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RoboHelp 2015 (12.0.2.384): Search returns topics not been included in the TOC

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Jul 27, 2016

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ENVIRONMENT: Windows 7 Enterprise SP1, 8.00 GB RAM, 64-bit OS, Office 2010, Adobe Acrobat X Pro, Acrobat Reader DC 2015.017.20050

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:

  • A single RoboHelp HTML project with three outputs. One of the outputs is a "validation reference" that has its own Table of Contents.
  • The Validation Reference Table of Contents contains a subset of the topics in the main Help system. For example, the main Help system TOC contains a folder called "Administration"; that folder is not in the Validation Reference TOC.
  • The Validation Reference is posted to a public web site. Therefore, we've applied the "Non_public_info" tag to content in shared topics that we do not want to appear on the public web site.
  • WebHelp Settings are as follows:
    • Validation Reference TOC
    • No map files, no browse sequences
    • Conditional Build expression: NOT_Non_public_info_AND_NOT_StyleGuidelines_AND_NOT_TRP (We keep our Style Guidelines in the project to make it easy to access during development. TRP content is to be excluded because not released.)
    • Exclude Unreferenced Topics from Output is selected.
    • Search Options. Only "Show Total Number of Search Results" and "Show AND Search Option in Output" are selected.
  • After generating the WebHelp, we remove the folders that we do not want (RoboHelp generates empty folders even though the folders are not in the TOC.)

PROBLEM: A search in the Validation Reference Help brings up topics that we think should not be included because the topics themselves are not in the Validation Reference TOC. For example, The topic "Data Quality Analysis" is in the main Help TOC, but not in the Validation Reference TOC. Therefore, we don't expect the topic to show up at all in the Search Results pane. But it does. When the user clicks the topic, the "Resource cannot be found" message appear.

Nothing shows up from the Style_Guidelines topics because the StyleGuidelines conditional build tag is applied to the entire folder and to the "Style Guidelines" book in the main TOC. (Same applies to the TRP folder.)

QUESTION: Why are topics that are not in the TOC and whose folders are not in the project at all showing up in the WebHelp during a search? Do we need to rewrite the conditional build expression or set up conditions differently. We assumed that not having topics in the TOC, not including the unreferenced topics in the output, and removing the empty folders would be the way to go. All help welcome!

Thanks so much.

Carol Levie

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Amebr | Adobe Community Professional

The table of contents does not control what ends up in the output for online outputs. All untagged content, and tagged content that is not excluded by the build expression will be included. The setting  "Exclude unreferenced topics from the output" will further exclude any topics that aren't in the ToC AND aren't linked from any topic that will be included in the output.

In contrast, for print output the table of contents does control what ends up in the output. I think this trips up a lot of people.

If you generate the help and do not delete the unwanted folders, do you still get the error? If not, you know that the topic is being referenced somewhere in the Validation Reference content.

Here's the help from RH11. I can't imagine this would have changed, but you could do a search to double-check for RH2015.

Exclude Unreferenced Topics From Output

Select this option to exclude any topic that exists in the project but is not the default topic in the layout or is not referenced from the selected TOC, index, or browse sequence, or any referenced topic.

note:  RoboHelp displays the unreferenced topics that are excluded from the output in the Output View pod.

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RoboHelp 2015 (12.0.2.384): Search returns topics not been included in the TOC

Participant ,
Jul 27, 2016

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ENVIRONMENT: Windows 7 Enterprise SP1, 8.00 GB RAM, 64-bit OS, Office 2010, Adobe Acrobat X Pro, Acrobat Reader DC 2015.017.20050

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:

  • A single RoboHelp HTML project with three outputs. One of the outputs is a "validation reference" that has its own Table of Contents.
  • The Validation Reference Table of Contents contains a subset of the topics in the main Help system. For example, the main Help system TOC contains a folder called "Administration"; that folder is not in the Validation Reference TOC.
  • The Validation Reference is posted to a public web site. Therefore, we've applied the "Non_public_info" tag to content in shared topics that we do not want to appear on the public web site.
  • WebHelp Settings are as follows:
    • Validation Reference TOC
    • No map files, no browse sequences
    • Conditional Build expression: NOT_Non_public_info_AND_NOT_StyleGuidelines_AND_NOT_TRP (We keep our Style Guidelines in the project to make it easy to access during development. TRP content is to be excluded because not released.)
    • Exclude Unreferenced Topics from Output is selected.
    • Search Options. Only "Show Total Number of Search Results" and "Show AND Search Option in Output" are selected.
  • After generating the WebHelp, we remove the folders that we do not want (RoboHelp generates empty folders even though the folders are not in the TOC.)

