4 Replies Latest reply on Aug 10, 2006 1:09 PM by catamaran

    Pls confirm this list of .net for this project

    catamaran Level 1
      Would you kindly confirm the impact I think using our new .Net software will have on our RHX5 WebHelp project for Fall? I've spent the day reading forum info, and have a list of white papers to read, but I'd like to know the probable overhead.

      Following is a description of our relatively simple (large) Help project, our teams, and the impact I think will occur to all. It may be more detail than is needed, but I don't want to skip something that may be needed for an answer.

      Our project contains 6 imported Word docs and 10 baggage file PDFs. All docs are deleted and reimported when they are updated. We plan two Help changes for Fall: 1) use RoboEngine, and 2) create/merge 6 Help projects, in order to have both global and individual indexes. No context sensitivity - Help will still open to the start.htm page, which is the typical 3-paned Help.

      Three teams are affected by Help:
      1) Dev puts the Help folder into the application build, and creates a call to start.htm when the user clicks Help. Dev is switching to .net for the application, so they'll also have a learning curve.
      2) Docs creates Help, and also puts all Word source docs into PDF.
      3) the web team puts Help on our company website for all users to access directly without going through the application.

      For this project, I see these changes from using RoboHelp.Net.

      1) RoboEngine will run as a .Net service. The doc, dev, and web teams expect additional work from using RoboEngine, but I think having it run as a .net service will impact dev only. Or will it also impact the Web team, in placing it on the web site?

      2) When dev uses its new .net functionality to call Help I think they will still just put the folder into the build and call start.htm, using different code to do so. Right? The samples in the RoboHelp.net files should make this easier for them, and therefore easier for us all to communicate.

      Is that it? No additional impact based solely on using .net?

      Thank you,
        • 1. Re: Pls confirm this list of .net for this project
          MergeThis Level 4
          Just in case there's some confusion, WebHelp Pro and RoboEngine are not required elements for moving to a .NET application and its accompanying help. Plain, old WebHelp on a plain, old server is sufficient.

          WebHelp Pro and RoboEngine, as the RH Help says, "gathers and stores usage data, hosts and serves the structured content, and hosts natural language search." The second item can be done on any server, and the first and third might not be as important to your organization as originally thought, given the high overhead involved (who's going to maintain the server, who's going to analyze the usage data, who's going to implement changes based on the data, etc.?)

          When you say "All docs are deleted and reimported when they are updated," I'm thinking: why even use RH at all? You could simply use only Word, and then use Acrobat Professional to provide all PDFs and create a master index (Adobe calls it a Catalog).

          I know this is an RH forum, and I don't usually suggest not using RH, but I just get a sense that your organization is using a chain saw to perform micro-surgery. Unless I've misread your post, which is entirely possible...

          Good luck,
          • 2. Re: Pls confirm this list of .net for this project
            catamaran Level 1
            Thanks, Leon, your reply was thorough and sincere, and we appreciate it. It looks like my note wasn't clear - words are slippery! And perhaps describing our project clouded the answer.

            We DO use RH, have for years, and will do so for some time. We are skilled RH authors, and know various ways to use it. Previously we worked within RH as a normal Help author project, but found that due to our many docs and document sources, and way too few writers, we like using RH for a while this way. For us, it continues to be a great product in spite of its gotchas, an easy way to manage our docs, and a familiar way to present Help in our application.

            RoboEngine is not in question. We've studied the impact of it, and are preparing the various teams to implement it.

            Our narrow focus on the moment is the impact of .net. It may be small, but we don't know that. We're concerned that we'll find out the hard way that we don't know the minimal tasks needed. Is it as easy as installing the RH.Net software and providing the WebHelp to development as we normally do?

            I've seen at least one Help author exult in the possible ability to do cool Help designs with .Net. That would be fun, and we can look into it later, but for now in our situation, what's the minimal task list?

            Many thanks,

            • 3. Re: Pls confirm this list of .net for this project
              MergeThis Level 4
              ...what RH.Net software?

              You do RH, the developers do .Net, and nobody does RH.Net. The only impact will be if the developers can't put in the proper .Net calls to your RH WebHelp. It seems like most outfits are simply calling matching URLs (window name StartMainTab goes looking for a file named StartMainTab.htm, etc., after finding the start page, usually index.htm).

              You, then, simply provide the WebHelp as you normally do. (If you're providing merged WebHelp output, you'll need to devise a simple ASCII file with your developers--we call ours formpath.txt--to identify which project folder contains each of the topics matching app windows.)

              Good luck,
              • 4. Re: Pls confirm this list of .net for this project
                catamaran Level 1
                Oh, for Pete's sake! I get it. What threw me was an incorrect assumption.

                We have RoboHelp Office Pro for .NET installed. The software doesn't identify NET anywhere, and its Help file brings up only three minor finds on a Search for "net". A forum user mentioned .NET info being in the RH Help file, so I was looking for an overview topic. Seeing none, I assumed an upgrade installation needed to be done, and that there would be unknown delivery requirements.

                Leon, you're a saint. You've clarified the thing, and it falls into place.Thanks for wading thru the fog.