10 Replies Latest reply on Dec 5, 2007 9:59 AM by jbradley88

    Search Conditional Books and Topics

      When I apply a conditional build tag to a book and mixed conditional build tags to the topics within the book, then Search, RoboHelp searches all topics, even those with the incorrect conditional build tag.

      Does anyone know how to limit the search to only those books and topics with the same conditional build tag?

        • 1. Re: Search Conditional Books and Topics
          RoboColum(n) Level 5
          Are you saying that in the compiled output you are seeing what you'd expect - i.e. that only the topics with the correct conditional build tag are displayed - yet when you search in the output you get all the topics that have been excluded from the output? The webhelp search data is held in a generated javascript file. I'm afraid webhelp is something I don't use a lot of but someone else may be able to point you in the right direction on this. It may be worth deleting all the files in your output directory and recompiling/publishing in case you are referencing old data?
          • 2. Re: Search Conditional Books and Topics
            HKabaker Level 2

            I'd guess you applied build tags to the TOC entry and neglected to tag the topics. So the TOC looks the way you want it to look, but you haven't told RH which topics to omit in the search database.

            If you select a no-TOC topic from search results, does it display?

            The search database is compiled each time you generate WebHelp. I believe RH obeys conditions in your build expression here, as well as for the Index (provided you haven't embedded Index entries in the topics themselves).

            If I'm correct about your method, probably the output folder contains the topics you excluded from the TOC.

            • 3. Search Conditional Books and Topics
              jbradley88 Level 2
              We've got the exact same issue going on here with RoboHelp 6... can anybody shed any light on exactly how I'm supposed to keep the Search function from finding topics that should be excluded according to their Conditional Build tag?

              Here's the breakdown, in case it helps:

              1. We publish the same help file to two different audiences based on Conditional Build tags... some top-level books in the TOC are generic to both audiences and some are specific to an individual group.

              2. We only manage custom books/topics at the top-most book level... we either want to show an entire top-level book or we don't.

              3. In the TOC pane in RoboHelp 6, we apply a Conditional Build tag to the top-level book to determine which "version" of the project a book should appear in. This tag then cascades to all sub-books and topics. If a top-level book appears in all versions, it receives no tag.

              4. In the project template we use Conditional Build tags to create a customized footer.

              5. On some generic topics, we use Conditional Build tags to control the verbiage that is displayed if the page appears in a certain "version" of the project.

              6. We do not do any indexing or use a glossary... our users can either browse the TOC or do a search.

              7. When publishing, we specify the Conditional Build tag and the TOC displays as expected in the compiled output. It only contains the desired books as specified by the Conditional Build tags.

              8. When searching for a term in a book/topic that does NOT appear in the TOC (due to it having the wrong Conditional Build tag), the search nonetheless finds those topics and displays them when clicked in the search results list. This is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, and in our case, potentially dangerous as the user has no idea that the content is not appropriate for them.

              I assumed that applying the build tag to the top-level book in step 3 is all that needed to be done. When expanding a book in the TOC pane in RoboHelp, each individual sub-book/topic correctly shows that the appropriate tag is applied (both through the highlight color and right-clicking to view the Apply Conditional Build Tag flyout menu).

              Is there anything I can do to keep the wrong topics from appearing in the search results when Conditional Build tags are used? Do I need to apply the correct tag individually to each and every topic? Do I need to upgrade to RH7 to fix this egregious bug?

              FYI - I tried making my build expression both exclusionary (listing all undesired tags using NOT) and inclusionary using the Advanced button (only listing the desired tag) and both have the same result: inappropriate topics still display when doing a search.

              Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide!


              It gets better... I tried deleting the inappropriate books from the TOC and then publishing using the correct Conditional Build tag. The wrong topics STILL appear in the search, even though their parent books no longer appear in any version of the TOC!
              • 4. Re: Search Conditional Books and Topics
                ElisaFnord Level 2
                That's because what you "conditioned out" was the TOC entry, not the topics themselves. You need to apply topic-level conditional build tags to the topics. The easiest way is to bring up the Topics tab in RoboHelp, highlight the topics you want to change, right-click to open a group Properties window, go to the Advanced tab, and choose the build tags in the Topic-Level list.

                • 5. Re: Search Conditional Books and Topics
                  ElisaFnord Level 2
                  BTW, you made a logical assumption about how conditional tags worked - but before version 6, build tags only applied to topic content (either the whole topic or selected text).

                  I'm still at the "Gee whiz, I can condition out TOC entries!" stage...;-)

                  • 6. Re: Search Conditional Books and Topics
                    jbradley88 Level 2
                    Thanks for your response.

                    I saw the Tech Note that seemed to indicate that we need to apply the tags at the topic level, but I was reeeeeally hoping not to have to do so.

                    We have many hundreds of topics to wade through, and manually replicating the tags already present in the TOC seems unnecessarily tedious and ridiculous. One might say, te-diculous!
                    • 7. Re: Search Conditional Books and Topics
                      MergeThis Level 4
                      How te-diculous will it be if Elisa's "The easiest way..." method is used?

                      Besides, the search engine most likely was not designed to traipse through the TOC and Index first, before indexing the project's content. Those three navigations are pretty much stand-alone operations, each of which need specific instructions from RH (although I suspect that the Search and the Index would both follow the topic-level conditions that you need to apply--although, as you say, you're not using an Index).

                      Good luck,
                      • 8. Re: Search Conditional Books and Topics
                        Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                        Hi there jbradley88 (your handle seems awfully familar... Captivate?

                        You need to keep in mind that the TOC is simply a list of links to your topic content. There are many many times where topics will exist in your project and never appear in your TOC. So you wouldn't want a tag that excluded a topic from the TOC to automatically exclude the topic from the build. But thinking about it, this is how we used to control what appeared in the TOC prior to being able to tag the TOC directly. We simply tagged the topics. If they were excluded, they were removed from the TOC as a result.

                        Cheers... Rick
                        • 9. Re: Search Conditional Books and Topics
                          ElisaFnord Level 2
                          FIrst, PlainEnglish, I will owe you forever for coining "te-diculous" - what an incredibly useful construction! (At least in the world where I live and work...)

                          And I forgot a critical piece of the method - when you are highlighting multiple topics in the Topics tab to make any kind of mass Properties change, DON'T CLICK the OK button! Click Apply, and let it churn. When it's finished, close the Properties dialog box with the red X in the corner.

                          The OK button has a bad history of applying the changes to one of the selected topics, or some of the selected topics, but not all of them. And it's a monumental pain to find out which. Stick with the Apply button - that has never broken anything for me yet.

                          Good luck,
                          • 10. Re: Search Conditional Books and Topics
                            jbradley88 Level 2
                            Hey Rick! Yup, also in the Captivate forums too. Jack of all trades, master of none.

                            I guess our needs are much simpler than most folks. I can't imagine having content in the published help file that isn't referenced in the TOC somewhere. That seems to fly against the principles of good UI design.

                            We're slogging through the various TOC entries now, trying to figure out which topics go where and what tags we need to apply. And I still say it's te-diculous , so I've submitted a feature request to have the option of having the TOC also control which topics are included in Search. Time will tell if anything comes of it.

                            Thanks again for everybody's responses, and especially the tip about using Apply instead of OK. It really is much appreciated!