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New User of Robo Help (RH). Trying to convert .hlp files from RH version 10 to RH2020

Community Beginner ,
Oct 07, 2020

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Hi All I'm a new user to RH 


I have .hlp files that MicroSoft no longer support in Windows 10 and Server2012 R2.

 

I've been in contact with Adobe online help etc but being new to this process I'm dumb as a bag of hammers as my engineering friends would say.

I need to convert several said files to a format that is compatiable with Windows 10 and Server2012 R2, firstly as stand alone files opened by a user and searched on for help topics.
Once this is achieved then the application they belong too will hopefully have a code change so the new format of file opens directly to the help files from the application. as it did with the .hlp files

I have been advised to do the following by Adobe help online to convert the old files.

I have been able to.

  1. Open the files in RH 2019 Classic, save them as a project, 
  2. Open in RH 2019 and upgrade the RH Classic file
  3. Open RH 2020 and Publish to  I thought Responsive HTML5.

I have published a smaller sized file but it has chapters removed on the conversion.

 

a. My first file and several attempts generating the output to Responsive HTML5 was an over night test and trial that leaves the small popup window lower right with a moving bar and nothing happening, noting that this .hlp file is large, ( I had previously used an other application to convert the .hlp to a .pdf and the .pdf was 715 pages and not good because the links within the file are missing and renders the .hlp file useless.

 

b.My second attempt smaller file with some 42 htm file types  - kind of worked but it only outputted 3 of these files and didn't do the remainder.

Comparing the original  .hlp file in a Server2008R2  VMware and looking at the files converted it has left a lot out.

 

c.  I was able to convert the same file to Microsoft HTML Help with the same problem above  at para b it had also not converted all files.

d.  Next I went back to the first file at step a. ( noting that the file is large) to attempt to convert it to Microsoft HTML Help, with a view of replacing the same converted file in my VMware to see the application opens it up as it does for a .hlp file.

 

e.The conversion started off well and looked promising with the pop up lower right notification bar moving fine and the file names changing, it has got to the 'indexing reference' and it appears to be stuck.  the small 'i' button does nothing. I've looked for logs to see if I can find any errors, hangs in the process but nothing.

Questions are:

a. How do I ensure all files are converted when I output to either a HTHL5 or Microsoft HTML help

b.How do I fault find to try and fix any errors

c. Does the Microsoft HTML Help file functions in the same  as the original .hlp file does when opened up via an application or will a re code of the application be needed

d. Do the Microsoft HTML Help and the HTHL5 outputs need to have access to the internet? (sometimes the application that uses the help files is standalone and does not get exposed to the internet.

e. How long should I expect it to generate an output file (2 hours, 5, 10, 24 hours) I know how long is a piece of string 

f. Are there any log files that can be reviewed as it progresses the output so I know if it is hanging or not.

Many thanks in advance

 

TOPICS
Classic, New UI, Output presets

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New User of Robo Help (RH). Trying to convert .hlp files from RH version 10 to RH2020

Community Beginner ,
Oct 07, 2020

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Hi All I'm a new user to RH 


I have .hlp files that MicroSoft no longer support in Windows 10 and Server2012 R2.

 

I've been in contact with Adobe online help etc but being new to this process I'm dumb as a bag of hammers as my engineering friends would say.

I need to convert several said files to a format that is compatiable with Windows 10 and Server2012 R2, firstly as stand alone files opened by a user and searched on for help topics.
Once this is achieved then the application they belong too will hopefully have a code change so the new format of file opens directly to the help files from the application. as it did with the .hlp files

I have been advised to do the following by Adobe help online to convert the old files.

I have been able to.

  1. Open the files in RH 2019 Classic, save them as a project, 
  2. Open in RH 2019 and upgrade the RH Classic file
  3. Open RH 2020 and Publish to  I thought Responsive HTML5.

I have published a smaller sized file but it has chapters removed on the conversion.

 

a. My first file and several attempts generating the output to Responsive HTML5 was an over night test and trial that leaves the small popup window lower right with a moving bar and nothing happening, noting that this .hlp file is large, ( I had previously used an other application to convert the .hlp to a .pdf and the .pdf was 715 pages and not good because the links within the file are missing and renders the .hlp file useless.

 

b.My second attempt smaller file with some 42 htm file types  - kind of worked but it only outputted 3 of these files and didn't do the remainder.

Comparing the original  .hlp file in a Server2008R2  VMware and looking at the files converted it has left a lot out.

 

c.  I was able to convert the same file to Microsoft HTML Help with the same problem above  at para b it had also not converted all files.

d.  Next I went back to the first file at step a. ( noting that the file is large) to attempt to convert it to Microsoft HTML Help, with a view of replacing the same converted file in my VMware to see the application opens it up as it does for a .hlp file.

 

e.The conversion started off well and looked promising with the pop up lower right notification bar moving fine and the file names changing, it has got to the 'indexing reference' and it appears to be stuck.  the small 'i' button does nothing. I've looked for logs to see if I can find any errors, hangs in the process but nothing.

Questions are:

a. How do I ensure all files are converted when I output to either a HTHL5 or Microsoft HTML help

b.How do I fault find to try and fix any errors

c. Does the Microsoft HTML Help file functions in the same  as the original .hlp file does when opened up via an application or will a re code of the application be needed

d. Do the Microsoft HTML Help and the HTHL5 outputs need to have access to the internet? (sometimes the application that uses the help files is standalone and does not get exposed to the internet.

e. How long should I expect it to generate an output file (2 hours, 5, 10, 24 hours) I know how long is a piece of string 

f. Are there any log files that can be reviewed as it progresses the output so I know if it is hanging or not.

