8 Replies Latest reply on Mar 29, 2012 12:40 AM by Peter Grainge

    Why did my index.htm file generate blank? and other weirdness.


      Here's the story. Maybe someone can tell me where I made my mistake, or what happened. I'm numbering the steps for convenience in discussing this.


      1) I started a new project, a WebHelp project.

      2) I imported content in Word.

      3) I created an index, glossary, and TOC. I used wizards for some of this.

      4) I created a style sheet and applied it to all the topics.

      5) I added a skin from the gallery.

      6) I generated output.


      Then I sent that output to the UI developer on my project. He plugged it in to the web app, and it seemed to work fine. So then:


      7) I opened the project, edited the text, and removed glossary links (because I didn't like how they were working) individually.

      8) I generated a new TOC to match the changed topic structure (minor changes).

      9) I generated another output.


      I sent that output to the UI developer and he said it was blank. I opened index.htm and sure enough, it was indeed blank. In fact, it was Zero KB. I also noticed that four other files were blank: whfform.htm, whform.js, whskin_plist.htm, and whtbar.js.


      So then I decided to start over. I created a new project, imported just the html topic files from the old project, redid the index (in a  hasty and less thorough manner), decided to bail on the glossary for now, did a TOC and sent that to the developer.


      Now the Search pane is totally wonky, showing a list of characters and terms.


      So I am getting frustrated. The developer has tried monkeying around with stuff on his end, but it's not working. So he says, why don't you send me a build with everything?


      The problem is, I have two broken builds. The first one, which for whatever reason has the blank index.htm file (and other blank files), and the second one, which has no glossary, a messy index, and a screwed up search.


      I can't seem to find anyone else having this problem. :-/  Can someone help? 


      Thanks so much,

        • 1. Re: Why did my index.htm file generate blank? and other weirdness.
          Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Welcome to our community


          Unfortunately we don't have quite enough info to help.


          You might take a look at the link below.


          Click here to view


          Then post back with more information such as RoboFlavor, version and the like.



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          • 2. Re: Why did my index.htm file generate blank? and other weirdness.
            Tamarleigh Level 1



            Ok. I'm using RoboHelp, RoboHelp HTML


            What other info would be helpful? I am happy to give as much detail as anyone is interested to read. :-)

            • 3. Re: Why did my index.htm file generate blank? and other weirdness.
              RoboColum(n) Level 5

              Could you post an image of what you are seeing. You can use the camera icon on the forum toolbar. Also you're outputting WebHelp right? If so, does the problem occur with the generated output (i.e. if you click "View Reults" after you generate). If not, maybe the developer does not have all the output files they require.

              • 4. Re: Why did my index.htm file generate blank? and other weirdness.
                johndaigle Level 4

                Hi, Tamarleigh.

                From your version number, the first thing to do is to install a critical update to RoboHelp 9.0.2. You will find that here:


                It may not be the problem, but we can at least eliminate that as being an issue.


                Where I lose you in your explanation, is on Step #7 in your post. I'm not understanding exactly which files you are referring to. Source files?  Output files? When you make your glossary changes, you should be regenerating your entire project and resending the entire WebHelp folder to the developer who should then replace the entire folder, not just certain files you have edited. Also, when you generate your WebHelp, can we assume you are able to "View Results" locally in your web browser as expected?

                It may be something that your developer needs to take a look at. Here's the deal. The index.htm file typically has no visible content (topic) because it is actually a Frameset file which helps display your WebHelp. So, it may look blank, it actually has a lot of code and javascript that instructs the web browser how to display the WebHelp. The index.htm file is often confused with the "Default topic". The default topic is the topic you want to appear in the topic pane when the WebHelp frameset is first displayed.


                My guess is that the developer is somehow displaying the index.htm, but because of the way it was placed on the server in relation to the web application files, it cannot find the rest of the WebHelp files which make up the full frameset.

                Of course, this is only a guess. Fill us in a little more and we'll try to help.


                John Daigle

                Adobe Certified RoboHelp and Captivate Instructor

                Evergreen, Colorado


                • 5. Re: Why did my index.htm file generate blank? and other weirdness.
                  Tamarleigh Level 1

                  I can't take a screen shot right now, because I'm at a different computer, but I am not sure a screen shot would help. Literally, when I open (or when the developer opens--either way) the index.htm file, the whole page is blank, and indeed when I look at the file itself, it is completely blank and zero KB. So I could get a screen shot of the blank browser window, but I'm not sure if that is really what would help. The problem definitely seems to be with the generated output: all the files are there, but some of them are empty files with no content.


                  With respect to the question from John, I made changes to topics within RH, regenerated the entire project, and resent the entire WebHelp folder to dev. My local results had a blank index.htm after that generation of output build.


                  I do understand the difference between index.htm and the default topic. But the reason I think the file was blank the 2nd time is that not only was it devoid of content, it also was zero KB whereas the original build was neither blank nor zero KB.


                  All the other htm files look ok, have content, and do display when clicked.


                  Thanks so much for thinking about this with me, both of you!!




                  P.S. I will, of course, install the critical update! and I will report back...

                  • 6. Re: Why did my index.htm file generate blank? and other weirdness.
                    RoboColum(n) Level 5

                    In your WebHelp single source layout the General options has the "Output Folder and Start Page" field. This specifies the location and file that should be used to launch the help. As John describes the file specified is just a frame for the help that includes the content, TOC, toolbar, etc. The default topic is specified in the Content Category section of your single source layout. This is the topic that is displayed in the content section of your frame.  So the question is, what file is being used to launch the help? It should be the file specified in the "Output Folder and Start Page" field.   One other thing that is not clear to me is what is happening to the TOC, Index and Glossary. Are they being displayed but with no content? Or is it that you are seeing just a single blank frame. This is why we need to see an image. I really can give us a lot of info to help you get to the route of the issue. It sounds like John is correct in his hunch that the wrong file is being launched or that not all the output is being sent to the developer.

                    • 7. Re: Why did my index.htm file generate blank? and other weirdness.
                      jmwarren2012 Level 1

                      I am having the exact same problem, and I think I've figured out what is happening here. There is an issue when mapping Word styles into RH. The person who setup our Word template included a sidehead with conditional text to hide instructor notes when printing participant training manuals. I removed the conditional text, and everything is working fine. You may want to double check to make sure you don't have conditional text in your Word docs. I've uploaded an image with the code below to show how the conditional text looked when the document was linked and generated.


                      Check out the code below:


                      <table cellspacing="0">


                                          <td style="vertical-align: top; padding-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px;

                                                     padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px;" height="800" width="114"><table

                                                     cellspacing="0" width="100%">


                                                              <td style="padding-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px;

                                                                         padding-bottom: 0px;"><div v:shape="Text_x0020_Box_x0020_146"

                                                                                                                                               class="shape" style="padding: 3.6pt 7.2pt 3.6pt 7.2pt;">

                                                                        <p class="WD_InstructorNotesHeading"><span style="background: #ffff00;">Instructor


                                                                        <p class="WD_InstructorNotesText"><span style="background: #ffff00;">Add

                                                                         any additional instructor information into this text

                                                                         box.&#160;&#160;It will only appear when hidden text

                                                                         is turned on.</span></p>

                                                                        <p class="WD_InstructorNotesText">&#160;</p>








                      weird table when doc updates.jpg


                      • 8. Re: Why did my index.htm file generate blank? and other weirdness.
                        Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional

                        As well as hidden text being a problem, unaccepted changes will also give grief.


                        Good spot jmwarren.


                        See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips