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Combining Help Files

Community Beginner ,
Dec 05, 2016

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Hi,

I've read through Peter's merged help information and I understand it but I have a few more questions and possibly a request.

Background: I have eight help systems, two for each engineering discipline (config and user). The discipline files have a custom CSS but the only difference is different heading graphics and one other graphic. I could and probably should put all of that in a single CSS but and I can do that. Some information needs to be available to other disciplines such as mechanical symbols need to be available to Instrumentation and Electrical.

Here are my questions.

  1. Is it possible to use an include to programmatically add a help system by linking to the index file?
  2. If not an include, maybe a javascript? I couldn't write one but I might be able to find one and modify it. Feel free to point me in a direction.
  3. Has anyone found something other than merged files?

I don't have anyone here I can bounce thoughts and ideas off of because I'm the only one with RH experience. I haven't done merged help systems in forever and I really need to talk it through.

Ginger Shew-Stuckey

Peter Grainge

As you are talking about a "server side include" I'm assuming you are referring to manipulating output files? So in a few of your projects (but not all) you are wanting to include some common information related to symbols?

If that's the case, one way to do it would certainly involve creating a merged setup where the affected projects would include the symbols project. Then at runtime, the symbols would be included. My thought is that trying to get something like a server side include is overkill and even if you made it work somehow, you would still struggle with the RoboHelp scripting involved.

You might see some benefit to using the Resource Manager for this. With the Resource Manager, you are able to include "common" topics that are included in the RoboHelp project. The beauty of Resource Manager is that when something changes in the common location, RoboHelp then alerts you to that fact and provides you the option of updating the existing project so it contains the current information. Although, I suppose the down side of this is that you must re-generate the output in order to see the information in the outpupt.

Cheers... Rick

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Combining Help Files

Community Beginner ,
Dec 05, 2016

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Hi,

I've read through Peter's merged help information and I understand it but I have a few more questions and possibly a request.

Background: I have eight help systems, two for each engineering discipline (config and user). The discipline files have a custom CSS but the only difference is different heading graphics and one other graphic. I could and probably should put all of that in a single CSS but and I can do that. Some information needs to be available to other disciplines such as mechanical symbols need to be available to Instrumentation and Electrical.

Here are my questions.

  1. Is it possible to use an include to programmatically add a help system by linking to the index file?
  2. If not an include, maybe a javascript? I couldn't write one but I might be able to find one and modify it. Feel free to point me in a direction.
  3. Has anyone found something other than merged files?

I don't have anyone here I can bounce thoughts and ideas off of because I'm the only one with RH experience. I haven't done merged help systems in forever and I really need to talk it through.

Ginger Shew-Stuckey

Peter Grainge

As you are talking about a "server side include" I'm assuming you are referring to manipulating output files? So in a few of your projects (but not all) you are wanting to include some common information related to symbols?

If that's the case, one way to do it would certainly involve creating a merged setup where the affected projects would include the symbols project. Then at runtime, the symbols would be included. My thought is that trying to get something like a server side include is overkill and even if you made it work somehow, you would still struggle with the RoboHelp scripting involved.

You might see some benefit to using the Resource Manager for this. With the Resource Manager, you are able to include "common" topics that are included in the RoboHelp project. The beauty of Resource Manager is that when something changes in the common location, RoboHelp then alerts you to that fact and provides you the option of updating the existing project so it contains the current information. Although, I suppose the down side of this is that you must re-generate the output in order to see the information in the outpupt.

Cheers... Rick

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Dec 05, 2016 0
LEGEND ,
Dec 05, 2016

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Hi Ginger

  1. Is it possible to use an include to programmatically add a help system by linking to the index file?

I think we need more information here. Are you talking about having some tool similar to RoboHelp that would somehow scan the contents of an application and build a help file programmatically?

  1. Has anyone found something other than merged files?

Now it really gets interesting. At this point it seems you are actually wanting a merged help set. But yet not. You seem to be asking if anyone has found a way to get something like a merged help set without actually merging? And what's even more confusing is the title of the thread. Merging is taking two or more output file sets or files and presenting them to the user as if they were a single file set. Combining is a totally different story. With combining, you import one project into another where the net result is a larger RoboHelp project.

Cheers... Rick

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Dec 05, 2016 2
Community Beginner ,
Dec 06, 2016

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Rick,

Thanks for answering. Please forgive the confusion, I always know what I mean.

Actually, I was looking at the XPJ file and the .hhc file and started thinking about adding something like a server-side include in one of the files to add a symbols help file for example since that file is relevant to three of the four engineering disciplines. There are several chunks of information relevant to some disciplines but not others. I was thinking it might be easier than trying to create the folder structure in Peter's excellent instructions because each discipline has a config and a user (general population) system for a total of eight help systems. (As I'm typing and thinking, I'm beginning to see how I could set up the folder structure for merged help but I want to continue on the original thought.) I was hopeful that I could create the eight help systems with the relevant information that applies to each discipline then include the individual help systems-like symbols-that cross disciplines without regard to folder structure.

I used combining in the title to avoid confusion with merged files which created more confusion. Sorry.

Let me know if I need to explain further.

Ginger

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Dec 06, 2016 0
Community Beginner ,
Dec 06, 2016

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Communication is difficult until we agree on a common vocabulary.

Are you asking if it is possible in RoboHelp to use one project (your .xpj file) that contains a number of topics to create 8 different WebHelp outputs each with their own Table of Contents (.hhc file) which may include some but not all of the topics?

If so, this is exactly what RH does, and does very well. This way you only have to maintain common topics in one project, not several projects. You can even mix it up and use some TOCs to create print outputs or other types of help systems. You assign the .css by output so it is quite possible to give each output its own .css.

You can also use conditional build tags to exclude information within a particular topic if you want part of a topic, but not all of it.

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Dec 06, 2016 2
LEGEND ,
Dec 06, 2016

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As you are talking about a "server side include" I'm assuming you are referring to manipulating output files? So in a few of your projects (but not all) you are wanting to include some common information related to symbols?

If that's the case, one way to do it would certainly involve creating a merged setup where the affected projects would include the symbols project. Then at runtime, the symbols would be included. My thought is that trying to get something like a server side include is overkill and even if you made it work somehow, you would still struggle with the RoboHelp scripting involved.

You might see some benefit to using the Resource Manager for this. With the Resource Manager, you are able to include "common" topics that are included in the RoboHelp project. The beauty of Resource Manager is that when something changes in the common location, RoboHelp then alerts you to that fact and provides you the option of updating the existing project so it contains the current information. Although, I suppose the down side of this is that you must re-generate the output in order to see the information in the outpupt.

Cheers... Rick

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Dec 06, 2016 2
Ginger_S LATEST
Community Beginner ,
Dec 06, 2016

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I wish I could mark multiple answers as correct.

I figured an include or something similar would be too buggy. I'll just have to keep a spreadsheet of what goes where but I would have to do that any way.

Thank you all for your help.

Ginger

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Dec 06, 2016 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 05, 2016

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Unable to reply at the moment. Can someone else respond please?

www.grainge.org for free RoboHelp & Authoring info. Use the blue Reply button at the top to help me help you.
The black Reply link nests replies and they sort out of order.

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