<TITLE> Tag Value Ignored by Responsive WebHelp Flat Blue Skin

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Olivier Beltrami
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<TITLE> Tag Value Ignored by Responsive WebHelp Flat Blue Skin

Unread post by Olivier Beltrami » Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:10 am

Hi,

I am using the "Responsive WebHelp Flat Blue Skin" skin from the PP 3.4 and I am having problems specifying what should appear in my topics' <TITLE> tag.

In H&M 8.02, I put "Diary and Calendar Automation Macros" in the <TITLE> Tag field of a given topic whose TOC entry is "Macros". But when I look at the generated topic online (https://www.qppstudio.net/webhelp_xv4/macros.htm) the TITLE is "Macros" (the TOC entry) and not the entry I specified as <TITLE> Tag.

Is the <TITLE> tag overwritten by PP ? If so, how do I specify the <TITLE> of my topics ?

Very best regards,

Olivier
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Martin Wynne
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Re: <TITLE> Tag Value Ignored by Responsive WebHelp Flat Blue Skin

Unread post by Martin Wynne » Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:48 am

Hi Olivier,

Your link seems to be working ok for me (Firefox):

hm8_test.png
cheers,

Martin.
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Re: <TITLE> Tag Value Ignored by Responsive WebHelp Flat Blue Skin

Unread post by Tim Green » Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:59 am

Hi Olivier,

Martin is right: The title tag is populated correctly in the main HTML page. What is happening is that the TOC caption is being used when browsing within the V3 WebHelp. So when you visit the page directly you see the full title tag in the tab title, but if you browse away from the topic and then back to it again the tab will be populated with the regular TOC caption.

This is a cosmetic error that has existed since the inception of the V3 skins and nobody has noticed it before. I'm going to change it in the next maintenance update for Premium Pack 4. 8)
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Re: <TITLE> Tag Value Ignored by Responsive WebHelp Flat Blue Skin

Unread post by Olivier Beltrami » Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:21 am

Hi Tim, hi Martin,

Yes, the Title that appears on the Chrome or Firefox tab is different if one navigates to the page directly (TITLE is displayed), or from another page (TOC displayed).

But, my main concern is not with the text being displayed on the Chrome or Firefox tab, my concern is about search engine optimization, and if you open the page https://www.qppstudio.net/webhelp_xv4/macros.htm in either manner, and click on View Page Source, you get

Code: Select all

	<!-- Help+Manual Premium Pack Version 3.47 (c) 2015-2019 by Tim Green all rights reserved -->
	<title>Macros</title>
This is my concern; that Google only sees "Macro" as my page title, when crawling my site, and only displays the text "Macros" when that page appears in the search results.

Very best regards,

Olivier

PS: My skin is from version 3.47, but AFAIK, once you start using a skin, you cannot get the benefit of subsequent updates, unless you are willing to loose all the setting changes made to that skin and baggage files (or is there a way to update existing skins?).
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Re: <TITLE> Tag Value Ignored by Responsive WebHelp Flat Blue Skin

Unread post by Tim Green » Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:56 am

Hi Olivier,

What you are seeing in "View Page Source" is NOT what is actually in the page source. If you look at the actual source files you will see that the full title tag is written there. This is all clearly being folded, spindled and mutilated by Google Tag Manager, which you are using. My guess is that it is getting its source from the browsing version and not from the file version, which is interesting. If you choose "Inspect" instead you will see the real source, not the source manipulated by Google.

Personally -- and this is really my personal opinion that many people will disagree with -- I take a dim view of all "SEO", including Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics and everything connected with them. I would never ever use them myself. Again, in my personal opinion, the only valid SEO is having good content that people want to read.

