20 Replies Latest reply on Sep 27, 2011 9:09 AM by rlauriston

    How can I add moderated comments to WebHelp?

    rlauriston Level 1

      Has anyone added moderated comments to topics in RoboHelp Webhelp output?

       

      I know that's built into AIR help but I'd prefer not to use a proprietary viewer.

        • 1. Re: How can I add moderated comments to WebHelp?
          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

          If they have, it would not be via RoboHelp. You may find third party ways of incorporating comments but then you are into proprietary methods.

           

          Right now it is a desktop AIR help feature only.

           

          The more people who report a bug or request a feature, the more likely it is to be actioned. Please follow this link.

           

          http://www.Adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform&product=38

           


          See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

           

          @petergrainge

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: How can I add moderated comments to WebHelp?
            rlauriston Level 1

            Well, yes, it would have to be something other than RoboHelp. I'm figuring some sort of script or include in the topic footers to link into a commenting application.

            • 3. Re: How can I add moderated comments to WebHelp?
              Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

              My thinking was that you were reluctant to use AIR because it is proprietary but the only solutions available are also proprietary.

               

              I don't know if they are any applications where the comments would be local but there are web services where the comments are stored on the internet, viewable only by users of your help.

               


              See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

               

              @petergrainge

              • 4. Re: How can I add moderated comments to WebHelp?
                johndaigle Level 4

                Just backing up what Peter has aptly mentioned. I have investigated third-party services just this past week and unless there is some specifically engineered (expensive) solution, these tools are not "local". They are cloud-based and most of my clients prefer not to use cloud based services for security concerns. Of course, whether these concerns are warranted or not, I cannot say. One of the nice things about AIR Help's commenting implementation is that it can be username/password authenticated and stored in a database if someone is using the RoboHelp Server. Thus, a better security model.

                 

                As an instructor, I hear from my students and clients that commenting is a very frequent request. I strongly urge you to file your feature request with the Adobe team as Peter mentions. One of the good things about Adobe's taking over RoboHelp from the old Macromedia is that they are in a constant improvement mode. So if we want to see something in the next release, we should all speak up now!

                http://www.Adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform&product=38

                John Daigle

                Adobe Certified RoboHelp and Captivate Instructor

                Evergreen, Colorado

                www.showmethedemo.com

                • 5. Re: How can I add moderated comments to WebHelp?
                  rlauriston Level 1

                  On the customer's side, I would prefer to use WebHelp rather than a proprietary help viewer. I don't mind installing proprietary software on the back end.

                   

                  Hosted ("cloud") commenting systems are out. An open source project would be ideal.

                   

                  I'll file a feature request.

                  • 6. Re: How can I add moderated comments to WebHelp?
                    rlauriston Level 1

                    I didn't understand what you were saying. I got the two versions of AirHelp backwards.

                     

                    I want to put WebHelp on my Web server, with a blog-style "Add Comment" button at the end of every topic, and I want to be able to moderate the posts. None of RoboHelp's output formats can do that.

                     

                    So maybe I want to look at something other than RoboHelp.

                    • 7. Re: How can I add moderated comments to WebHelp?
                      Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                      To the best of my knowledge, none of the main help authoring tools offer that. The only way you are going to have a web based help format from a HAT, be it webhelp or browser based AIR help, is to use something third party. I was only aware of cloud based solutions and John's research came to the same conclusion.

                       

                      The options are

                       

                      • Somehow your developers find a way of doctoring the webhelp from RoboHelp. I am not aware of anyone having achieved that and my guess is it has serious obstacles.

                      • You move away from a dedicated HAT and your developers create something to work with that. Again I see it would be a lot of work and both you and your users would lose a lot. You would lose all the HAT features such as build tags, snippets, variables and so on, your users would lose the TOC, Index, Glossary and so on. They are things you can get around but with more effort.

                      • You use a cloud based third party service with the attendant issues.

                       

                      It's that or local AIR help right now.

                       


                      See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                       

                      @petergrainge

                      • 8. Re: How can I add moderated comments to WebHelp?
                        rlauriston Level 1

                        Flare + Feedback Server will do what I want. FS runs only on Windows, which is not ideal but probably not a deal-breaker.

                        • 9. Re: How can I add moderated comments to WebHelp?
                          rlauriston Level 1

                          Madcap Feedback Server costs $1800 and runs only on Windows.

                           

                          http://www.madcapsoftware.com/products/feedback/

                           

                          http://webhelp.madcapsoftware.com/feedbackserver4/Default.htm

                           

                          Innovasys has an add-on (with more features?), it costs $1500 and also runs only on Windows.

