24 Replies Latest reply on Nov 4, 2010 11:00 AM by V Igel

    Sharing topics among projects

    V Igel

      Hi,

      I have a couple of topics that I would like to use in two different help systems. Do I have to actually include the files in each project?

      Keep in mind that I am not using RoboHelp source control, but rather an external source control system. Actually, the source files aren't under source control at all.

      Thanks,

      Victoria

        • 1. Re: Sharing topics among projects
          Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Hi Victoria

           

          Presently there simply isn't a simple way to maintain one or more topics among several projects. RoboHelp only knows about the topic files among the project. So the short answer is that indeed you will need to copy your file(s) to all the projects that will use them.

           

          Now if you want to step ouside the comfort zone, there are ways to achieve coaxing a single topic that is stored in a common location so that it appears to exist in two or more projects. But it's a bit convoluted.

           

          Cheers... Rick

           

           

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          • 2. Re: Sharing topics among projects
            MergeThis Level 4

            If you're using RH8, the Resource Manager will synch files across your entire local machine, for use in multiple projects.

             

             

            Good luck,

            Leon

            • 3. Re: Sharing topics among projects
              Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Hi Leon

               

              Really? It will? I may appear to be joking here, but I understood the Resource Manager simply provided an easy portal to common resources. So you might have HTML files, Images and whatnot in a common location, then add them to your project easily. But I understood that once you added them, there wasn't really a link any longer and if the resource changed it didn't automatically update any project using the resource.

               

              That's what I'm understanding you to say here, which is why I'd like to see a clarification. You are saying if I have a topic named RedRabbit.HTM in my Resource Manager, I add it to several projects, then later update the file to add perhaps images or whatever that all projects will automagickally update as a result and show me the new data? Of course each would need to be re-generated or re-compiled, but if this is the case I've learned something new! And thanks for that. Seriously!

               

              Cheers... Rick

               

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              • 4. Re: Sharing topics among projects
                MergeThis Level 4

                Well, yeah, Rick...but you have to make your edits at the source (your user name's Application Data folder). Remember, this has to be a machine-wide resource. For example, to edit a file under Snippets, you would edit:

                 

                C:\Documents and Settings\myusername\Application Data\Adobe\RoboHTML\8.00\Snippets\SnippetFileName.hts

                 

                This will populate the change wherever the file has been inserted (when you open a project, or when you Save All in an open project).

                 

                I just tested this again, to be sure, because I hadn't looked at it for a long time. As it turns out, there's not enough similarities between any of my projects to make this worth its while to use, but I'll bet it could help others.

                 

                To make this work for multiple authors, I guess you could share files on a server or shared drive, or even in source control, and synch the shared files with each user's Application Data folder area.

                 

                 

                Good luck,

                Leon

                • 5. Re: Sharing topics among projects
                  Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                  I'm puzzled here too. Snippets are part of a project and it is the snippet file in the project that will determine what is in the topic. I'm not seeing how a snippet in some other location will update the snippet in a project. There is no functionality to tell you the one in Resource Manager has changed or to update that version with the one in the project.

                   


                  See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                   

                  @petergrainge

                  • 6. Re: Sharing topics among projects
                    MergeThis Level 4

                    Here I come to save the day...to banish all puzzlement...to establish seriousness throughout the land (and other lands, too).

                     

                    ProjectA

                    Snippet1.hts

                    Snippet2.hts

                    ProjectB

                    Snippet1.hts

                    Snippet2.hts

                    Snippet3.hts

                    Snippet4.hts

                    ProjectC

                    Snippet1.hts

                    Snippet2.hts

                     

                    The "Application Data\Adobe\RoboHTML\8.00\Snippets" folder will contain these files:

                    Snippet1.hts

                    Snippet2.hts

                    Snippet3.hts

                    Snippet4.hts

                     

                    If you edit Snippet2.hts in that folder, the changes will be reflected in ProjectA\Snippet2.hts, ProjectB\Snippet2.hts, and ProjectC\Snippet2.hts, because the Resource Manager pod in each of those projects looks to that machine folder.

                     

                    This, of course, works as well for images, topics, etc., as described in the help (which really should have covered this, don't ya think?).

                     

                    [EDIT] This, of course, relies on the snippet (et al.) to move from "in the project" to having actually been added to the appropriate folder in the Resource Manager pod. [END EDIT]

                     

                    Good luck,

                    Leon

                    • 7. Re: Sharing topics among projects
                      Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                      I have a snippet in both Resource Manager and a project.

                       

                      The one in the project I can edit. How do you edit the one in Resource Manager? When I right click on that one, it is disabled.

                       


                      See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                       

                      @petergrainge

                      • 8. Re: Sharing topics among projects
                        MergeThis Level 4

                        Notepad [EDIT: right click it in Win Explorer]

                        • 9. Re: Sharing topics among projects
                          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                          OK so I edited the snippet in Resource Manager and if I highlight that in Resource Manager it shows the new text.

                           

                          If I look at the snippet in the project, it still shows the old text. I'm not seeing any updating of what is in my project unless I manually compare the two and then drag the one from resource manager in.

                           

                          I read your post as saying if I update Resource Manager, it will update my project with no input from me.

                           


                          See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                           

                          @petergrainge

                          • 10. Re: Sharing topics among projects
                            MergeThis Level 4

                            "with no input from me." HO, HO, HO!

                             

                            waldorf.jpg

                             

                            [EDIT]

                            I just checked again. After editing the .hts file in Notepad:

                            1. Close the Snippets folder in Resource Manager then reopen it.
                            2. Drag the Snippets file from Resource Manager to the Snippets pod to overwrite it.

                            [END EDIT]

                            • 11. Re: Sharing topics among projects
                              Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                              If you're using RH8, the Resource Manager will synch files across your entire local machine, for use in multiple projects.

                              What Rick and I were questioning was that you said that Resource Manager will sync the files. In fact you are doing the syncing by dragging the snippet. RH is not doing the syncing or even popping up a message to say the resource has changed. You have to know which snippets in Resource Manager are in the project being worked on.

                               

                              That could work for some people so it is a valid way of working but the question is about topics. Have you tried the same with topics?

                               


                              See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                               

                              @petergrainge

                              • 12. Re: Sharing topics among projects
                                MergeThis Level 4

                                No, I haven't, but I can't imagine it being any different for any of the file types that the RH8 help designates.

                                 

                                And, yes, you need to do some heavy lifting, but it can be done. I had put in a wish list request after working this out (many moons ago), for Adobe to automate this better through the WYSIWYG mode, but I don't know if they've worked on it yet, for any future patch or version. Enabling this enhancement across multiple machines would be even sweeter...

                                 

                                 

                                Leon

                                • 13. Re: Sharing topics among projects
                                  Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  Hi Leon

                                   

                                  I see that you and Peter seem to have discussed this at length. I offer my apologies for my lateness in rejoining the thread, as I was off continuing my new adventure of learning how to be Teasy Weasy today. (I'm apprenticing to become a cosmetologist - AKA Hairdresser)

                                   

                                  I don't mean to continue thrashing a deceased equine, but I'm totally confused with the pathing you are suggesting in order to accomplish your feats of saving the day... banishing all puzzlement and establishing seriousness throughout the land (and other lands, too).

                                   

                                  You suggested that the path below:

                                   

                                  C:\Documents and Settings\myusername\Application Data\Adobe\RoboHTML\8.00\Snippets\SnippetFileName.hts

                                   

                                  Was what I interpreted as the "rosetta stone" to making this all work.

                                   

                                  How does the path even factor into things with this? I ask because I defined a path of C:\CommonResources for my Resource Manager and it seems to work the same way as you are stating it works by using the path you suggested. At first I thought maybe something was project specific and that was why you were suggesting it. But I opened another project and the Resource Manager didn't change locations.

                                   

                                  Cheers... Rick

                                   

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                                  • 14. Re: Sharing topics among projects
                                    MergeThis Level 4

                                    Rick, the path I mentioned is the RH default, since I have not defined

                                    a different path as you did.

                                    I have no idea what RH will do in your non-default environment.

                                     

                                    You and Peter should probably address your issues with Adobe, instead of shooting the messenger. This, after all, is another instance of Adobe rushing to release RH8 with a series of incomplete enhancements. A true Resource Manager would be maintaining edits not only across projects on a single machine, but across all projects for all users in an enterprise. Just saying...

                                     

                                    Sorry, this user forum keeps getting tougher to use (note I haven't fixed the goofy wrapping above), we keep repeating the same fixes and workarounds, and now we're even turning on each other.

                                     

                                    I think I'll take a break from this for awhile.

                                     

                                     

                                    Leon

                                    • 15. Re: Sharing topics among projects
                                      Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                                      Leon

                                       

                                      I can assure you that we are not trying to shoot the messenger. I hoped you knew Rick and me better than that. It is simply that you were stating that something could be done that was contrary to our findings with this feature and we wanted to learn how you were doing things.

                                       

                                      As far as snippets are concerned, I understand your workflow but I am not sure I would claim the RoboHelp is syncing things as it is not automatic. The way you work with snippets though is something that will suit some users so thank you for posting it.

                                       

                                      I haven't had a chance to test the same thing with source topics but whereas you can drag an image or snippet from Resource Manager to a topic, I would be surprised if you can do that with a topic. That is all I was trying to get at.