PROBLEM: A search in the Validation Reference Help brings up topics that we think should not be included because the topics themselves are not in the Validation Reference TOC. For example, The topic "Data Quality Analysis" is in the main Help TOC, but not in the Validation Reference TOC. Therefore, we don't expect the topic to show up at all in the Search Results pane. But it does. When the user clicks the topic, the "Resource cannot be found" message appear.

Nothing shows up from the Style_Guidelines topics because the StyleGuidelines conditional build tag is applied to the entire folder and to the "Style Guidelines" book in the main TOC. (Same applies to the TRP folder.)

QUESTION: Why are topics that are not in the TOC and whose folders are not in the project at all showing up in the WebHelp during a search? Do we need to rewrite the conditional build expression or set up conditions differently. We assumed that not having topics in the TOC, not including the unreferenced topics in the output, and removing the empty folders would be the way to go. All help welcome!

Thanks so much.

Carol Levie

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Amebr | Adobe Community Professional

The table of contents does not control what ends up in the output for online outputs. All untagged content, and tagged content that is not excluded by the build expression will be included. The setting  "Exclude unreferenced topics from the output" will further exclude any topics that aren't in the ToC AND aren't linked from any topic that will be included in the output.

In contrast, for print output the table of contents does control what ends up in the output. I think this trips up a lot of people.

If you generate the help and do not delete the unwanted folders, do you still get the error? If not, you know that the topic is being referenced somewhere in the Validation Reference content.

Here's the help from RH11. I can't imagine this would have changed, but you could do a search to double-check for RH2015.

Exclude Unreferenced Topics From Output

Select this option to exclude any topic that exists in the project but is not the default topic in the layout or is not referenced from the selected TOC, index, or browse sequence, or any referenced topic.

note:  RoboHelp displays the unreferenced topics that are excluded from the output in the Output View pod.

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Jul 27, 2016 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 27, 2016

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The table of contents does not control what ends up in the output for online outputs. All untagged content, and tagged content that is not excluded by the build expression will be included. The setting  "Exclude unreferenced topics from the output" will further exclude any topics that aren't in the ToC AND aren't linked from any topic that will be included in the output.

In contrast, for print output the table of contents does control what ends up in the output. I think this trips up a lot of people.

If you generate the help and do not delete the unwanted folders, do you still get the error? If not, you know that the topic is being referenced somewhere in the Validation Reference content.

Here's the help from RH11. I can't imagine this would have changed, but you could do a search to double-check for RH2015.

Exclude Unreferenced Topics From Output

Select this option to exclude any topic that exists in the project but is not the default topic in the layout or is not referenced from the selected TOC, index, or browse sequence, or any referenced topic.

note:  RoboHelp displays the unreferenced topics that are excluded from the output in the Output View pod.

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Jul 27, 2016 0
LEGEND ,
Jul 27, 2016

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I would have to respectfully disagree with the statement about the TOC not controlling what ends up in output.

I know that many folks over the years have somehow expected this behavior. And I believe that's precisely why we now see the option for excluding unreferenced content.

So by using the unreferenced content option you are, in fact, controlling what is in the output via the TOC.

Cheers... Rick

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Jul 27, 2016 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 27, 2016

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My turn for respectfully disagreeing.

If the ToC contains only the topics you want AND those topics don't contain any links to topics that is not in the ToC then the "Exclude" option will indeed control the output via the ToC. (The OP has stated they don't use Browse sequences, so I will ignore this scenario. And I can't comment on how the Index might work; I'd have to run some experiments to figure out that interaction.)

So say the project contains Topic1, Topic2 and Topic3. (No conditions are used for the sake of simplicity.)

The table of contents contains Topic1, and the output has "Exclude unreferenced topics from the output" ticked.

If Topic1 does not contain links to Topic2 or Topic3 then the project will indeed be limited by the table of contents.

If Topic1 contains a link to Topic2 however, then even though Topic2 is not in the table of contents it will be included in the project and show up using search.

Now here's the tricky part. If Topic2 contains a link to Topic3, then Topic3 will also be included in the output even though neither Topic2 nor Topic3 appear in the table of contents.

If conditions are used, then things are a bit more complicated. If the topic is excluded by a build expression it will be excluded even if a link exists in an included topic.

So for our example say Topic3 is tagged Print_Only, and the build expression is "NOT Print_Only". Topic2 will still be included because of the link in Topic1, but Topic3 will not be included because of the condition tag, and in fact the link in Topic2 will be removed.

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Jul 27, 2016 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 28, 2016

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Try this.

The topics you want in are all in their own TOC so sort the Topic List by TOC (You may need to right click the topic headings to add that).

Create a new tag called say Valref.

Apply it to all the topics NOT in the required TOC.

Generate an output where NOT VALREF is all that is in the build expression.

Does that give you what you want?


See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring information

@petergrainge

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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Jul 28, 2016 1
LEGEND ,
Jul 28, 2016

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Hi there

LOL, I'm really not trying to pick a fight. I do totally get that and was fully aware of it and it makes total sense as to the logic. (but logic often escapes many of the folks that complain about it.)

Perhaps we can both agree that qualifiers are needed and the issue is murky at best?

Cheers... Rick

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 28, 2016

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"Murky" is probably too generous a description.

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Jul 28, 2016 0
Participant ,
Sep 09, 2016

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Yes, Amebr, that is what's happening. Between versions 3.1 and 4.0 of the project, we must have added one or more hyperlinks, or even bookmarks, in one or more topics that manage to connect (be "referenced")--no matter how indirectly--to a topic in the Val Ref TOC. Tracing those connections is too time consuming--I know because I tried to do it via an Excel spreadsheet and quickly gave up.

Scenario Example

  • Topic B is in the Val Ref TOC. Topics C and D are not in the Val Ref TOC AND are untagged. Topic E is not in the Val Ref TOC AND is tagged "non-public-info".
  • The SSL includes a Conditional Build Expression that excludes content tagged as "non-public-info".
  • Topic B contains a direct link to Topic C. "Topic C" will appear in the Search results.
  • Topic C contains a direct link to Topic D. "Topic D" will appear in the Search results even though Topic D has no direct connection to Topic B in the Val Ref TOC. Adobe TCS notes that this design assumes that the user clicking the link in Topic C will want the link to be active.
  • Topic D contains a direct link to Topic E. Topic E does not appear in the Search results because it has been tagged as "non-public-info" and the Conditional Build Expression for the SSL excludes all topics with the "non-public-info" tag. Peter Graine, this is the idea you were mentioning. (I think the link to the tagged topic becomes inactive.)

It would be good if Adobe were to upgrade the Help about the unreferenced topics option.

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Sep 09, 2016 0
Participant ,
Sep 09, 2016

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Yes, applying a tag to all topics that do not belong in the Search results works. Thank you, Peter.

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Sep 09, 2016 0
LEGEND ,
Sep 09, 2016

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Hi there

You said:

It would be good if Adobe were to upgrade the Help about the unreferenced topics option.

I looked in the help and it says this:

Exclude Unreferenced Topics From Output

Select this option to exclude any topic that exists in the project but is not the default topic in the layout or is not referenced from the selected TOC, index, or browse sequence, or any refer­enced topic.

Based on what I'm reading it seems pretty clear. What are you suggesting needs to be changed to bring clarity? I'm guessing that Adobe might have the same question here.

Cheers... Rick

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Sep 09, 2016 0
Participant ,
Sep 09, 2016

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It's not clear that an unreferenced topic may be linked to the TOC (such as my Validation Reference) TOC via links from topics "way down the line" so to speak. As noted in my example: we didn't know why Topic D was showing up in the search results, given that there was no direct link to Topic D from Topic B (which is in the Val Ref TOC) only an indirect link from Topic C. Once the link is made to Topic D, all the links from Topic D to multiple other topics become active and get included in the search results.

Having spent hours trying to trace the links, I think Adobe Help should provide more information about this 'cascading' effect.

We still don't know which topic/topics caused the problem between 3.1 and 4.0 projects. There's no easy way to retrace the links (we have a lot of them). However, we at least understand the problem and can now double down on efforts to identify non-public-info topics and links as we add them to the project.

--Carol

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Sep 09, 2016 0
LEGEND ,
Sep 09, 2016

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Hmmm, but how far do you take it? I mean, should the help really read like this?

Exclude Unreferenced Topics From Output

Select this option to exclude any topic that exists in the project but is not the default topic in the layout or is not referenced from the selected TOC, index, or browse sequence, or any referenced topic. Or a topic with a link to another topic that has a link to another topic that has a link to another topic... ad infinitium.

Seems to me that they covered it by saying "any referenced topic".