                           

                          http://innovasys.com/products/ce/overview.aspx

                           

                          http://www.innovasys.com/products/ce/examples/webhelp/webframe.html

                           

                          Adobe could get a competitive advantage by providing a platform-neutral commenting system in the base package. I really don't want to have to deal with a Windows server. A blog-type extension written in PHP / JavaScript / whatever that could run on Apache on Linux would be preferable. Don't they already have that sort of stuff in Dreamweaver or one of their other Web authoring products?

                          • 10. Re: How can I add moderated comments to WebHelp?
                            rlauriston Level 1

                            The RoboHelp Server 9 datasheet says LDAP integration allows "LDAP users to ... comment on the Adobe AIR® help output integrated with RoboHelp Server 9":

                             

                            http://wwwimages.adobe.com/www.adobe.com/content/dam/Adobe/en/products/robohelpserver/pdf/ 91030571_rhs_9_datasheet_ue.pdf

                             

                            There's also a "Web Administrator tasks / Specify moderation settings for Adobe AIR Help comments" in the RoboHelp Server 9 online help:

                             

                            http://help.adobe.com/en_US/robohelp/roboengine/WS9DE2BAEA-1C51-4a90-8252-039D750230C0.htm l

                             

                            I'm not sure how to reconcile that with the previous comments here.

                            • 11. Re: How can I add moderated comments to WebHelp?
                              johndaigle Level 4

                              Hi, I can certainly see your confusion!

                              Let me see if I can sort this out.

                              WebHelp Pro and Flashelp Pro are the only two RoboHelp outputs that can be published to RoboHelp Server presently. Unfortunately, neither one of those outputs supports commenting at this time.

                               

                              So, how can it be that RoboHelp Server is mentioned in the same breath as AIR Help?

                              It happens that some folks who deploy AIR Help would like to have a secure, authenticated way for the comments to be stored and moderated via HTTP. That's where RoboHelp Server may be used strictly as a convenient repository for comments, etc.

                               

                              Here is a scenario that might explain it better:

                              1. A company has deployed AIR Help because it likes the functionality as well as the local installation and updateability of the format and the moderated commenting feature as well.
                              2. Normally those comments would be stored and moderated on a corporate server behind a firewall. Some of these companies would prefer to store the comments and have password protected authentication on an HTTP server instead.
                              3. The same company coincidentally happens to have RoboHelp Server for their main online help or knowledge bases because they like the idea of Feedback Analytics and authentication and have the option to use LDAP for convenience.
                              4. So they deploy AIR Help for its benefits and avail themselves of the RoboHelp Server to "park" and authenticate their comments.
                              5. This is discussed in the online help topic you referenced.
                                http://help.adobe.com/en_US/robohelp/robohtml/WS1b49059a33f77726-2db1c75912bc47baaf8-7fea. html

                               

                              Not all companies have this need, but if they do, there it is.

                              • AIR Help for its benefits.
                              • RoboHelp Server for its benefits.
                              • AIR Help uses RoboHelp Server to "host" and store comments and authenticate and nothing more.

                               

                              Of course it would not be cost-effective to purchase RoboHelp Server just for the AIR Help commenting, but if a company already has RH Server, they might as well use the "hosting" benefits for the comments.

                              Even after this, I can well understand the confusion. Clearly what we want is a RoboHelp Server output that has commenting. Personally, I'm hoping  the next release will have this enhancement and that's why Peter and I were plugging the wish form

                               

                              John Daigle

                              Adobe Certified RoboHelp and Captivate Instructor

                              Evergreen, Colorado

                              www.showmethedemo.com

                              • 12. Re: How can I add moderated comments to WebHelp?
                                rlauriston Level 1

                                Specify moderation settings for Adobe AIR Help comments

                                1. In RoboHelp Server Web Administrator, click Settings > Moderation.
                                2. Select Allow Post Anonymous if you want to let users comment anonymously on Help content.
                                3. Select Mark New Comments As Pending if you want to display user comments on Help content only after a moderator approves them.
                                4. Click Apply.

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                What does "display user comments on Help content only after a moderator approves them" mean in that context? Who can see the comments?

                                • 13. Re: How can I add moderated comments to WebHelp?
                                  Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                                  It means that until a moderator has approved the comment, only the poster and moderators can see it. Other users will not see pending comments.

                                   

                                  The anonymous bit, before you ask, means that other users will not see who posted the comment but their ID will be know to moderators.

                                   

                                  The integration with RoboHelp Server is, as John has explained more fully, only in connection with commenting.

