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HHC3004: Warning: with invalid HTML tags and then CHM file will not open

New Here ,
Jul 21, 2016

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I am using RH HTML in version RH11.

I am getting the following, multiple warning messages when compiling the CHM file and the file will not open.

HHC3004: Warning:

TopicName.htm :

The HTML tag "?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?" is not a valid HTML tag (it does not begin with an alphanumeric character).

Here are the strange things...

I am generating using 3 conditional build tags.  It is successful using any of the tags individually, or any 2 of the tags.  Just not all three.

     Capture2.jpg

I am able to generate with 3 build tags, the first 2 of the 3 above and one other one.

Each time I generate using the same settings (the 3 tags), the warning is applied to different topics.  Some topics that had the warning before, don't in the next iteration.

The CHM generates, but the file is double the size of the successful attempts.  64MB vs 32MB.

     Capture1.jpg

Other info:

Working and generating on a single machine.

This worked fine 6/24/2016 with all the exact same settings, the last time I did a build of my CHM.

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Classic, HTML help

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HHC3004: Warning: with invalid HTML tags and then CHM file will not open

New Here ,
Jul 21, 2016

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I am using RH HTML in version RH11.

I am getting the following, multiple warning messages when compiling the CHM file and the file will not open.

HHC3004: Warning:

TopicName.htm :

The HTML tag "?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?" is not a valid HTML tag (it does not begin with an alphanumeric character).

Here are the strange things...

I am generating using 3 conditional build tags.  It is successful using any of the tags individually, or any 2 of the tags.  Just not all three.

     Capture2.jpg

I am able to generate with 3 build tags, the first 2 of the 3 above and one other one.

Each time I generate using the same settings (the 3 tags), the warning is applied to different topics.  Some topics that had the warning before, don't in the next iteration.

The CHM generates, but the file is double the size of the successful attempts.  64MB vs 32MB.

     Capture1.jpg

Other info:

Working and generating on a single machine.

This worked fine 6/24/2016 with all the exact same settings, the last time I did a build of my CHM.

TOPICS
Classic, HTML help

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Jul 21, 2016 0
Contributor ,
Jul 22, 2016

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I have seen your error but it didn't prevent me from compiling. From years and years ago, my go-to source for all things CHM related is Rob @ Helpware.net. I actually asked him about this error in May 2016. To paraphrase, he wrote that he had seen the error before but it shouldn't impact the ability to compile - his email to me concluded with "It may be annoying but at least you know you can ignore it and won't affect the CHM output."

So, to me, I would probably rule out the actual CHM compiler. That leaves your HTML code.

I realize my tendencies for troubleshooting lean towards going overboard, but I usually have the most success when I isolate the issue. I would create a new page and generate an output with only that page with a copy of your code. I would one at a time see if you can pinpoint precisely what code is tripping up the compiler.

Because the CHM compiler hasn't been updated in years, you have to learn to play by its rules. It may not be able to handle something - usually unintentional - in your HTML code. I believe that because you wrote "Some topics that had the warning before, don't in the next iteration."  The compiler isn't "magic" - there is a reason you are seeing errors and the fact that it appears to be random makes it all the more frustrating!

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Jul 22, 2016 0
New Here ,
Jul 22, 2016

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Thank you for your reply.  I am not sure I understand your troubleshooting advice.  I'm not sure I need to create a new page since I am able to successfully compile with the project, just not with the 3 conditional build tags I want.  How does making a new topic isolate why removing topics with the 3 specific tags causes the problem?  Please explain further, as I am desperate for help.

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Jul 22, 2016 0
New Here ,
Jul 22, 2016

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Very strange.  The issue has suddenly corrected itself.  I played a little with the conditional build tags applied to the very last topic I had touched.  Suddenly, even back with the original tag, it is completing the build and I am able to open it.  Lucky it was a recent topic.  If it had been something else in the last month there would have been no way for me to touch all those topics again.

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Jul 22, 2016 0
New Here ,
Aug 18, 2016

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Okay...the issue is back.  I have only touched 20 topics (plus some TOC work) since my last successful build.

Any 2 of the 3 tags I need, builds.  All 3, fail.  All 3 plus one, builds.  Here is a representation of what is happening.  Highlighted cells show build options.

