Issue with Reverse-Engineered Robohelp File

New Here ,
Jan 12, 2021 Jan 12, 2021

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Hi,

Our team recently re-created a RoboHelp project using reverse engineering. We imported the output files into a new project, generated and shared the WebHelp for release. For that release, our team didn't have much time to rebuild the Help. What I mean to say is with very limited time, we could only do the following:

1. Applied master pages to few of the topics, the rest of the topics didn't have any master pages selected. Although, this was not required because we were importing the output files that already had the defined master page for each topic with breadcrumb, feedback and print features, as well as the relevant style. The appearance of each topic remained intact.

2.Nonetheless, we recreated the master pages to the extent that was possible so that we could apply back to the topics when we had the time. Initially, the master pages only had placeholder text and the relevant styles applied. We still needed to add back the breadcrumb placeholder, print and feedback buttons.

3. In the topics that we imported, there were red square boxes . The red square boxes were the print and feedback buttons on each topic as well as the breadcrumbs. We didnt remove them (although it was mentioned in the article on reverse engineering that these scripts need to be removed)due to the time constraint as well as the items referred to in point 2 were still pending to be created. We were able to generate without any problem.

 Post that release, we have been able to reapply the master pages. This time, the master pages  had not only the styles applied on the placeholder text, but also the breadcrumb placeholder, print, and feedback buttons.

We also removed the red square boxes from all the topics, so that we wouldn't  get duplicate print and feedback buttons appearing in the same topic. We did a small check with few of the topics to see if this approach was good before going ahead and doing it for all the topics. The WebHelp output came out fine.

However, now at the end of this big task, I have encountered some issue. My other team mates are not facing these issues. Whenever, I generate this version of the file, I get inconsistent results:

1. There are no errors mentioned in the output view. Template is applied. But when I view the WebHelp, I see formatting removed from all the topics, as if no master pages have been applied to them. Images are missing. Icons are missing.

2. I see line after line of errors mentioned in the output view. All the errors begin with "template error:cannot resolve macro" and ending with whtopic.js, indexBtntext, book, page, remotepage, to name a few. When this happens, the outcome is as mentioned in previous point. However, after reinstalling the software today, I still saw these errors in the output view, but when I viewed the WebHelp, there were no formatting issue. All images and icons appeared fine.

I would also add that I was able to generate this version of the file properly twice before reinstalling the software, but there have been several misses. Others are not facing any template error issue.

I even tried generating the version that was sent out in the earlier release, thinking that maybe this has to do with the master pages getting reapplied and clashing with the imported topics, pulled in when building the Help. Here too, I faced the same issue. Sometimes, the file gets generated properly. Sometimes, it doesnt.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 12, 2021 Jan 12, 2021

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Hmm, so you didn't follow Rick's instructions outlined here - https://www.grainge.org/pages/authoring/reverse_engineering/RecoverFromOutput.pdf - to clean out all the output cruft in the project & you still were able to generate WebHelp? I'm surprised it worked. What version of RH are you doing this all in? And you say that you have an issue, but others don't? What do you mean by that? You get errors when looking at the WebHelp output & they don't? 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 12, 2021 Jan 12, 2021

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I would also add that I was able to generate this version of the file properly twice before reinstalling the software.

 

Did you apply the updates and are you all on the same version?

 

Which version of RoboHelp?

________________________________________________________
See www.grainge.org for free Authoring and RoboHelp Information

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New Here ,
Jan 12, 2021 Jan 12, 2021

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All of us are using RoboHelp Classic 2019, version 14.0.14.002.

Yes, we were able to generate the WebHelp with all the red square boxes still intact in all of the topics. Since, we didn't have the time to clean up as well as create and apply master pages properly. But now we have removed them and reapplied the master pages with styles applied on placeholder text; breadcrumbs, print and feedback buttons defined.  

Yes, I am the only one who is facing all these issues at this moment and the others don't. The issues are the different output results I am receiving as mentioned in my post.

