5 Replies Latest reply on Apr 16, 2008 9:39 AM by RoboColum(n)

    WebHelp output compression

      I maintain a help file that has gotten bigger than the software product for which it is written. I need to find a way to compress the output so it requires less file space to store. I have to use WebHelp rather than HTMLHelp or another output because of problems with Windows compatibility. Does anyone know of a way to work with this?
        • 1. Re: WebHelp output compression
          MergeThis Level 4
          Have the developers reduce the size of the app by removing some of the features.

          About the only size reduction you might be able to achieve would be in the area of graphics (.gif files are the leanest of all). You might also use only portions of a window in your screenshots.

          As to the Webhelp files, sorry, you need all those .htm, .xml, and .js files!

          Good luck,
          • 2. Re: WebHelp output compression
            RoboColum(n) Level 5
            LOL Leon. How about using txt spk?
            Shawn. Leon's advice is spot on and you could also use RH's own built in Resize tool to reduce any image sizes. You can also use it to save as .GIF images.
            • 3. Re: WebHelp output compression
              Pet3689 Level 1
              Actually, I am not sure that GIF is the smallest image size.

              We found that PNG images (256 color, highest compression which is lossless) are generally 50% to 80% smaller than the GIF images.

              You need to be aware of the risks of using PNG images. Mostly, save a back-up of the original images, so that you can revert to them if you do discover a problem with crashes and/or display problems -- we never had any troubles with PNG.

              We use IrfanView for batch conversion to PNG (don't forget to downsample to 256 colors and choose compression = maximum). And we use the RoboHelp multiple-search/replace tool to replace the file name extension in the RoboHelp topics.

              This worked like a charm.

              We also experimented with different graphics software, but for some reason, Irfanview produces the smallest yet most compatible PNG images.

              In Irfanview, there is also the option to use the plug-in PNGOUT, which reduces the PNG file size a lot, but RoboHelp cannot display all of these images. Once day, when we get a chance, we will convert all our images with PNGOUT, and then replace the "broken" ones with their original PNG images.

              Finally: All of the above is valid for screen-shots, plots, etc. but not for photographs. Nothing really beats JPG for that purpose, but experiment with the (lossy) compression. We use 50%, and our photos look just like their originals, but the files are some 10% of their original size.

              Good luck.
              • 4. Re: WebHelp output compression
                Linux Rules Level 2
                More ideas to squeeze out every byte...

                Try to eliminate tables, especially large ones.

                Try to eliminate image maps.

                Try to combine several separate (but "related") topics into one (it will increase scrolling by the user).

                Pare down your Index and Glossary.

                • 5. Re: WebHelp output compression
                  RoboColum(n) Level 5
                  All of these ideas will help achieve your aim but remember that it is a trade off with usability and presentation. Is it a problem if the help is bigger than the application. Maybe you are just super efficient