                                       


                                      See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                                       

                                      @petergrainge

                                      • 16. Re: Sharing topics among projects
                                        Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        Hi Leon

                                         

                                        Wow... I wasn't trying to shoot any messenger at all. Actually, I had rather hoped you had discovered a way of working with the Resource Manager that Peter and I were unaware of. Admittedly, when I first saw it appear in RoboHelp 8 I was very excited. But I was crestfallen when it appeared to be a bit short of actually being useful for the situation being discussed in this thread. At the point where I concluded it really didn't offer the average RoboHelp user much value, I abandoned it in hopes it will improve in the next version.

                                         

                                        So because you seemed to be enthusiastic that it would address the issue in this thread, I somewhat concluded that you had made some discoveries that perhaps proved I was too hasty in my own conclusions. Which is why I wanted you to offer some clarification on them.

                                         

                                        I also agree that the forums software is frustration. But it is what it is and we simply don't vocalize our own feelings (which probably mirror yours exactly!).

                                         

                                        So my apologies if you feel I "turned on you". Please know it wasn't meant that way. It was simply curiosity (and probably misunderstandings) about what we all seem to agree on was a feature that taunted us with promise, but seriously needed more baking before it was useful!

                                         

                                        Cheers... Rick

                                         

                                         

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                                        • 17. Re: Sharing topics among projects
                                          V Igel Level 1

                                          Well, it was an interesting exchange and I learned a lot about RoboHelp from it. Nice to see that there are people who know the product inside and out on the forums. I hope that everyone will stay on because it is very useful for people like me who are less experienced.

                                          Regards,

                                          Victoria

                                          • 18. Re: Sharing topics among projects
                                            MergeThis Level 4

                                            Yes, Rick, having tested snippets and images only, I bought into the RH promise: "Drag...topics between Project Manager and Resource Manager" (from the RH8 help).

                                             

                                            Recent testing has proved the "topic" promise to be empty.

                                             

                                            As to the manual gymnastics required to synch edits, I confess that I'm so used to that type of extra work that I tend to forget that other users aren't privy to the investigative process that led me to understand how to massage the process.

                                             

                                             

                                            Leon

                                            • 19. Re: Sharing topics among projects PART 2
                                              V Igel Level 1

                                              Not to open the proverbial hornet's nest, but I have a topic that I want to replicate in three projects. Of course this topic has already been compiled so to include it in a new project would be, as RoboWizard said, akin to sprinkling baked cookie crumbs into raw batter. And it includes a series of tables so to cut and paste into text as an intermediary will be quite painstaking.

                                              Is there any logical way to do this?

                                              Thanks,

                                              Victoria

                                              • 20. Re: Sharing topics among projects PART 2
                                                MergeThis Level 4

                                                Simply import (in RH) the source file into any other project. The whole discussion here was about having to manually synchronize changes between the multiple instances of a file.

                                                 

                                                 

                                                Good luck,

                                                Leon

                                                • 21. Re: Sharing topics among projects PART 2
                                                  Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                  Hi Victoria

                                                   

                                                  If your goal is to maintain a single topic that really only exists in ONE RoboHelp output but appears in MANY RoboHelp outputs so that when you make edits to that single topic are reflected among multiple projects, indeed that's possible. You can use topics that have something called an Inline Frame (AKA IFRAME).

                                                   

                                                  Basically it works like this. An IFRAME acts as a window in a topic. So, for example, you could present the Google Search page from inside a topic. Of course, that Google Search page could also be the topic from another WebHelp.

                                                   

                                                  The only down side to this is that anything inside the IFRAME will not be found when you perform a search. So, let's say that you have the term RedRabbit in that topic being shared. If the user searched for RedRabbit, it will not be found and highlighted on the page because it actually exists in a topic that wasn't part of the project when it was compiled.

                                                   

                                                  Cheers... Rick

                                                   

                                                   

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                                                  • 22. Re: Sharing topics among projects PART 2
                                                    MergeThis Level 4

                                                    In addition, the content in the IFrame will not be printed with the rest of the host topic.

                                                     

                                                     

                                                    Good luck,

                                                    Leon

                                                    • 23. Re: Sharing topics among projects PART 2
                                                      Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                      Sure, if you are a TREE KILLER!!!!

                                                       

                                                      Actually, thanks for pointing that out. I very seldom have a need to do the printed thing, so totally spaced that.

                                                       

                                                      Cheers... Rick

                                                       

                                                       

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                                                      1 person found this helpful
                                                      • 24. Re: Sharing topics among projects PART 2
                                                        V Igel Level 1

                                                        Thanks again for the info. I did try simply importing an HTML topic and got the dreaded red bars. I ended up just copying and pasting into a new topic.