I bought it.
Since I posted, I made tiny advancements.
Our server is a UNIX box so my first dumb mistake was not being careful with case when I linked to ROBOHELP_CSH.JS.
So far, as long as the htm file with the link to robohelp_csh.js, the robohelp_csh.js file itself, and the startpage.htm topic are all in the same place - my context sensitive calls are working when the whole system is on my pc.
This scenario works also for Web Help on our UNIX box (after I fixed the spelling mistake).
But no luck with Flash Help. I thought it would work the same way.
One test I must yet try: Is there, was there, a checkbox somewhere in the Flash Help generate dialog that I missed turning on Context Sensitive Help? I will try this next.
It's good to know that you say it should work. That leaves only discovering what I've done wrong in setting it up. Thanks.