22 Replies Latest reply on Jan 18, 2011 9:19 AM by MergeThis

    TFS and RoboHELP

    Author care Level 2

      Hi all,

      We're currently evaluating TFS as a storage facility for our help projects. Of course we work locally on the C drive and the idea is to use TFS as a dumb storage facility for the files and folders that make up each help project very much along the the lines suggested by Colum. The help is in the form of modular self contained help projects and we're not allowing multiple checkouts of the same help project. The entire help project is checked out, worked on then can be checked back in again.

       

      So a few questions:

       

      1. How would people suggest we handle the situation when a topic's filename is changed?
      2. What is the best way to handle deleting a topic file wrt TFS?
      3. What are your experiences of using TFS with RoboHELP please

       

      Thanks

        • 1. Re: TFS and RoboHELP
          Willam van Weelden Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Hi,

           

          I'm working with TFS 2008 for almost a year (migrated from VSS). It works rather well and has helped me recover from a corrupt project a couple of times. The RoboHelp integration works, but I regularly get "Server busy" messages while checking in/out from within RoboHelp. I don't know for sure if it's the integration, but I don't have this when accessing TFS through Visual Studio. Apart from this (minor) annoyance, I'm quite positive.

           

          I found installing the integration and setting it up was quite bothersome. First you need visual studio or a (free) VS Shell and you need the MSSCCAPI component to allow Robo to see TFS.

           

          I handle changing file names and deleting topics from Robo. Robo then performs the nessecary actions in TFS.

           

          Greet,

           

          Willam

           

          Edited: Pressed the wrong button (again)

          • 2. Re: TFS and RoboHELP
            Author care Level 2

            Interesting,

            At present, the way I'm using TFS is not integrated with the RH project. Is it possible to use TFS integrated with RH but restict each project to single check in and out only? As I'm using a merged project comprising help modules  I don't want multiple checkouts of the same help project to be possible.

            • 3. Re: TFS and RoboHELP
              Author care Level 2

              Hi William

              Further to your reply...

              How does the integration work?

              For example how is a project opened, worked on then saved/checked back in?

               

              What I want to be able to do is check out a help project update it, save it and check back in. Ideally integration might I suppose, allow me to make changes in the RH project which would then also be picked up by TFS?

               

              Thanks

              Steve

              • 4. Re: TFS and RoboHELP
                Willam van Weelden Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                Not that I know of. You can check in/out entire projects from Robo, but you can also check out individual topics and resources. I've taken a glance, but I don't see an option to restrict to checking in/out entire projects only.

                 

                RH automatically checks out all the files you need and adds a lock, preventing others to check out the files you use. That should prevent multiple users from working on the same files, however multiple users can work on the same project simultaniously.

                 

                Greet,

                 

                Willam

                • 5. Re: TFS and RoboHELP
                  Author care Level 2

                  But surely if you want to edit an indivdual topic, you need to do it within it's parent RH project?

                  • 6. Re: TFS and RoboHELP
                    Willam van Weelden Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                    How does the integration work?

                    You can change the settings, personally I've let Robo handle the check in/out procedure. I simply work and RH checks out the files it needs. If you start typing in a topic, RH checks it out. The same for adding: Add a new image or topic to a project and RH automatically adds it to TFS. RH asks you to check in when you exit, but you can also check in manually. File by file, or all at once.

                     

                    If you want to edit an individual topic, I normally open the project and edit the topic. Cneck in and close the project. The sneaky way is to check out the topic from Visual Studio, edit the topic with an external editor and check in. But that's not my preferred method

                     

                    Greet,

                     

                    Willam

                    • 7. Re: TFS and RoboHELP
                      Author care Level 2

                      William,

                      The plug-in approach looks more effective in that TFS actually talks to RH and therefore knows about changes within robohelp.

                      Would it be possible to post a screenshot of TFS window from within roboHELP as this would enable me to understand better?

                      Also it's mentioned in several places in the forums that when using with plug in one should not check in CPD etc. Is this only a problem when multiple checkouts are allowed?

                       

                      Cheers

                      Steve

                      • 8. Re: TFS and RoboHELP
                        MergeThis Level 4

                        RoboHelp, when adding a project to RoboSource Control, does not add the CPD file, nor the HHP, LDB, or PSS files. I assume that the same should be observed with any source control product (I can't remember if it was that way in VSS, but that was over six years ago).

                         

                         

                        Good luck,

                        Leon

                        • 9. Re: TFS and RoboHELP
                          TheMarcus7 Level 1

                          Are there any guides to the setup process anywhere? Since native RSC 3.1 doesn't support the 64-bit environment, we're  looking at switching to TFS or possibly Perforce. If anyone has done this recently enough to provide some step-by-step directions, it would be greatly appreciated. Having to reinvent the wheel of source-control configuration takes me away from being a technical communcator.

                          • 10. Re: TFS and RoboHELP
                            Author care Level 2

                            Hi Leon,

                            I know roughly what the CPD file is and that it's set by most people including myself to re-generate on opening the project anyway.

                            Please can you advise what the HHP, LDB and PSS files do?

                            • 11. Re: TFS and RoboHELP
                              RoboColum(n) Level 5

                              For a full list of all RH file types click here.

                               


                                The RoboColum(n)   @robocolumn   Colum McAndrew
                              • 12. Re: TFS and RoboHELP
                                Author care Level 2

                                Thanks Colum, you've beaten Leon to it, but thanks to both anyway

                                • 13. Re: TFS and RoboHELP
                                  Author care Level 2

                                  Folks,

                                  Another thing while I think of it, are the  HHP, LDB and PSS files re-generated upon opening a project in the way that cpd can be set to?

                                  • 14. Re: TFS and RoboHELP
                                    MergeThis Level 4

                                    A quick look at your own project's source file folder should indicate that each of them has the same date/time stamp as the cpd file.

                                    1 person found this helpful
                                    • 15. Re: TFS and RoboHELP
                                      Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional

                                      HHP gets recreated when you generate. If you delete it, make sure the next thing you do is generate as it can be a life saver.

                                       

                                      LDB is a temporary file. Microsoft Access creates it when you open a database. The CPD is such a database. Safe to delete when project is closed (it should remove itself then but sometimes it sticks)

                                       

                                      PSS gets recreated on opening. Adobe's senior engineer tells me it's safe to delete it and I think he should know! Without testing I cannot recall if you lose all build expressions or just the redundant ones. Test in a dummy project.

                                       


                                      See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                                       

                                      @petergrainge

                                      • 16. Re: TFS and RoboHELP
                                        Author care Level 2

                                        Thanks Peter.

                                        My investigations into using TFS with RoboHELP seem to show so far that if you use TFS as a dumb standalone storage device yopu have to do a lot of tidying up after making changes ro RH.

                                         

                                        If on the other hand you use the TFS plug-in and operate from within RH TFS is made aware of any changes you make in RH. The trouble seems to be that you can't check in the entire RH project including the various .cpd, .hhp etc files. To me that means I can't treat the help project as a self contained module that you can check in and out of the safe as it were.

                                         

                                        As mentioned earlier, I would point out that I will not be allowing multiple checkouts on a single project and will be enforcing "one author one project" so this may mitigate these issues. What I want to resolve is whether using source control like this is any better that just copying the folders into a secure backed up location using window explorer and general good housekeeping etc.

                                        • 17. Re: TFS and RoboHELP
                                          MergeThis Level 4

                                          See my post (8. Nov 4, 2010 1:25 PM). We have 42 projects in a merged help system, all of which have been added to source control through RoboHelp, which did not add those four files in any of the projects. They do not belong in source control because they are either machine-specific (the cpd file on Writer1's machine will not be the same as the cpd file on Writer2's machine) or reproducible in each instance of a RH session.

                                           

                                          I don't understand your reasoning behind: "To me that means I can't treat the help project as a self contained module that you can check in and out of the safe as it were." We do it all the time, even with multiple authors working the same project (but not at the same time). Keep in mind that you're not required to check out everything anyway; RH will tell you when you need to check out files, based entirely on your specific actions (creating a topic, editing a topic, editing the TOC, etc.).

                                           

                                          As to "copying the folders into a secure backed up location using window explorer and general good housekeeping," not all authors are good at housekeeping (trust me, I know from painful experience), and IT folks are not overly concerned with backing up documentation (see the former).

                                           

                                           

                                          Good luck,

                                          Leon

                                          • 18. Re: TFS and RoboHELP
                                            Willam van Weelden Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                            I completely agree with Leon.

                                             

                                            Greet,

                                             

                                            Willam

                                            • 19. Re: TFS and RoboHELP
                                              Author care Level 2

                                              Thanks everyone for all your advice.

                                               

                                              If  I am to use TFS which I feel is a good idea in principle, I want to use it in a very simple and straightforward way and most of my questions have been aimed at learning more about it so I can do this.

                                               

                                              I have already implemented a merged project using web help output for our main product. This is designed so that one author can work on one sub project or "help module" at a time without adversely affecting the rest of the master project. I feel this a great deal more robust than multiple authoring on a single project, I don't see how for example multiple authors could work on the same help topic??

                                               

                                              I will be testing the plug-in for real at the end of our current release cycle on a dummy help project and doubtless the rest will become clear at this point.

                                              Thanks again

                                              Regards

                                              Steve

                                              • 20. Re: TFS and RoboHELP
                                                MergeThis Level 4

                                                If your product is very large, with enterprise-wide dependencies as ours is, several child projects might be maintained by two or more writers. All writers automatically Get Latest whenever they open a project, so that they don't overwrite changes made by another writer or the Doc manager since their last session with that project.

                                                 

                                                I'm in everybody's topics at one point or other, enforcing style and formatting issues (saves me from a sometimes convoluted explanation on what needs changing). I often don't even open the RH project; I just select the topic file in RoboSource Control and Edit the file on the server. I imagine you could do the same in TFS: I think I remember doing the same thing in VSS (the TFS forerunner) way back when.

                                                 

                                                 

                                                Good luck,

                                                Leon

                                                • 21. Re: TFS and RoboHELP
                                                  Author care Level 2

                                                  Hi Leon,

                                                  When working with TFS have you been able to make separate copies of a robohelp project within TFS using branching or any other method?

                                                  As per my recent post we've not been able to do this...

                                                  See Branching with TFS and RoboHELP 8 doesn't work

                                                   

                                                  The reason we want to do this is basically to make archive copies of the project for each completed release of our help.

                                                  Cheers

                                                  Steve

                                                  • 22. Re: TFS and RoboHELP
                                                    MergeThis Level 4

                                                    No, not TFS, we're on RoboSource Control, and my boss said he uses a freebee utility called sqlbackupandftp to backup the final versions to an archive location (few utilties will backup sql databases, he explains).

                                                     

                                                    Plus, we're in the process of getting out of RSC 3.1 and into Subversion (also a freebee, but infinitely less painful than dealing with RSC).

                                                     

                                                     

                                                    Good luck,

                                                    Leon