It makes no sense.

prhmusic2

You mentioned going through the topics one-by-one.  I did create a new project and imported the 20 topics I have touched since last successful build one-by-one and the builds were successful.  But that dummy project did not have the TOC or other linked topics in it.  Nor did I have the full structure of my current project.  What should I be looking for in the html code??

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Aug 18, 2016 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 19, 2016

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Re the second image in your first post, see if Item 6 at Snippets helps.


See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring information

@petergrainge

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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Aug 19, 2016 0
New Here ,
Aug 19, 2016

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Thank you for the reply Peter.  So, nothing has changed since my last successful build.  In fact I hadn't even closed RoboHelp.  Seems like it couldn't be a dll issue.  Thoughts?

I tried renaming the hh.dat and that did not help either.

I'm not sure I completely understand "name of the directory containing the .chm files".  Does that mean the path/folder I am using to define the location of the chm?  Again, nothing has changed there, I don't see any non-English or special characters, and it works fine for other builds, just not the ones excluding the tags I don't need.

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Aug 19, 2016 0
New Here ,
Aug 19, 2016

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So this has become nonsensical.  I have identified the offending topic, and it actually comes down to one image. 

  • When I mark the image with one of the tags that I am NOT including in the build, it fails.  Doesn't matter which of the three tags I use.  Note that there are hyperlink texts on the page also marked with these tags that succeed.
  • When I leave the image unmarked, or mark with a tag that IS included in the build, it succeeds.
  • When I try to delete the image (I don't really need it anymore), it fails!!  I have tried deleting in Design and HTML view.
  • I can move the image around on the page and it is fine, but the minute I delete or tag for removal, it fails.

I don't see anything in the HTML code that would cause a problem, although I am not HTML savvy.

What else can I do?  Is there an Adobe person I can speak to?  I need to be able to create a CHM without this image.  Again, one week ago this all worked fine.  The only change to this topic was to add text/hyperlink.  I did not change anything that had to do with this image or the tags.

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Aug 19, 2016 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 21, 2016

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Does this help? Build Expressions


See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring information

@petergrainge

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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Aug 21, 2016 0
New Here ,
Aug 22, 2016

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No, but thank you.  I did learn a little more about advanced tag references and the 'OR' statement. 

This topic has worked just fine with my tags for over 9 months.  The only thing recently changed in this topic was that I added a text/hyperlink (untagged) elsewhere in the topic.  By trial and error removing and reapplying the tags, it has come down to this one image.  (The exact same tag is excluded just fine when applied to text/hyperlink elsewhere in the topic.)  When this image is tagged or deleted, the build doesn't work (builds, but file doubles in size and can't open).  When I remove the tag from the image, the build works.

It is imperative that I remove this image from all builds going forward.  We have an application release coming up and I have to have my work complete at the end of the week!!

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Aug 22, 2016 0
New Here ,
Aug 22, 2016

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If I copy the topic and mark the offending image with the tag needed (v12_1deleted) it builds just fine.

However, if I then mark the original re-named topic (whole thing, not just content) with one of my excluded tags (REMOVE), it fails again.  I am afraid to delete this topic from my project for fear it won't work.  Plus I now have 40+ topics whose links I have to fix if I keep the copied topic.

Why isn't this working?!?

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Aug 22, 2016 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 22, 2016

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Copy the project so that you have a backup, then delete from one copy.

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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Aug 22, 2016 0
New Here ,
Aug 22, 2016

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Okay.  I'll try that.  Thanks.

Do you have any ideas why this simple image and it's tag are not cooperating?

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Aug 22, 2016 0
New Here ,
Aug 22, 2016

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About to try the copy/delete...but there are actually 100 topics that have links to the bad one.  Is there a way to bulk update those links?  To tell RH to reference the new topics in all cases?

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Aug 22, 2016 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 22, 2016

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No need. You have a copy of the topic that works. After deleting the rogue

topic, rename the copy with the original name.

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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Aug 22, 2016 0
New Here ,
Aug 22, 2016

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Okay.  Maybe I did it out of order.  I did "Duplicate Topic" of XYZ, then renamed the 'bad' one, then renamed my duplicate the original name.  So right now the duplicate topic is not the one being referenced.  All the links are pointing to "XYZ_BAD" topic.