Only one other writer experienced the "template error macro cannot be resolved issue" in one instance of  file generation. She hasn't encountered this issue after that. 

Also, now I see a separate robohelp project folder getting automatically created when i try to generate the robohelp project  I am using at that moment. For instance, if I am generating Robohelp project folder_12th Jan, I see a RoboHelp project folder_11th Jan appearing. In this 11th Jan folder, there is only the Language sub folder and no other sub folders or any other files. But the WebHelp output appears fine.

I am at a lost as to what could be causing so much havoc. I have also checked for system updates, whether that may be disrupting the software from working properly. All of us have system updates recently installed but only I am facing these issues, and that too, most of the time. 

As I had mentioned in another post, system updates may cause Robohelp to generate 0 kb topics within folders. This usually get resolved as the system gets updated over time. This is also happening with all of us at present. But I am most worried about the formatting disappearing and template error messages appearing in the output view.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 13, 2021 Jan 13, 2021

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  1. You haven't confirmed whether source control is involved. If it is, then I suggest you trash your local copy and take a full copy afresh after one of the other authors has done a full check in.
  2. You mention a project folder with just a language folder. Are the others seeing this? If not then that too points to you not having exactly the same files.
  3. The 0kb issue. I remember that and would like to look at how that ended up. Please add a link.
  4. Whose instructions did you follow to rebuild the project?
  5. It looks like you may have skipped some instructions. I am not saying that is the problem as your colleagues are working OK. Nonetheless if the instructions weren't followed, who knows whether or not that is relevant.
  6. Can IT loan you another machine with just RoboHelp and basics on it to see if you have the same problems there? Maybe first give you an additional User Profile to see if that helps. Don't let them trash the old one yet as you will lose all sorts of program preferences. It's just a test of whether your profile is corrupt and behind the issue. IT will follow the logic of that.

________________________________________________________
See www.grainge.org for free Authoring and RoboHelp Information

Please 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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New Here ,
Jan 13, 2021 Jan 13, 2021

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1. No, we dont follow source control mechanism. We simply keep a backup of our files in OneDrive.

2. The others are not seeing any extra folder appearing automatically outside of the project they are generating. They are actually generating my version on their laptops. This is how we are checking everyday. So basically, all 3 us are getting different outcomes; the other 2 are not facing any of the issue that I am experiencing. However, like I mentioned, despite seeing this extra folder out of the project I am generating and also seeing template error in the output view, the WebHelp appears fine. No issues with formatting, template, links and icons.

Also, one of the writers told me that she used to see this additional folder appearing for the other RoboHelp projects in the past. But the problem doesnt occur anymore. It got resolved on its own - must be some system issue.

3. Post the last update made to the forum, the 0 kb issue got resolved for me as well. I didnt have to create another profile, as mentioned by Peter. It resolved on its own. But the issue has resurfaced for all of us again after months of peace. Pasting link to the post for reference: https://community.adobe.com/t5/robohelp/webhelps-generated-on-laptops-using-robohelp-2017/m-p/115886...

4 & 5 Referred to the RecoverFromOutput.pdf. Although, like i said previously, due to time constraint, our team really couldnt do all that was mentioned and also I am kind of at a loss as to what needed to be removed. Whatever I understood and came out correctly through trial and error, our team proceeded to do, at that point of time, to the best of our abilities. We had to deliver the Webhelp for a release. At present, we have removed all the red square boxes and applied the master pages. So my question is what we would have experienced in those months while rebuilding the RoboHelp file, are we encountering them now? 

6. I am afraid this is difficult. It is not within the scope of the software installation team. I tried asking if there was another team who could look at this issue related to software behaviour caused by system updates. Except for RoboHelp issue, my laptop works fine. Hence, I am not sure whether I can raise a system issue complaint.

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 13, 2021 Jan 13, 2021

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OK source control is out of the picture and you are all working with the same version.

 

I looked at the other thread and see that concluded with "Eventually, due to some backend system updates (all of us think this is the reason) 2 writers in our team have been able to generate the WebHelp with no empty or 0kb files".

