14 Replies Latest reply on Nov 16, 2010 12:56 PM by MergeThis Branched from an earlier discussion.

    RoboHelp Publishing

    Kevin X

      I just stumbled across this discussion because I'm having trouble with RoboHelp wanting to republish every topic even if I only change one, so the time required to publish is long even for simple changes.  There's a statement here that RoboHelp only updates changed items by default, but it seems like the first thing that happens when I generate WebHelp is that RH clears the output folder and starts a fresh copy. How exactly does RoboHelp decide what to publish, and is there a definitive way to make sure it only uploads modified topics?

        • 1. Re: RoboHelp Publishing
          Kevin X Level 1

          P.S. I'm using RoboHelp 8 without the server software.

          • 2. Re: RoboHelp Publishing
            stevenjs Level 1

            It's the default, I assume, as they say, though I continue to republish all, great excuse to get up and get a coffee ;-)

             

            You can test the proposition by reviewing the page with changes after using the default upload. Should be there, and all else the same.

            • 3. Re: RoboHelp Publishing
              Kevin X Level 1

              What I'm saying is that the default appears to be to republish everything, contrary to what was stated here. If I just change one topic I only want to re-publish that topic, not hundreds or thousands of topics for the whole project. The way it is now it could take me an hour (or several) to publish a one-word change, which doesn't fit our usage model. Am I missing something?

               

              RoboHelp 8 in Windows XP, publishing to a Sharepoint site.

              • 4. Re: RoboHelp Publishing
                Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                Hi Kevin

                 

                The default setting for publishing (until you elect to change it) is to publish only new content. You have to specifically enable the Republish All feature. Indeed that would likely slow you down!

                 

                The way it works is that on the first use of publish, of course, everything must be copied. That process may take some time. As long as 15 to 20 minutes or longer depending on your project and connection speed and whatnot.

                 

                Perhaps you make a change to only two files. When you publish, only those changes are copied to the server. So publishing should only take a few seconds. Note that depending on what the changes were, you may see more than two files copied. But the publishing process should be really quick!

                 

                Cheers... Rick

                 

                Helpful and Handy Links

                RoboHelp Wish Form/Bug Reporting Form

                Begin learning RoboHelp HTML 7 or 8 moments from now - $24.95!

                Adobe Certified RoboHelp HTML Training

                SorcererStone Blog

                RoboHelp eBooks

                • 5. Re: RoboHelp Publishing
                  Kevin X Level 1

                  I just tried it again, making sure I did not check "republish all", and RH is still clearing the output folder and republishing the entire project to WebHelp/HTML. It's true there is some time savings at the "Compiling" stage before that, but the actual WebHelp output is still taking a long time for even a simple change to one topic out of many. A co-worker says that may be unavoidable just as it would be for generating a PDF, but I was hoping the software would be smarter than that for publishing the web content.

                  • 6. Re: RoboHelp Publishing
                    Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    Hi there

                     

                    You certainly aren't the first and likely won't be the last to totally misunderstand the process of working with RoboHelp. It sounds like you are confused between Generating and Publishing. these are two different things.

                     

                    Think of RoboHelp as being like a big mixing bowl. Inside that bowl you mix ingredients together to create cookie dough. This is similar to RoboHelp managing the project. When it's time to bake some cookies, you ensure the cookie sheet is clear. That is similar to RoboHelp clearing the output folder. You then drop dough onto the cookie sheet and place the sheet in the oven to bake. That's like the process of generating WebHelp. Each of your topics (cookies) is a modified version of what it was before. So now you have baked the cookies and you remove them from the oven. The next bit really doesn't have a good parallel, but I'll barge ahead anyway.

                     

                    The cookies will remain on the sheet. That is like the files remaining in the WebHelp output folder. Copies of them are made over in the cookie jar. Whereas with real cookies, you would remove them individually from the cookie sheet and place them in the jar, with files we just copy them. The process of copying the cookies from the cookie sheet and placing the copied cookies into the cookie jar is very much like Publishing.

                     

                    When you generate WebHelp, the content ends up in your !SSL!\WebHelp folder (unless you change this location. Some folks will tell you to change it but I say leave it as is unless you have a very good reason for changing it, because that's the default and it keeps you out of trouble) So you have the files on your local hard drive. The publishing process copies those files from your hard drive to another location. Likely a server.

                     

                    Some folks define the server location as the output location and think they are saving a step. The reality is that they are likely causing problems.

                     

                    Cheers... Rick

                     

                     

                    Helpful and Handy Links

                    RoboHelp Wish Form/Bug Reporting Form

                    Begin learning RoboHelp HTML 7 or 8 moments from now - $24.95!

                    Adobe Certified RoboHelp HTML Training

                    SorcererStone Blog

                    RoboHelp eBooks

                    • 7. Re: RoboHelp Publishing
                      stevenjs Level 1

                      That cookie analogy is hilarious, lord save us from your followers ;-)

                       

                      To put it simply RH always regenerates all the files, the panel setting have no effect on it. I've never noticed that taking particularly long, probably because the publishing to web server takes so much longer ;-) and that is what the "republish all" or the default controls. RH doesn't know what files you've changed until you re-generate the project. Folks here hate to come right out and admit RH ain't always beautiful, elegant, or efficient.

                       

                      As an instructional design principle, I'd be looking to make smaller RH projects and link off to the others if necessary.

                      • 8. Re: RoboHelp Publishing
                        Kevin X Level 1

                        Okay, the cookie analogy is interesting and I see where maybe I'm missing something about the publishing step, but only partly. If I make a batch of chocolate chip cookies and I realize when they're done that I want one more chip on one cookie, I should be able to pull that cookie out of the jar, add a chip and put it back in the jar without baking a whole new batch of cookies.. Maybe this is an inherent problem of generating single-source output, but it's still annoying.

                         

                        Now about the whole publishing thing: where is the command for that? All I've been doing is to "generate" the WebHelp output and then copy it to the desired server location, or generate it there directly. Is there a "Publish" command somewhere in RoboHelp, or are we talking past each other because this is a discussion about RoboHelp Server?

                        • 10. Re: RoboHelp Publishing
                          Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          Hello again

                           

                          One other thing about updating. The process of generating WebHelp does a LOT of things. Each source topic is pulled into memory. Based on the settings found in the Single Source Layout recipe, different bits of JavaScript code are inserted into the topic. The topic is copied to the output folder. But the process is also creating a massive index of Full Text Search data, TOC data, Index data, Glossary data. So it's not quite as simple as updating a single topic. Perhaps you added a single word to the topic. You want the word to be found when searching, no? So the right tables and whatnot need to be updated.

                           

                          RoboHelp treats the project as a cohesive unit. So it may seem a simple matter to update a single topic. But that topic is part of a larger puzzle. So sure, generating may take some time depending on all the settings and the overall size of the project. But subsequent publishing operations should be really snappy because you are only publishing what changed.

                           

                          Cheers... Rick

                           

                           

                          Helpful and Handy Links

                          RoboHelp Wish Form/Bug Reporting Form

                          Begin learning RoboHelp HTML 7 or 8 moments from now - $24.95!

                          Adobe Certified RoboHelp HTML Training

                          SorcererStone Blog

                          RoboHelp eBooks

                          • 11. Re: RoboHelp Publishing
                            Kevin X Level 1

                            Ah, I get it now about the publishing step, which does improve the workflow some. Plus now I can see that a simple text change resulted in updates to 12 project files, so as you said that's not really so simple. (It still took several minutes to generate and publish a one-word change, but that's better than several hours.)

                             

                            FYI, the Help system notes about publishing are rather sparse as far as actually completing this step is concerned, and don't discuss the option for doing that at the end of the Generate process. Some explanation in Help of the issues raised in this thread would be useful, since without that it's not obvious why the publish step is even relevant.

                            • 12. Re: RoboHelp Publishing
                              MergeThis Level 4

                              In the RoboHelp 8 help file, under Generating Help and printed documents > Generate, view, and publish output:

                               

                              1. The "Generate output" topic starts with: "You generate output to your local hard drive."
                              2. The "Publish output" topic starts with "You can publish output for WebHelp and FlashHelp projects. After you specify an output location, publish the output whenever needed."

                               

                              The material in these help topics seems to provide enough explanation.

                               

                              In addition, the fourth, and last, page "at the end of the Generate process" is titled WebHelp Publish - WebHelp. You must have missed that one.

                               

                               

                              Good luck,

                              Leon

                              • 13. Re: RoboHelp Publishing
                                Kevin X Level 1

                                The information is there but isn't particularly clear, especially compared to the way Rick presented it in the video he posted earlier. As he noted, I wasn't the first and won't be the last to misunderstand this two-step process - that should be a clue to improve the documentation. Something like this...

                                 

                                Publish output

                                After generating and viewing a WebHelp or FlashHelp project locally, use the "Publish" command to upload it to a distribution location (e.g. a web server). This command is available by right-clicking on the desired output option in the Single Source Layouts pod, or as an option in the Results dialog box at the end of the Generate process. Publish multiple versions of a project (including to multiple locations) using batch-processing.

                                • 14. Re: RoboHelp Publishing
                                  MergeThis Level 4

                                  OK, you're hired.