BEWARE!! RoboHelp4 problems

Subject: BEWARE!! RoboHelp4 problems
From: "Tamminga, Ernie" <et -at- DSC -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 1997 09:10:08 -0700

We've encountered two serious problems in RoboHelp4; the first is
critical, the second is relevant only if you're creating HTML-based Help
from RoboHelp.
If you're using RoboHelp 4 -- be are that if you're going to create
hotlinks from graphics (using SHED from within RoboHelp), YOU ARE
(RoboHelp's documentation does *NOT* warn you about this.)

We are currently going through MAJOR grief, having discovered this near
the end of a major project. We have created numerous files. Taking
advantage of RoboHelp4's ability to handle long filenames, we assigned
meaningful names to the files.

As a late step in the project, we wanted to add "summary" flowcharts,
and hotlink the items in the charts to the corresponding topics in the
descriptive text. Tragic discovery: SHED does not support any filenames
longer than 8 characters!! Aaarrgghh!

This limit applies not only to the name of the graphic file itself, but
to EVERY file that contains a topic to which you want to link. Worse
yet... it applies to EVERY ELEMENT in any path that contains the graphic
file, or any of the files you want to link to.

Example: consider the following path...

If you want to be able to set up graphics hotspots, you will have to
rename EVERY element in that path to a name no longer than 8 characters.
i.e., "something" won't work, because it's 9 letters; "somethingelse"
files because it's 13 letters, "myhelpfile" fails because it's 10

I won't even bother beginning to describe all the pain that's caused by
renaming files in a RoboHelp project after you've already created all
your jumps, etc. etc.

Bottom Line: In RoboHelp 4, you either limit yourself to old-fashioned
DOS-style filenames and directory names, or you give up the ability to
create hotspots in graphics.
Second Problem: RoboHelp now includes an Active-X control for creating
"pop-up" help windows for HTML-based Help systems.

You should be aware that this control works ONLY if your end-user is
going to have your Help system resident ON HIS OR HER OWN LOCAL DISK.
If you're designing your help system to be accessible over an intranet
or the internet (i.e., you're designing it to take advantage of the
central concept of HTML-based Help), **DON'T** use pop-up windows. In a
net-based help system, RoboHelp's pop-up control causes the user's help
system to freeze up completely. The user's only way out is to go into
Windows' Task Manager and kill the process.

Ernie Tamminga
Director, InfoEngineering
Digital Sound Corporation
Opinions expressed are my own, and not necessarily those of Digital
Sound Corporation


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