Many thanks in advance

 

TOPICS
Classic, New UI, Output presets

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Oct 07, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 07, 2020

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Hi and welcome to the forums.

 

First, HTML Help (.chm) is a single compiled file, similar to the Winhelp (.hlp) file. I can't remember exactly, as it's been 15yrs or so since I've created them, but I think the context sensitive help calls are different. At the very least, I think your developers will need to change the name of the file  (e.g. myhelp.hlp > myhelp.chm).

 

CHM also hasn't been updated since about 2004.

 

So assuming the help call from the application will need to be changed anyway, moving to a more modern format may save time in the long run. 

 

Now to getting your project to work.

 

When you say "open the files in RH2019 Classic" do you have the project source (you would open a .hpj or .xpj file)  or do you only have the .hlp files?

 

I think the advice is going to be very different depending on your answer.

 

* Please always use the Insert Photos icon to add screenshots. People are not always willing to open attachments and it makes it harder to provide support. In addition a bug in the forums means if an attachment is opened, the thread must be closed and reopened before we can reply.

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 07, 2020

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Hi Amber,

Thank you for the prompt reply yes they are old files 
The application that calls them I think has a mixture of .chm and .hlp files that would need converting to an updated format.

 

When you say "open the files in RH2019 Classic" do you have the project source (you would open a .hpj or .xpj file)  or do you only have the .hlp files?


At this stage I only have the .hlp files I have got from the application - I do need to have a chat to the Testers and Developers to see if they have te .hpj or .xpj files on a different network.


Ideally I should convert them to the Responsive HTML5 to future proof them but if we could get away without changing the code and Microsoft HTML Help would fucntions as the .hlp files it would be easier.




 

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Oct 07, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
Oct 07, 2020

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Hi Amebr,
**** Corrected version ****
Thank you for the prompt reply yes they are old files 
The application that calls them I think has a mixture of .chm and .hlp files that would need converting to an updated format.

 

When you say "open the files in RH2019 Classic" do you have the project source (you would open a .hpj or .xpj file)  or do you only have the .hlp files?


At this stage I only have the .hlp files I have got from the application - I do need to have a chat to the Testers and Developers to see if they have te .hpj or .xpj files on a different network.


Ideally I should convert them to the Responsive HTML5 to future proof them but if we could get away without changing the code and Microsoft HTML Help would fucntions as the .hlp files it would be easier.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 07, 2020

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Okay, I'll look in to the .hlp import to make sure the instructions I normal give work for it.

 

I *think* it will be easier if you have the actual project source files, but it's been so long since I used them I'm not sure I remember correctly. I *think* you need a .hpj file and at least one .rtf file. There may be other files as well, but I honestly can't remember.

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 08, 2020

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Somehow your reply was marked as a correct answer. I've unmarked it, as it doesn't answer your oriignal questions. 🙂

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Oct 08, 2020 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 08, 2020

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Hopefully Amber will have some notes that help with the conversion from the HLP format. 

 

I note you are using VMWare. Is RoboHelp running in a Windows 10 environment within that? It will not run properly in the server environment.

 

Are all the topics you expect to see in the TOC. That's a major change in the new UI versions. It doesn't mean the user has to see them. You add all topics but select the hide option in those you don't want the user to see in the TOC. Take a look at the link below if that could be the issue.

https://www.grainge.org/pages/authoring/rh_tour/rh2020/toc_index_glossary/toc.htm

 

You also need to be aware that CHMs will no longer work on a server. It's only been a problem since 2004. 🙂

 

Given the changes you have to make anyway, I would suggest you try creating a frameless output as going forward that is where Adobe will be focussing their development. You can still use CHMs installed on local machines but they are now dated.

 

It will be well worth the effort to find the source project as that will hands down beat any reverse engineering. 

 

Prior to XPJ being the file to open projects it is the MPJ file. Search across your network for those file types.

 

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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Oct 08, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
Oct 08, 2020

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Hi Peter,
Firstly thank you for the reply 

Q:I note you are using VMWare. Is RoboHelp running in a Windows 10 environment within that? It will not run properly in the server environment. -

A: The The VMware is where the .hlp files or newly created files will be tested. RH is on my Windows 10 Laptop and all conversions is done on my Laptop.

Other points noted and I will look into these.

Kind Regards

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Amebr LATEST
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 08, 2020

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I'm afraid I don't have any steps that will definitely help. Even trying to get .hlp files to run has been a problem.

 

In the testing I've managed, I've only got the text to import, no table of contents, index or stylesheets. 

 

So my theory is that you only see a couple of things in your output because you don't actually have a table of contents. New UI requires all content to either be in the TOC or linked from a topic in the TOC. The build, I theorise, is only including the default topic and a few topics linked to the default topic.

 

There's a chance that some of the code from the import is also causing problems. I had a lot of weird characters and formatting code displaying in the sample .hlp file I managed to convert.

 

So I would start by making sure your topics are in the table of contents.

 

Also make sure you select a skin in the Output Preset. Sometimes the output generates fine without one and sometimes it fails, no idea why.

 

And check that the start page is set. This is usually index.htm (DO NOT give this the same name as a topic in the project.) And that there is a Default Topic - select the relevant topic from your project - often it's Welcome or Getting Started, but can be any topic in your project.

 

Then try generating to see if you can at least get the content in the output for your point b). Post back with how you go.

 

I don't think the old winhelp see also and related topics controls transfer correctly, and I also had all sorts of weird formatting and characters in the topics. So I think you'll need to do a lot of cleanup once we get the project generating.

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