My thought is that if you find an unexpected topic in the search, it logically means that it must have been referenced in some way.

Actually, this kind of supports my own view that this whole option should have been omitted. The option to simply exclude content that doesn't appear in the TOC. Because it opens a host of other issues as we have seen in this thread.

I'm guessing that the next issue or point of frustration would come as a result of a change in behavior. An obscurely referenced topic has a link to some really important info for that topic. But because changes were made, the link isn't there or fails. Kind of seems like a no-win situation for Adobe.

Cheers... Rick

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Sep 09, 2016 0
Participant ,
Sep 09, 2016

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Yes, I think the description could be improved. "RoboHelp Search considers a referenced topic any topic that links directly or indirectly to other topics that may not be in the current Table of Contents."  An example would be useful.

We were not finding one or two unexpected topics. The Val Ref TOC has 350 or so topics; the Search Results were bringing up 850 or so topics. Clearly there were one or more topics with hyperlinks or bookmarks that were indirectly connected to the TOC topics.

In this public version of the Validation Reference, we can live with an obscurely referenced topic having an inactive link to important information associated with it. We couldn't live with 500 non-public topics showing up in the Search results.

Licensed customers have access to the Validation Reference, with all links active.

Cheers to you, too, Rick.

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Sep 09, 2016 1
LEGEND ,
Sep 09, 2016

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Sooo, I'm a bit confused about your situation. I mean, I totally get the whole TOC and the unexpected topics. I can see where that might be easy to overlook. How the referenced topics work and all that.

What seems confusing here is that you also are using Conditional Build Tagging and Expressions to cause removal of the unwanted topics. So why aren't these topics tagged? Or did you think that since the option for using the TOC was going to take care of that and remove them for you?

Cheers... Rick

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Sep 09, 2016 1
Participant ,
Sep 12, 2016

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Hi, Rick.

When the previous writer set up the Val Ref TOC, she used a conditional build expression to explicitly exclude tagged content such as our Help Style Guide (which we keep in the project for ease of access) and some future content. She did this even though that content was not in the Val Ref TOC.

Based on her research, she did not think it was necessary to tag all the other untagged topics, which are in the main Help project but that are not intended for the public website. So yes, she believed that the untagged topics would not appear in the Val Ref output because she selected the Excluded Unreferenced Topics option.

In fact it did work correctly in the initial release of the 3.1 project and in subsequent updates.

The problem only emerged with the next release. Between 3.1 and 4.0 we added writers and topics with lots of hyperlinks. It's likely that some reference to a Val Ref topic got included in one of the untagged topics.

But now we have tagged everything and as a team we are now fully aware that we have to think about how to tag each new topic.

Carol

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Sep 12, 2016 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 12, 2016

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If you use Exclude expressions you get what doesn't have that tag, whether

or not the other topics have tags.

If you use Advanced Expressions and create Include expressions, you get

topics with the specified tag(s) plus anything untagged. The untagged

topics are the big difference.

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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Participant ,
Sep 13, 2016

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Hi, Peter.

Yes, we've been using the Exclude expression for a long time. What was confusing was that we used the same Conditional Build Expression for 4.0 that we used for 3.1 and only then started getting errors. In 3.1, we had left 500-600 topics untagged and had got no errors. I believe that between 3.1 and 4.0, with new writers on the team, someone added one or more topics or even bookmarks somewhere that were inadvertently linked back to a Validation Reference topic. But now we've applied the non-public-info tag to all the untagged topics and the CBE now excludes all of them.

We tried playing with Advanced Expressions, but couldn't figure out how to create an expression with Include and Exclude tags.

Thank you!

Carol

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New Here ,
Nov 21, 2016

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I have a situation that is working properly, shows only the TOC items I want to show, BUT, when you search the index - it returns some of the excluded TOC items.  Am I missing a setting to exclude these from the index search results?  I have an entire chapter called POS for our old Point of Sale systems.  If someone begins to type p o s, it brings up all the excluded pages from the table of contents.  I'm guessing the only way to truly remove these pages is to delete them - which I really didn't want to do...any other suggestions?

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Nov 21, 2016 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 21, 2016

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That may have been fixed already – try Help > Updates to get patched up.

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New Here ,
Nov 21, 2016

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I’ve updated and re-run the Output, and the same thing happens.  I can search the index for TOC items that have been excluded.  I've also tried deleting the folders of the unwanted topics in the SSL! output folder.  The search index continues to show the unwanted topics - but when clicked, (since the folders are now missing) it produces a face....