                                   


                                  See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                                   

                                  @petergrainge

                                  1 person found this helpful
                                  • 14. Re: How can I add moderated comments to WebHelp?
                                    rlauriston Level 1

                                    Now I get it. RoboHelp Server can host and moderate shared comments, but to post or view comments users need to download and install the AIR application generated by RoboHelp 9. Your devnet article makes that clearer than the RoboHelp 8 docs, which don't even list AIR Help under Generate Output:

                                     

                                    generate_output.png

                                     

                                    By the way, I also posted about this on the techwr-l mailing list and the Flare forum. I've gotten email from two MadCap employees answering my questions. So far, I have not heard from their counterparts at Adobe.

                                    • 15. Re: How can I add moderated comments to WebHelp?
                                      rlauriston Level 1

                                      This free, open-source PHP script seems like it might do the trick: http://www.commentics.org/

                                      • 16. Re: How can I add moderated comments to WebHelp?
                                        rlauriston Level 1

                                        The following's an example of the script Commentics uses. Would I want to put these in a master page header and footer or what?

                                         

                                        <?php

                                        session_start();

                                        ob_start();

                                        ?>

                                         

                                        <html>

                                        <head>

                                        <title>Example</title>

                                        <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"/>

                                        <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="comments/css/stylesheet.css"/>

                                        </head>

                                        <body>

                                        <h1>Example</h1>

                                        <p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.</p>

                                         

                                        <?php

                                        $page_id = "1";

                                        $reference = "Page One";

                                        $path_to_comments_folder = "comments/";

                                        define ('IN_COMMENTICS', 'true'); //no need to edit this line

                                        require $path_to_comments_folder . "includes/commentics.php"; //no need to edit this line

                                        ?>

                                         

                                        </body>

                                        </html>

                                        • 17. Re: How can I add moderated comments to WebHelp?
                                          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                                          You do realise:

                                          1. Any PHP solution is going to require the help to be on a PHP enabled server?
                                          2. Something is going to need to be set up on the server to store the comments. I haven't poked around the site to see if they supply that?

                                           

                                          Exactly how you intergrate the script and how well it will work with RoboHelp is something that you will have to trial with your developers. If it were a javascript solution I put javascript solutions in a js file and reference that from each page. This script however appears to have values specific to each page, thus ruling out a master page. In any event, putting it in a master page will not add the script to the body of existing topics.

                                           


                                          See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                                           

                                          @petergrainge

                                          • 18. Re: How can I add moderated comments to WebHelp?
                                            Willam van Weelden Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                            Hi,

                                            1. Any PHP solution is going to require the help to be on a PHP enabled server?

                                            And that you would need to configure the server to parse regular HTML files as PHP files. Normally, the server just serves .htm files directly to the recipient. As your topics are all .htm files, you need to configure the server to also parse the topics as php files.

                                            1. Something is going to need to be set up on the server to store the comments. I haven't poked around the site to see if they supply that?

                                             

                                            This solution requires a MySQL database. There are other scripts, but they all use some kind of database. The easiest for you is SQLite, but that also offers the least functionality. However you want to do this, you need to store the comments somewhere. To do this you must use some form of server side scripting. JavaScript cannot create files. You should be able connect to a database with JavaScript, but a quick google search learns that this is strongly discouraged due to security reasons.

                                             

                                            A JavaScript solution combined with PHP might be the best way to go. Not that I've tried this, but you can add JavaScript in the header/footer of the master page. Using AJAX, call the php file you require for the comments and place the HTML of the php file somewhere in the topic. With jQuery you can easily create AJAX calls. (Among other things.) I've seen jQuery work in WebHelp, but I haven't used it in WebHelp myself. This would also eliminate the problem of having the server parse the HTML files as PHP files.

                                             

                                            For such a solution, I would recommend you get the help of a web developer. You will likely have to create a custom way to integrate the comments in WebHelp even if you use a default script. You probably want to restyle/modify the output of the php file. Unless you like the challenge of course

                                             

                                            Greet,

                                             

                                            Willam

                                            • 19. Re: How can I add moderated comments to WebHelp?
                                              Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                                              Putting my comments and Willam's together, I'm sure you have heard the expression "there's no such thing as a free lunch." There's a price to be paid somewhere, in this case the time spent setting this up rather than using a proprietary solution.

                                               


                                              See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                                               

                                              @petergrainge

                                              • 20. Re: How can I add moderated comments to WebHelp?
                                                rlauriston Level 1

                                                This WebHelp system will run on Apache on Linux, so PHP is actually a major plus over RoboHelp Server (and Flare Feedback Server) requiring Windows. MySQL is already in place in the Apache instance, so that's another plus.

                                                 

                                                Of course we'll need some assistance from a PHP developer in getting it set up. The PHP developer won't know anything about RoboHelp.

                                                 

                                                Hence my question here on where to put the script code in the RH source. Based on past experience with RH and other HATs, I figured the footer was the right place.

                                                 

                                                I think I'll open a new topic on that more general topic.