2 Replies Latest reply on Jun 6, 2007 7:30 AM by Rona Kwestel

    Link path length limited to 65 characters?

    Rona Kwestel
      After working with RoboHelp X5 for about 2 years, it just came to my attention that some of the links in our compiled help file do not work, even though there are no "Broken Links" in the project. After a bit of investigating, I discovered that if the relative pathname of the referenced file was longer than 65 characters, the link would not work.

      The problem does not occur within the Robohelp topic previewer window, so I thought it might be a limitation of the Microsoft HTML viewer, but I once ported the same project to another help authoring tool and the chm file that it produced from the same underlying project works just fine. So, I have to believe that somewhere in the compiling process, the file names are getting truncated, resulting in broken links.

      Has anyone else come across this problem? Is it perchance fixed in RoboHelp 6? I shudder to think that I may have to go back and shorten all of my folder and file names to ensure that even from a three- or four-level-deep nested topic, the relative path to the referenced topic would not exceed 65 characters.

      Just as an example, the following link works:
      href="..\..\..\..\Markets\Utilities\Properties\Market_Properties_Ov.htm"

      but this does not:
      href="..\..\..\..\Markets\Utilities\Properties\Market_Properties_Ove.htm"

      Thanks for any help.
        • 1. Re: Link path length limited to 65 characters?
          Brian.Mccaffery Level 1
          Hello RonaWSS,

          Welcome to the forum.

          Yes there is a limit, check the answer in this thread to see if it helps.

          Brian
          • 2. Link path length limited to 65 characters?
            Rona Kwestel Level 1
            Thanks, Brian, but essentially that thread just confirms what I already figured out. What I'd like to know is whose limitation it is, why it's there, and whether there is any plan to fix it. There is no such limitation (or it's considerably less restrictive) when generating Webhelp from the same project. To me, this makes chm output useless.

            I'm documenting a fairly complex system, and as such, the nesting of topics is a necessary evil. It puts too much onus on the writer to have to artificially limit the names of folders and topics so that they fit into an arbitrarily small string length, especially when there is no warning that the limit has been exceeded. I have generally 2 or 3, though in a few places up to 5, levels of nesting in the help project, and my folder and file names are descriptive without being ridiculously long. The example that I gave before is typical. That file name was originally Market_Properties_Overview.htm. I could arguably call it just Overview, as the rest of the name is somewhat implied by the nesting level, but if the file were to get moved, it becomes harder to be sure what it's an overview of.

            We're either going to have to switch to outputting Webhelp, or consider switching products, as a competing product did not exhibit the same behavior when producing a chm file from the same project. Any thoughts about the benefits of Webhelp vs. HTML Help would be of interest. We don't currently have a need to make the help accessible over the internet, but the Webhelp can be run just locally.