Christopher Composto

Software Training Manager

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Nov 21, 2016 0
LEGEND ,
Nov 21, 2016

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Hi there

How exactly are you "excluding" the items from the TOC? Are you using Conditional Build Tags? Or are you using the option in the SSL recipe for excluding unreferenced TOC items?

Cheers... Rick

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New Here ,
Nov 21, 2016

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Conditional build tags, I also tried the "Exclude...." with the same results. 

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Nov 21, 2016 0
LEGEND ,
Nov 21, 2016

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With RoboHelp, you are able to apply the build tags to content inside topics, entire topics, TOC and Index entries.

So the question here is to ask exactly where you applied the tags?

If you applied the tags to the topics, there should generally be no need to also tag the TOC or the Index, as the topics just won't be there.

But if you tagged only the elements in the TOC, the element in the TOC would be removed, but the topics would still be in the project and found by a search. Same for the Index.

Cheers... Rick

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New Here ,
Nov 21, 2016

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Ding ding ding!!  We have a winner.  I missed tagging the actual topics.  Thanks so much.  This makes perfect sense now.

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Nov 21, 2016 0
Participant ,
Jul 28, 2016

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Thanks so much for the speedy replies, which are so appreciated

I'm printing out your replies and plan to do a bit more testing.

--Carol

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Participant ,
Jul 29, 2016

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I don't see a way to "Reply to All", and so hope that by replying to my original post, I'm replying to all of you.

  • I did some analysis yesterday. I looked at each topic in the main TOC, noted whether it had a topic-level tag or not, noted whether it was in the Val Ref TOC, checked to see whether it was in the search results and, if so, whether the link was broken. I also then checked to see whether topics that are not in the Val Ref TOC but that appear in the search results contained links to topics in the Val Ref TOC, or to topics with links to topics that are not in the Val Ref TOC but that contain links to topics with links to topics in the Val Ref TOC. Murky and confusing!
  • Based on my initial analysis, I believe that Amebr is mostly correct. The search results do include untagged topics with links to topics in the Val Ref TOC, or with links to topics with links to topics in the Val Ref TOC. However, I don't understand why clicking those links brings up the content, considering that I deleted the output folders containing those topics. RoboHelp must be doing something under the covers to include the conten
  • The untagged topics that generate a resource error when clicked from the search results pane do not appear to be linked with ANY topics in the Val Ref TOC or with any topics that contain links to topics in the Val Ref TOC. Clearly, something in the output is 'remembering' that the Help was generated with untagged topics (there must be a list somewhere) that are no longer there. Hence the error message.
  • One further mystery. There are several topics that are untagged and that are not in the Validation Reference TOC. When I search for those topics or for content those topics, the topics do not appear in the search results pane! I expected to see the topics and to get a resource error.
  • Topics with the Non-public_info tag do not appear in the search results. That works as expected and as described by Amebr.

I haven't tried Peter's approach yet, but thanks for the idea. Since we probably don't want to exclude all the "untagged but linked" content, we may want to simply identify the "untagged and unlinked content" and apply a NotValRef tag to it.

Thanks again for all your helpful comments.

Regards,

Carol Levine

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Jul 29, 2016 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 31, 2016

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One thought about why the deleted topics might display.

If you delete them from your C drive then copy/ftp/publish the output folder to your web server, then those original files/olders will still exist on your web server unless you delete them manually.

It's possible that you also deleted some of the "search" files robohelp generates, so the original "search" files might still be on the server and thus be returning old search results.

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Jul 31, 2016 1
Participant ,
Sep 09, 2016

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Before generating the output, we delete everything from the output folder.

Thanks for the idea though.

Carol

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Sep 09, 2016 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 09, 2016

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The output folder on the web server or the \!SSL!\ folder? Just clarifying because RH will clear the \!SSL!\ one automatically.

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Sep 09, 2016 0
Participant ,
Sep 09, 2016

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Hi, Jeff.

We generate to an output folder in our local workspace, not to the SSL folder. We then copy the files from the local workspace to a Development server for subsequent posting to our web server.

I use the SSL folder when testing output because RoboHelp clears it!

Carol

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Sep 09, 2016 0
LEGEND ,
Sep 09, 2016

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So when you generate to the local workspace, do you notice a dramatic difference in the time it takes to generate there as opposed to generating to the SSL?

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Sep 09, 2016 0
Participant ,
Sep 09, 2016

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I don't see any difference in the time it takes to generate.

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Sep 09, 2016 0