 

That seems to be the same situation here. Everyone is OK but you. There's a theme here. I suggested then that IT create a new profile. Did you try that?

 

You didn't follow all the carefully set out instructions and whilst I understand your reasons, that can't be ruled out. However, I am also thinking that if it were that, all of you would face the same issues.

 

I am not clear on your point 6.

 I am afraid this is difficult. It is not within the scope of the software installation team. I tried asking if there was another team who could look at this issue related to software behaviour caused by system updates. Except for RoboHelp issue, my laptop works fine. Hence, I am not sure whether I can raise a system issue complaint.

 

You mean your internal installation team, correct? They are the very people who should be able to create a new profile. I have seen a machine that worked fine except for RoboHelp and that was because of profile corrruption, hence me having suggested it twice now.

 

  1. Everything is pointing to an issue with your machine. I can't be 100% sure as you are working with a suspect project that was recovered without following all the steps set out. I understand why but it doesn't alter the fact.
  2. I am happy to generate an output if you share the project. Problem is I am likely to find the same as your colleagues and we will be no further forward.
  3. Against that is the 0kb issue has come back. Try getting all three of you to generate one of the supplied sample projects and see if you get the problem there.
  4. Also can you copy the project onto a thumb drive and install it on a home machine away from the network?
  5. I think you were all working on the project locally and generating to a local folder. If not try that.

________________________________________________________
See www.grainge.org for free Authoring and RoboHelp Information

 

 

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New Here ,
Jan 15, 2021 Jan 15, 2021

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Thanks Peter for your guidance! 

But now that our team has the time, we are doing the left over work. Master pages have been applied. Customisation on the master pages, as in, insertion of the feedback and print functionality has been done. Remaining red square boxes (for the print and feedback functions) have been removed.

Now, we will move on to removing the other script references on the pages. I have questions here. In the Recover From Output pdf, you have mentioned that all <script> and </script> tags need to be removed from the head region. I find some of these in the body too. Can I remove them?

Also, in the screenshot provided in the pdf, I find similar instances that you have referred with slight variation, but all of them are in the head area. However, there are instances (in italic) wherein I dont know if I am suppose to remove them too, e.g.,<?rh-script_start ?><script type="text/javascript" language="JavaScript1.2">//....<?rh-script_end ?>

Do I delete such an instance wherever they occur?

Hopefully, by doing this, the file will be all cleaned up and there will be no issue. Will the recovered file then work like a normal RoboHelp file if one was to create from scratch?

I will have to connect with the IT team. It works differently here..I may have to raise a different kind of ticket that may not have any reference to the software issue. It may or may not fix the RoboHelp issue - which will again be worked on by a different team if the software issue is not fixed.  I will keep you posted. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 15, 2021 Jan 15, 2021

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  1. Recover From Output pdf was not written by me. It was a topic on a site belonging Rick Stone, aka RoboWizard and Captv8or that is no longer available. He kindly gave me permission to reproduce it.
  2. Script tags in the body. That depends on whether they were added by RoboHelp or yourselves to provide functionality. If not sure, duplicate a topic and remove it in one copy. Then generate an output and test it.
  3. Deleting empty script tags. They are doing no good so remove them.
  4. Will the recovered file then work like a normal RoboHelp file if one was to create from scratch? In theory yes but there's no way of knowing what got corrupted along the way.

 

Whatever you do you must keep making backups at frequent intervals so that if any stage goes wrong, you can backtrack. 

 

I always recommend creating the backup as a zip file. Prefix the zip file with YYMMDD so the files sort if date order. Also add some numbering so that it is something like YYMMDD_01 to keep backup on the same day in order.

 

Don't forget that your machine is giving different results compared with your colleagues and that is a key issue. You don't want to be in the position of fixing it on your machine and messing it up for them. 

________________________________________________________
See www.grainge.org for free Authoring and RoboHelp Information

Please 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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