I need to redo this?  Do "Duplicate Topic" of XYZ, then delete the 'bad' one, then rename my duplicate "Copy of XYZ" the original name?

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Aug 22, 2016 0
New Here ,
Aug 22, 2016

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This is really making no sense to me.  Here is what I did:

~Duplicated offending topic (no tag applied to image I need removed), renamed as XYZ_New; verified build works.

~Removed all images in XYZ_New; verified build works.

~Added a new image that I need in XYZ_New; verified build works.

~Deleted original XYZ, renamed XYZ_New to XYZ; build fails!!  (no other tags added or removed in this step)

I don't understand!!

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Aug 22, 2016 0
LEGEND ,
Aug 22, 2016

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"It is imperative that I remove this image from all builds going forward.  We have an application release coming up and I have to have my work complete at the end of the week!!"

Are we possibly overthinking this? Why is the answer not as simple as just deleting the image?

Cheers... Rick

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Aug 22, 2016 0
New Here ,
Aug 22, 2016

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Thank you for your thought. 

I wish I were overthinking it.  As I mentioned in the thread above, when I delete the image the build fails (CHM won't open and is double in size).

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Aug 22, 2016 0
LEGEND ,
Aug 22, 2016

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Well THAT's certainly bizarre.

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Aug 22, 2016 0
LEGEND ,
Aug 22, 2016

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Okay, if it were me, I think I'd give this a try.

Create a totally new project. Import the problem topic into the new project so you have two topics. See if you can compile a CHM file. If the compilation fails, you know for certain that the topic is to blame. At that point, you begin looking at exactly what it is in the topic causing you grief.

Cheers... Rick

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Aug 22, 2016 0
New Here ,
Aug 22, 2016

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Yep...done.  That was one of the first things I tried.  I actually imported all 20 topics I had touched since my last successful build and it worked.  It wasn't until I went through those 20 topics one by one in my original project, removing tags and reinstating them, that I found the offending image.

Do you know if there are any other resources at my disposal besides this forum?  Are there people that can look at my project with me and figure it out?

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Aug 22, 2016 0
LEGEND ,
Aug 22, 2016

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Sure, I'd be happy to take a look at it. I know Peter Grainge has also frequently offered the same thing. Often, however, we are hit with the "oh, I'm under NDA and nobody can look at it but me". So we tend to avoid having to ask for folks to share their project.

One way to get it to others is to zip it and upload to something like http://www.WeTransfer.com. You would use the recipient's email address. Mine is rickstone1975 (at) gmail (dot) com.

Then I (or whoever you choose to send it to) can download it, unzip it and look at it from our end.

Cheers... Rick

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Aug 22, 2016 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 24, 2016

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Have you now resolved this? Rick and I are both willing to take a look but there's no way we can figure this out without seeing the problem.


See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring information

@petergrainge

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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Aug 24, 2016 0
New Here ,
Aug 25, 2016

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Thank you for inquiring Peter.  No, my issue is not resolved.  After burning 4 full days on troubleshooting, I finally just reduced the image size to a speck on the screen.  I plan to revisit it after my deadline has passed.  Thank you for reaching out.  I will be sure to have you or Rick take a look (if management approves lack of NDA, which I think they will).

Thanks!

Jonell

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Aug 25, 2016 0
New Here ,
Nov 28, 2018

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I have been scratching my head on this HHC3004 error for years.  It popped up on some topics I recently updated, so I finally sifted through every line of code in one of them to try to determine the culprit.  For a little background, I use variables (UDVs) quite extensively in my projects.

HHC3004: Warning:

FILENAME.htm :

The HTML tag "?rh-udv_end ?" is not a valid HTML tag (it does not begin with an alphanumeric character).

I discovered that I had duplicate <?rh-udv_end ?> tags in the HTML source, both in snippets used and in the main body of the topic itself.

I did a find on <?rh-udv_end ?><?rh-udv_end ?> and replaced it with <?rh-udv_end ?> and that fixed the immediate problems in this particular project.

I know I've seen this HHC3004 error unrelated to UDVs, so if/when I determine other causes/fixes, I'll post again.