This behavior will probably change when the browsing version gets updated.
PS: My skin is from version 3.47, but AFAIK, once you start using a skin, you cannot get the benefit of subsequent updates, unless you are willing to loose all the setting changes made to that skin and baggage files (or is there a way to update existing skins?).
If you change from one major version to the next that is the case, because so much changes that you really have to reapply any changes that you have made to the new version. However, within a major version you can usually transfer most of your changes from one version to the next with Toolbox. And if you have made changes to the source code you can unpack the old and new skins with a zip utility and merge in your changes with a diffing and merging tool like the free WinMerge, if you are careful. This is now even possible with the JavaScript files, because in version 4 they are no longer minified.
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Re: <TITLE> Tag Value Ignored by Responsive WebHelp Flat Blue Skin

Unread post by Olivier Beltrami » Wed Apr 22, 2020 12:17 pm

Hi Tim,

Thank you very much for your prompt and detailed answer, as always.

Actually, if one does INSPECT, one also sees <title>Macros</title>.

And, if I open the macros.htm file generated on my PC, in Notepad++, it also only shows "Macros" as Title.

I agree that SEO can go too far. But, I try to avoid hurting myself with one-word titles which are fine in the contextual hierarchical context of a TOC, but are meaningless when taken out of context.

Very best regards,

Olivier
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Re: <TITLE> Tag Value Ignored by Responsive WebHelp Flat Blue Skin

Unread post by Tim Green » Wed Apr 22, 2020 12:29 pm

Hi Olivier,
And, if I open the macros.htm file generated on my PC, in Notepad++, it also only shows "Macros" as Title.
That's a little odd, because when I do an Inspect on your page I get this:
pp3titletag.png
Check the <title> tag in the Layout template in the skin. If it contains the <%TOPIC_TITLE%> variable it is definitely inserting the correct text. And that must be the case, since what is being shown in the Chrome inspection console can't be coming from nowhere. :?

However, as I said, I'm going to update this so that the same text is also updated to the tag dynamically in the browsing version. Then this problem should definitely go away. 8)
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Re: <TITLE> Tag Value Ignored by Responsive WebHelp Flat Blue Skin

Unread post by Olivier Beltrami » Wed Apr 22, 2020 12:49 pm

Hi Tim,

Yes, the full description appears in the title, when inspecting, if one navigates directly to that page, by clicking on the link of my original post, for example. But if you then click on another TOC entry and then navigate back, then inspecting the page shows the TOC as title. This is what you mentioned in your original response, but I thought it only applied to the Chrome tab, not to the underlying html.

So, to get this fix I need to use BeyondCompare to note the differences between my 3.47 skin and the default one, upgrade to PP4, and then use BeyondCompare to very carefully retrofit the changes noted into the PP4 skin ?

Very best regards,

Olivier
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Martin Wynne
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Re: <TITLE> Tag Value Ignored by Responsive WebHelp Flat Blue Skin

Unread post by Martin Wynne » Wed Apr 22, 2020 1:07 pm

Hi Olivier,

Don't forget that you can always do your own thing in the HTML-based formats such as Webhelp.

For example if you insert an HTML Code Object in the topic, containing:

Code: Select all

<script>
document.title="London Bridge is for sale";
</script>
you can change the title in the tab to whatever you want.

(tested in Firefox and Microsoft Edge, but should work everywhere)

cheers,

Martin.

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Re: <TITLE> Tag Value Ignored by Responsive WebHelp Flat Blue Skin

Unread post by Tim Green » Thu Apr 23, 2020 7:34 am

Olivier Beltrami wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 12:49 pm
But if you then click on another TOC entry and then navigate back, then inspecting the page shows the TOC as title.
Yes, that is to be expected. When you navigate in a V3 WebHelp no pages are getting loaded. Instead the entire DOM is being replaced dynamically, including the title tag. All that needs to be changed is the source of the text for that tag during browsing.
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Re: <TITLE> Tag Value Ignored by Responsive WebHelp Flat Blue Skin

Unread post by Olivier Beltrami » Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:32 am

Hi Tim,

I have started to merge my v3.47 hmskin with the v3.50 default skins, and most changes are obvious.

