Unfortunately it pretty much is what it is at this stage. If you don't like where the images end up, you are free to move them after you insert.
If you would like to see it differently, please consider submitting a Wish Form to ask for the changes.
Helpful and Handy Links
I was afraid of that. Thanks for replying Rick.
So just because I have no other person to brain storm with. I setup the image repository (as I call it). Drag and drop images into the project which makes a copy at the root. I don't like that many files at the root, nor with the amount of images that we'll have, do I want it that loosy goosy, talk about hard to maintain.
I also have 2 newbie RH Authors and want to teach them good habits from the start. I'm pretty OCD when it comes to organization and I always have an image folder then sub folders from there. Usually just 2 sub folders 1 for buttons and icons and another for screen shots, but at least you can find what you're looking for pretty quickly.
So here are the 3 ways I see handling this situation:
1) Leave it (easiest solution, but then a lot of files at the root)
2) Close the project at the end of the day and move the images via Windows explorer, but then I have to relink all the images (quick for moving all images though)
3) Create a folder in images called buttons and screen shots in the project manger and drag and drop the images from root into appropriate folder within RoboHelp (the links will change, however, you'll have to move the images one by one by one)
Any other suggestions? Or ideas?
We've always concentrated on naming files and images with prefixes related to functionality, such as these for the software client installation:
I learned years ago to avoid folders like the plague; this forum is riddled with hundreds of postings on the nightmare that can be wrought with the use of folders. Granted, some users have no trouble with them. I, however, prefer to err on the side of caution.
Leon -- so you don't use any folders? I must admit I don't use a lot, but for easy maintenance I use a few. With the software programs we document with, especially this current client, the same screens can be used for multiple functional areas so adding a prefix isn't always easy to determine. We have 182 buttons so far (all start with button_<name> or icon_<imagename>) and 100 screen shots. The screen shots I do require the functional area prefix as that usually is pretty standard per user role, but the topics are conditionalized based on role so the prefix wouldn't work well there.
I've put images at the root before, but when you have 500 images it's a bit overwhelming when searching for an image. I like the resource manager, at least when you click on an image it shows you a thumbnail. If the Project Manager Pod did that without double clicking then closing the image that would make it less overwhelming than guessing which screen shot you want. Buttons are pretty easy to figure out, but not always.
While we only have 182 images, there will be 3 more projects coming online in the next week and we're only 25% into documenting. So there's going to be a lot in each project. If I'm overwhelmed by it, can you image the newbies with no RH experience?
I will ponder the images at root and maybe the renaming of some of the images with better prefixes. It would make it easier when selecting a button or screen shot from the PM and not worrying about the extra step moving it from the root to the image folder (neither which is easy to explain).
May I suggest opening a WinExplorer window on the project folder, set to thumbnails, whenever you work on the RH project?
You might also complete a RH Wish Form to get that idea out there for the RH developers.
We can't avoid folders in our projects, and we have experienced our share of folder-related crashes. Over the last three years, I have found that creating folders once and leaving them alone works quite well. Changing folder names, adding and deleting folders (especially at the root level) - these cause havoc.
I like your option 3 - drag new images from the root to the image folder - but that touches the root.fpj file (a list of the topics and folders in the project folder). So I agree with Leon - it's risky.
That leaves the wish form - and it's a good idea. In fact, I will send one myself.
I'm really surprised to see the negative vibes about using folders. I use them extensively and wouldn't work any other way. Comes from once having a manager who used the skip approach to file. Throw everything into the skip and dig out what you needed, man could that waste time.
See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips
Like Peter, I too am surprised with the folder comments. I've used folders that are nested reasonably deep and never had a problem.
Could the issues be surrounding using Source Control? (You know, make a change in the source and lose all control!)
Helpful and Handy Links
This doesn't address the original post at all, but I wanted to mention my experience with RH folders. I used to have significant problems with renaming/nesting folders in two cases:
- On RH7 when I did a lot of renaming and moving of topics between folders and didn't subsequently trash the CPD file. The file would get bigger and bigger until RH finally ground to a halt. That problem went away completely as soon as I got in the habit of deleting the CPD after (or sometime in the midst of) major project restructuring/renaming efforts.
- When creating cross-references between topics that were deeply nested in one folder structure to topics that were deeply nested in another folder structure. I used to get a lot of broken links because of that that took hours to resolve. I suspect that the problem was magnified because I was using very long (but descriptive!) folder names and very long file names with lots of spaces/underscores. When I started using simpler names for my folders and files and a flatter (that is, 3 or 4 levels instead of 6 or 7) folder structure, the broken link issue went away.
That is, the issues I used to experience with folders had nothing to do with source control, and once I adjusted my work habits a bit, folders have worked seamlessly.
The original post has been answered, albeit not with the answer that MeWrite would have wanted so I hope MeWrite doesn't mind us exploring the folder issue.
The CPD will grow just by the addition of topics and other information it gathers so even without folders, the CPD will ocasionally need to be deleted. It's normal and because it is really an Access database and they do need compacting from time to time. Explained in more detail in Snippets on my site.
I suspect the broken links referred to were not so much the number of folders but the cumulative length of the path name.
\folder1\folder2 is 16 characters as is \abcdefgehijklmn and that is all that matters, the number of characters where there is a limit of 255.
See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips
Well, I always did like a good discussion.
- Yes, the original question was answered, no not what I wanted to hear, but not unexpected either.
- No, I don't mind the folder discussion. I agree I have not had issues with folders in the past. Only once in version 7 or X5 (can't remember) when the length went beyond so many characters. Once I realized that we just took off one layer of folders. I'm a big believer in small so I try to name all folders and files with as a short name as possible.
- I also believe that the perfect number is 3. Once to introduction the idea. Twice to explain it. And the third time to summarize it and allow the person to remember. I translate that into my writing as well.
I don't go beyond 3 clicks for the user (although exceptions have been made from time to time), and I don't usually go below 3 folders deep in my structure, if nothing more than ease of maintenance for me.
I have found that when things start to go wonky, deleting the CPD file usually fixes it.
Oh, and to answer everyone's question (I hate when threads go off into ether and you rarely know what the original poster does after asking the question), I am probably going to leave the images at the root and have stricter naming prefixes. I hate to do this and my OCD is going to drive me batty, but with the tight deadline and 2 new writers I think this is easier for them. I meet with them on Tuesday and plan on showing them all 3 ways, but I think I know what they will want. I'm going to push for option 3 to drag and drop once they are in the root, but I suspect I'm gonna be looked at like I'm crazy.
Who knows? Maybe I am :-)
Thanks for the discussion, the help, the advice, and the links to the wish form.