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Author Topic: Help Portal using WebHelp  (Read 4227 times)
mzwecker
Member

Posts: 26


« on: February 16, 2010, 04:08:53 AM »

Goal: To build a WebHelp portal that collects a number of different product docs in one interface (each product/guide becomes a book in the navigation tree).

Apparent Solution: Make a master portal ditamap that includes each product/guide ditamap as a map reference.

Problem: We must apply a ditaval (conditions) when running the output.  This means that we end up with conflicting conditions.  That is, for reasons that seem self-evident, we can't choose to include all conditions when running the new "portal" ditamap.

I'm wondering if anyone else has a requirement like this and has thought of an elegant workaround.
Or perhaps there is an even more simple solution I'm overlooking.

Thanks,
Michael
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dcramer
Member

Posts: 120


« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2010, 07:46:44 AM »

Have you looked at Eclipse infocenters? That would be a more flexible and full-featured way to aggregate content.
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David Cramer
Technical Writer
Motive, an Alcatel-Lucent Company
mzwecker
Member

Posts: 26


« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2010, 08:09:11 AM »

Yes*, but let's just assume here that we want to make WebHelp do the same sort of thing.

If nothing else, JustSystems could consider this a long-term feature request (ability to build portals from DITA content).

I'm also looking at Flare (WebHelp Plus) and RoboHelp (RoboHelp Server) for building a portal, but my point is that it would be nice to have a "one-stop-shop" for making WebHelp without requiring another tool and lots of importing/exporting. I imagine I am asking too much, since I should remember that XMetaL is "graphical editor for creating and editing structured documents" and not a Magic Machine for single-source shops.  Can't have everything.  I chose XMetaL so we could make "pure" DITA XML.  It's excellent for that.  Also, I LOVE the pdf3 basic format.  But I'm still suffering with my HTML/WebHelp delivery.

*The problem with Eclipse Help for us is that Eclipse Infocenter requires an Apache server and is Java-based, whereas we are very much a .NET-shop.

« Last Edit: February 16, 2010, 08:12:54 AM by mzwecker » Logged
dcramer
Member

Posts: 120


« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2010, 11:43:43 AM »

Infocenters require Java but not Apache. You can run it as a service (using Java Service Wrapper) or as a webapp inside of your own tomcat instance. If you can bring yourself to install Java, then running it as a service would work for you.

Good luck.
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David Cramer
Technical Writer
Motive, an Alcatel-Lucent Company
Su-Laine Yeo
Solutions Consultant
Member

Posts: 260


« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2010, 07:15:16 PM »

This is probably worth a try if you have a separate map file for each guide:

1) Generate WebHelp output for each guide separately, using Show/Hide Conditional Text settings that are appropriate for that guide.
2) Generate WebHelp output for the master map, including all the submaps.
3) Take the HTML files that you generated in step 1, and move them into the WebHelp output folder that you created in step 2, overwriting any existing files.

If you do this, I guess navigation should work in the output, however the Search and Index features will probably behave as if all content is unconditional.
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Su-Laine Yeo
Solutions Consultant
JustSystems Canada, Inc.
mzwecker
Member

Posts: 26


« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2010, 11:26:25 AM »

I just wanted to report that the Flare DITA import does not currently support nested ditamaps, which renders it pretty useless in our case. 

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