But, a lot of entries have disappeared between the v3.47 and 3.50, in particular, it seems, the strings used for the results page of the Zoom full-text search (such as STR_FORM_CATEGORY or STR_MAX_RESULTS and about 20 others). Does it hurt if I just leave them in ?

Very best regards,

Olivier
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Re: <TITLE> Tag Value Ignored by Responsive WebHelp Flat Blue Skin

Unread post by Tim Green » Thu Apr 23, 2020 11:43 am

Olivier Beltrami wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:32 am
Does it hurt if I just leave them in ?
No, that is not a problem. :)
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Re: <TITLE> Tag Value Ignored by Responsive WebHelp Flat Blue Skin

Unread post by Olivier Beltrami » Tue Jun 23, 2020 9:50 am

Hi Tim,
However, as I said, I'm going to update this so that the same text is also updated to the tag dynamically in the browsing version. Then this problem should definitely go away. 8)
Any update on this, from your post, above, of April 22 ?

Very best regards,

Olivier
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Re: <TITLE> Tag Value Ignored by Responsive WebHelp Flat Blue Skin

Unread post by Tim Green » Tue Jun 23, 2020 3:13 pm

Olivier Beltrami wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 9:50 am
Any update on this, from your post, above, of April 22 ?
The fix will be included in the next maintenance update in a couple of weeks. At the moment I am keeping update frequency to an absolute minimum unless there are really important issues to avoid the need for frequent skin updating. :)
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Re: <TITLE> Tag Value Ignored by Responsive WebHelp Flat Blue Skin

Unread post by Tim Green » Wed Jun 24, 2020 11:51 am

Hi Olivier,

There's an update to this. On closer examination it turns out that what you want here is not going to be possible in V3 and V4 skins. The reason for this is a little complicated, but I will try to explain:

The HTML version of each topic contains the TOPIC_TITLE variable in the <title> tag. This always contains the text in the Title Tag: field in Topic Options. In turn, that field contains the topic header text (which is the TOC caption for the topic, if you don't edit it, or whatever you put into it if you do edit it). So that is what you see in the browser tab or title bar when you first visit any topic in a V3/V4 skin.

However, when you browse within the WebHelp created with one of these skins you don't load a new HTML file. The script replaces the topic content in the existing page with the compressed HTML data version stored in the jstopics folder. In addition to the HTML content of the topic these files also contain the title of the topic, among other things. However, this title attribute does NOT normally contain the contents of the Title Tag: field from Topic Options. It normally contains the topic header text, and only contains the title field text if the topic has no header. That is essential, because that text is needed for filling the topic header when the new topic is "opened".

Unfortunately, the jstopics files DON'T contain an additional attribute with the contents of the Title Tag: field from Topic Options. So that text is simply not available when you are browsing to a new topic within the WebHelp. The <title> tag must be rewritten when a new topic is loaded, otherwise it would contain the value of the previous topic, which would be wrong. The only text available in topics with a header is the header text.

The only solution to this would be to add an additional attribute to the jstopics files generated by Help+Manual that would always contain the title tag field text. However, the HM developers are not going to change the HM output for this, so that is not an option.

Conclusion -- what all this means:
It's physically impossible to load the Title Tag: field text into the page's <title> tag while browsing in V3 and V4 skins because the data is simply not available. If you don't want a discrepancy between the title shown in the browser tab when the topic is first visited and when you browse to it within the WebHelp the only way to achieve that is by ensuring that the text in the topic header and the text in the Title Tag: field are identical.

Exception (but not really): Topics without headers:
In topics without headers the title attribute in the jstopics files DO contain the Title Tag: field text, because no header text is available. However, that also means that the topic header displayed in WebHelp will ALSO be that text, since there cannot be a topic without a header in WebHelp. So the result is the same: Header text and topic title text are identical.
Regards,
Tim (EC Software Documentation & User Support)

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