What is the best process for upgrading from Rh11 to Rh15 to ensure backwards compatibility with our existing projects?
We upgraded from Rh11 to Rh15 for Office 2016 compatibility, but had a number of problems with existing projects. We downgraded back to Rh11 but are encountering other problems.
I can provide more details if needed.
Thanks in advance for any help anyone can provide.
First off, there is no "backwards compatibility in the RoboHelp product. Once a project has been touched by a new version, there is no turning back. Heck, I believe even the point versions behave that way.
One possible way to achieve this in a roundabout way would be to always generate a CHM of any given project. With a CHM file, you are able to easily decompile it and get most of what you need back. I say "most", because you will not get back things like Conditional Build Tags, Snippets and Master Pages.
I appreciate the quick response, but that's not quite what I meant.
A little background and explanation:
I'm with my company's IT helpdesk and don't use RoboHelp myself, so I may not be explaining things correctly. As I said we upgraded to RH15 for Office 2016 compatibility, but the users had a number of complaints including "can't scroll, can't access links, can't access mobile, can't publish, keeps asking us to upgrade our projects over and over" among others.
In addition to that there was one particular project that was giving a specific error when they attempted to open it in RH15: "c:\[File Path Here].htm: The remote sever returned an error: (414) REQUEST URI TOO LONG."
I looked for info on that error in regard to RH but couldn't find anything. It seems to indicate that a specific file path was too long for some reason, but the error was always on a specific .htm file (across several users) and there were other files in the project with considerably longer path names that weren't generating this error.
I tried moving the project to a different directory with a shorter path but still got the error.
Users who had not upgraded to RH15 yet were not getting this error, so I downgraded users back to RH11. After doing this, I was told that they can open the project, makes their updates/changes and save, but when they tried to re-open that project in RH11 they get an error saying it was created in a newer version of RH and is not compatible, despite all the work being done in RH11.
Ideally what I'd like to be able to do is get everyone on RH15 without getting that 414 error or the scrolling/publishing/upgrading issues mentioned above.
Again, I appreciate any assistance.
As for the error, I think your best approach is to tackle that one first.
Where you see RoboHelp complaining about the path being too long, note that this error may be a red herring and something else entirely could be wrong.
My gut is telling me that you should examine the suspect topic properties. Specifically, look at the file name? Is it unusually long? Does it contain spaces? Perhaps accented characters? Personally, I consider any character other than 0-9, a-z, A-Z or an underscore ( _ ) to be a character to be avoided. Just to stay on the safe side.
The filename is 27 characters long and the only thing aside from letters and _ it has is an ampersand (&). We'll try removing that and see what happens, tho this is an existing project and RH11 had no problems with it.
LOL, my old Fiat never had issues with leaded gas either.
Every new version contains the possibility of changes to infrastructure and may cause certain things that worked fine in the older version to break in the new version. See the same with browsers.
I'd be willing to bet replacing that ampersand with an underscore changes things.
Definitely get rid of any special characters such as ampersand or quotes. They may be able to be used in URLS (with encoding) but I've also had them cause problems within Robohelp itself when in filenames, image names and folder names.
One other thing, if changing all the special characters out doesn't fix the specific issue, is the the project in c:\users\<username>, and is that folder actually mapped to a network drive for backup purposes? (it "looks" local but isn't really) If so, perhaps try moving the project directly onto the hard drive (e.g. c:\test\proj ), as sometimes working on a network can cause issues. You may already have done this as you said you tried with a shorter path, but thought I'd restate in case it was still within Users.
The project in question is stored on a network drive, but the users copy it to their local drive when working on it as it is quite large and slow to work with from the network share. Also a number of the users are full time remote, meaning they have to have VPN running to access the share which makes things even worse. When they launch RH from their local copy it asks if they want to check in with the copy on the network share and grabs any new/updated files.
I'm working with one of the users today and my first plan is to use Revo uninstaller in an attempt to remove all traces of all versions of RH, then do what will (hopefully) be a clean install of RH15 and see if that works. If that doesn't work we're going to have to downgrade everyone to Office 2013 and RH11, and then probably roll back the project on the network share to a version from before we started this mess.
When you say "it asks if they want to check in with the copy on the network share", how is that done? Do you have RH linked to a source control application?
They use SharePoint as version control. I don't use RH myself and actually had never heard of it before this upgrade issue fell in my lap, so I'm learning as I go along. I apologize if anything I say is vague or incorrect.
No problem. It's always hard to know how much and what is going to be important. And extra hard when you don't use the software on a daily basis.
I wonder if it's the "phone home" that's causing the long path error? I don't know enough about sharepoint to offer much advice. Can you get a copy of the project and disconnect it from sharepoint, then try opening it again in a short local path? I'm not sure how it all connects up, so not sure if that's possible or not. Hopefully someone with sharepoint experience can jump in.
Here is what we ended up doing to resolve our issues:
1. As Capitv8r and Amebr both suggested I recommended the team only use uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and underscores in file names. It seems to have worked for the ones we tested with.
2. Uninstall the old version with Revo uninstaller.
3. Go through the registry and remove keys with references to the old version. (Revo uninstaller sets a system restore point so this was safe to do)
4. Registry clean with CCleaner and reboot.
5. Install fresh with direct download from Adobe. I suspect something was wrong with the copy we had downloaded to our installs folder.
Thanks to both for your advice and time.
One other thought that occurred to me regarding source control. I'm not sure if it's possible with Sharepoint, but you can investigate.
When you install a new version of RH (even patch versions), the first time you open a project, make sure you manually check out the entire project using the source control application before opening it with RH. This will make sure all behind-the-scenes files are writable, so RH can make any changes it needs.
Theoretically RH should do this itself, but it might be worth trying this manually if users get multiple prompts to update the same project after a new version comes out.
With SharePoint that's a bit of a bother. As you can't mass check out files easily in SharePoint.
You might try: