OK - some backstory first. To create our context sensitive help, we do as we should - create map IDs and link to topics in RH (11 and 2015 - we are transitioning).
For WebHelp, we worked with our dev teams to come up with a fairly easy strategy to make it work - we copy the entire contents of the .ali file to another file saved with the xml extension (Help.xml), attach that as a baggage file to the project, and publish it to the root of the projects on our websites. The dev team worked their magic on their side to call that file anytime a client clicks on Help or presses F1, so that the Help opens and displays the correct topic. It works, as long as we content developers remember to update (recopy) the contents of the ali file to the static xml file (never changes name, so it can be found on the server) to pick up additions and edits to the map IDs --> ali file contents.
So - now the dev team wants to add VIDEO buttons to application windows that will open a Help topic that contains a Demo video for the functionality on a given form. We have the map ID part down, and the topics open fine. So NOW, let's add another layer. Now they want to add a way to identify when the video has been updated - they want to change the button (a different color, I think) when the video has been updated. They suggested something like a new tag on the page, so they want the ali / xml file to contain a line item like this:
<alias name="UB_AccountManagerForm" link="Sandbox\Videos\Sample_Topic_with_Embedded_Video.htm" date=”2016-12-15”></alias>
As far as I can tell, there is no way to control the output to the ali file, right? This new date entry would have to be manually added to the xml file before we publish?
Long back story, but I have a feeling that the answer will be easy --> No, you cannot control the output of the ali file.
I like the solution you have chosen with an additonal XML file. Unfortunately, there is no way to control the output of the .ALI file.
The best way would probably be to create some kind of automation (since your developers want it, they may be able to create something) that adds the date for new entries. That way you won't be copying your .ali, but adding new ID's to the XML file with the added date attribute.
Thanks WIlliam - I already told my dev guys essentially this, was just hoping I was wrong! They don't want to have to manually edit that file (nor do I) and so if there is any solution it will have to be something automated on their end. Thanks! Back to the grind...