7 Replies Latest reply on Jan 13, 2011 7:54 AM by JGaf

    One TOC + Many TOCs

    JGaf Level 1



      I'm using RH8, Webhelp, Zoom.


      I just want to get a different opinion on this...


      I currently have one large project, structured so that all the topics and subtopics are in one .xpj file, and in one long TOC.


      For example, the TOC:

















      What I'd like to do is to have each 1st level subtopic (shown above as A1, A2, B_A1, B_A2 ) open in the same window, but display like a separate, individual doc file with only its own TOC in the Navigation pane (don't know how else to explain it).  In other words, clicking on A1, will open the A1 file and display a TOC only listing:





      I don't want to open a new window.....I'd like it to replace the current window. It'll have the same styles and skin.....just a new separate TOC in the Navigation pane.


      The TOC listed above (1st one) will then be reconfigured to display:











      I looked at Merged Help, but I don't think it will work for this.  The examples from Peter's site (thank you very much for these) keep the TOC and don't open new files with a new toc.  I looked at Peter's source files and couldn't find an option that would make something like this possible.  I hope I'm wrong.


      So, my questions are:


      1. Is this structure possible in RoboHelp?


      2.  For Zoom, this means I would probably have to create separate config files, for each "A1 book", then create a categories to search the entire documentation file or just "A1".  This may be a nightmare because then I would have to run the indexer on every single "A1 book"...even if there are 30, and even if that particular file hasn't changed, each time we release a new version.  (I use the javascript zoom option).  Another option is to have 1 search config at the main level and one at each A1 level, without categories. Then the user can search the whole documentation at the main level, but only search sub-topics within the sub-topic.  Still need to think about this one...


      3.  Breadcrumbs....with the new structure, can I configure "Home" to be the one listed in the 2nd TOC (the main toc) ? This means that each Home listed on the sub-topics would refer back to the "main" Home.  If not, then maybe an alternative is to add a Home button to my skin linking back to the main Home file.


      4.  Did I miss any other considerations?


      I hope I explained myself clearly enough!



        • 1. Re: One TOC + Many TOCs
          Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Hi there


          While this would be tricksy to configure and set up in RoboHelp HTML 8 or earlier, it sounds like just the ticket for RoboHelp HTML 9.


          RoboHelp HTML 9 offers a new feature called Dynamic User-Centric Content (DUCC). With DUCC you essentially get sort of the benefits that Merged WebHelp offers along with the discrete systems.


          Cheers... Rick



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          • 2. Re: One TOC + Many TOCs
            JGaf Level 1

            ech...well, I'm usinig Webhelp, and there's no chance of moving to RH9....


            I was thinking of making independent sub-topic .xpj files then create redirects to the sub-topic files in the "main" xpj file.  The downside to this would be an incomplete index and if I were move files around, I could be breaking links that would otherwise be maintained automatically if the files were in the same project.  Breadcrumbs would also be affected..


            Can you think of any other way to construct this type of file?  I can handle tricksy......well, I think I can...  .

            • 3. Re: One TOC + Many TOCs
              Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional

              If you are going to use merged webhelp, unless the user opens a child project only, their search will be across the whole merge. They would need a shortcut to every child, not really what you would want.


              The alternative might be to use ZoomSearch and offer a number of searches. Search All, Search Child 1, Search Child 2 and so on.


              Both Merged Help and ZoomSearch are covered on my site. ZoomSearch is very reasonably priced.


              See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips



              • 4. Re: One TOC + Many TOCs
                JGaf Level 1

                I've been using Zoom for a few years now........first in Homesite, then I incorporated it in RH.


                Can you explain a little bit more, I thought that merged help would not satisfy the scenario I mentioned in my first post......

                • 5. Re: One TOC + Many TOCs
                  Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional

                  Sorry, I was thinking of search only.


                  It sounds like your requirement is to open the help and then depending on what the user chooses, the whole window content is replaced in that the TOC changes along with the topic chosen.


                  That cannot be done to the best of my knowledge. You may be able to launch a different help instance but it wouldn't close the first one on the way, so not very elegant.


                  See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips



                  • 6. Re: One TOC + Many TOCs
                    MergeThis Level 4

                    Although you're working out of a single RH project, there's nothing to say you can't Generate/Publish specific "books" of content into separate folders, and provide links between those output folders so that users can still go from A2 to B1, for example. You would have to ensure that each of the outputs ended up in specific folders, and you could even include the entire merged output in its own folder, if you felt the need to provide that in addition to each of the tailored outputs. You could provide an initial start page that contained links to each of the tailored outputs.


                    You could create separate TOCs (re: breadcrumbs) and layouts for each tailored output, and set them to run in RH batch. Then, of course, you would run Zoom against each of your separate outputs and provide the Zoom files in their related areas (we also use the JavaScript Zoom output).


                    As to running many Zoom processes, I currently run Zoom for four product versions on a daily basis, using a series of scheduled batch files. These are scheduled end-of-day, but just before the nightly build process that pulls in our help. Steps 1 and 4 are run because: 1) we have eight writers publishing 42 child projects in a merged WebHelp system; and 2) running Zoom locally is much more efficient than running across the network. Here's our system:


                    1. Synch output from server location to local machine (Karen's Replicator).
                    2. Run Zoom (Zoom Scheduler).
                    3. Clean up zoom_pageinfo.js to remove spaces before commas, periods, etc. (Z-Cron launching FAR batch file).
                    4. Synch Zoom files from local machine back to server location (SyncBack Scheduler).


                    You could use whatever utilities you prefer, of course, but I do recommend FAR and the others as being very dependable.


                    BTW, step 3 is still necessary to clean up the unwanted spaces in the context description, although the instances are much fewer since RH and Zoom did a bit of cleanup work of their own in their latest versions. My logs indicate fixes in the dozens, rather than the hundreds a few years ago. Of course, if you don't provide the context description in your Search results page, then this step will be unnecessary.



                    Good luck,


                    • 7. Re: One TOC + Many TOCs
                      JGaf Level 1

                      Peter, thanks and I agree, not very elegant.




                      Good ideas....I'll have a try and let you know.  I didn't think about going the "create different layouts" option!   It would take a bit of time to create (I'm a lone writer), but I think it just might do the trick. 


                      I manually create Browse sequences and my initial thought is that I would only be able to have browse sequences within subtopics (within each output) and not in the "main" toc...traversing the TOC wouldn't be, to use Peter's word, very elegant. 


                      Thanks for the tip on the zoom processes!