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Nov 28, 2018 0
New Here ,
Nov 28, 2018

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So, I found more HHC3004 errors on a specific snippet in another RH project.  If you don't want to read my research and just want to see the fix, RH basically was adding the snippet as a baggage file when pulling it into the project from the Resource Manager.  Skip to the bottom of this post for details.

The errors below were popping up in a single snippet file that contained only a heading and two paragraphs (no images).  This particular snippet didn't contain much content at all, but what a bunch of errors it caused.  Only one instance of each error is listed below, but this snippet logged 99 (yeah, crazy) 3004 errors in the compile log (as a result, compile time was severely increased).

Basically, RH didn't like this snippet for whatever reason.  I sifted through the HTML code, and found nothing.  I tried duplicating the snippet and removing the original, but the errors continued in the new snippet.  I tried deleting and re-importing the snippet, but the errors returned.  I tried creating a new snippet and copying/pasting the content from the old one into the new one (this has worked for me before on some 3004 errors in snippets), but the errors returned -- this time in both snippets.

HHC3004: Warning:

SNIPPETNAME.hts :

The HTML tag "?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?" is not a valid HTML tag (it does not begin with an alphanumeric character).

HHC3004: Warning:

SNIPPETNAME.hts :

The HTML tag "?rh-udv_end ?" is not a valid HTML tag (it does not begin with an alphanumeric character).

HHC3004: Warning:

SNIPPETNAME.hts :

The HTML tag "?rh-udv_start name="VARIABLENAME" ?" is not a valid HTML tag (it does not begin with an alphanumeric character).

HHC3004: Warning:

SNIPPETNAME.hts :

The HTML tag "?rh-cbt_start condition="BUILDTAGNAME" ?" is not a valid HTML tag (it does not begin with an alphanumeric character).

HHC3004: Warning:

SNIPPETNAME.hts :

The HTML tag "?rh-cbt_end ?" is not a valid HTML tag (it does not begin with an alphanumeric character).

I even deleted all of the content within the snippet, but the "utf-8" compile error continued -- even with a completely blank snippet.

HHC3004: Warning:

SNIPPETNAME.hts :

The HTML tag "?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?" is not a valid HTML tag (it does not begin with an alphanumeric character).

Finally, I converted the content in the snippet to HTML and deleted the snippet from the project entirely.  The compile errors went away.

I then copied the HTML content and pasted it into a new snippet with a completely different file name, and the 99 compile errors returned.  What in the world...

I pulled the snippet into a completely separate (and much smaller) project from the Resource Manager, and I noticed that the snippet file was also added as a baggage file.  That was weird, because I had never seen RH do that when pulling in a snippet from the RM (and I do this a lot).  I removed the baggage file from the project, and RH crashed.  When I reopened the project, the snippet was not listed as baggage file as expected, but the snippet was no longer linked to the Resource Manager either.  I pulled the file back into the project from the RM to re-establish the link, and the snippet was not added as a baggage file this time (as expected).

I went back to the original project and, sure enough, there was a baggage file for that snippet.  I went through the process above again (RH crashed again when I deleted the baggage file from the original project), and the original project now compiles without error.

As I find more 3004 errors and workarounds, I'll post them here.

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Nov 28, 2018 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 29, 2018

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@ereddings Perhaps Rick can confirm but i believe the cause of the issues you are reporting was tracked and found to be something harmless that has to be lived with. The CHM compiler was last updated by Microsoft in 2004. Since then Adobe have found ways to introduce features such as snippets that will work in a CHM. However, whilst the compiler handles these new features, it then falsely reports errors.

The only options are to not use these features, which seems silly as they work just fine, or get Microsoft to update the compiler. Good luck with that one as they have long since abandoned it.


See www.grainge.org for free RoboHelp and Authoring information.

@petergrainge

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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Nov 29, 2018 1
New Here ,
Nov 30, 2018

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Thanks Peter.  The biggest issue with it is that it prolongs compile time.  If hundreds of these errors are logging, it takes a while to compile.  Figuring out what causes it saves me a lot of compile time, so I'll keep doing it. 

Thanks again!

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Nov 30, 2018 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 30, 2018

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Sure. My intention was simply to say the messages shouldn't affect the file generated, the time is another matter.


See www.grainge.org for free RoboHelp and Authoring information.

@petergrainge

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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Nov 30, 2018 0