Context-sensitive help is breaking with new PP 3.46 skin

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Context-sensitive help is breaking with new PP 3.46 skin

Unread postby Marie-Christine Mahe » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:58 am

For reasons of chrome compatibility we upgraded Help&Manual to use a Premium Pack 3.46 skin, one of the Responsive WebHelp ones. We tweaked it a bit, but only for color and font.
Only now our context-sensitive help is broken - we are using the same links we used to, we seem to be aiming for the correct place in the HTML, but we get systematically redirected to the index.html. We must be missing something here?

I should specify that the internal links of the project work, and those are using the Topic IDs. But our external links from an app (too numerous to contemplate changing..) are using the 'Help Context' numbers. It seems that when using the old skin a map of contextids is automatically generated (and stored in hmcontextids.js?) but when we're using the new skin that map is not generated. There is probably a premium pack option that we're missing somewhere?

Thanks for any help...
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Re: Context-sensitive help is breaking with new PP 3.46 skin

Unread postby Tim Green » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:44 am

Hi Marie-Christine,

I just double-checked this with the new skins and it is working fine. Just to make sure, the syntax is:

index.html?contextid=xxxxx

Where xxxxxx is the context number/context ID. That hasn't changed. If you continue to have problems please mail a small demo project and the skin you are using to support AT ec-software.com (replace the AT with @) and we will check it out.
Regards,
Tim (EC Software Documentation & User Support)

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Re: Context-sensitive help is breaking with new PP 3.46 skin

Unread postby Marie-Christine Mahe » Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:37 pm

So yes, sadly, it seems that the so-called Premium pack does have skins that are compatible with chrome, but that they omit the option to generate the context IDs that allow us to do context-sensitive help. Are there other skins that would do both? Is there a way to customize a skin to offer that option?

Has anyone else run into this problem, are we the last ones on the planet to use Context IDs? Surely other people have hundreds of links that'd need fixing without them?
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Re: Context-sensitive help is breaking with new PP 3.46 skin

Unread postby Marie-Christine Mahe » Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:06 am

So we have a workaround, an ugly one... If we use a Premium Pack 3.46/V2 WebHelp skin, actually a version 2.60 one, we do get a help that's both functional in chrome and generates context IDs so that our context-sensitive help works. It just looks uglier, and doesn't allow us to configure nearly as much of the look (and we won't mention doing that twice..). We'd still much rather have context IDs in 3.46 skins. Any hope?

Also, for those of you on Windows, we had to change our context-sensitive URLs from
Code: Select all
file///D:/<path>
to
Code: Select all
http://127.0.0.1/D:/<path>
to make them work. Luckily, that was in one place and easy, but you should know if you're going to do that.
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Re: Context-sensitive help is breaking with new PP 3.46 skin

Unread postby Tim Green » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:28 am

Marie-Christine Mahe wrote:So yes, sadly, it seems that the so-called Premium pack does have skins that are compatible with chrome, but that they omit the option to generate the context IDs that allow us to do context-sensitive help.

This is fully supported and the context IDs are never generated by the skin, they are always generated by Help+Manual. They will be generated automatically if your project contains context IDs. If it doesn't, you can add them globally with the Context tool in the Project tab.
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Re: Context-sensitive help is breaking with new PP 3.46 skin

Unread postby Tim Green » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:30 am

Marie-Christine Mahe wrote: We'd still much rather have context IDs in 3.46 skins. Any hope?

I can only repeat that context IDs are fully supported in the V3 skins. If you continue to have problems with them please mail a small demo project and the skin you are using to support AT ec-software.com (replace the AT with @) and we will check it for you.

Please see the documentation of this here:

http://www.it-authoring.com/info/pp3hel ... nking.html
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Re: Context-sensitive help is breaking with new PP 3.46 skin

Unread postby Marie-Christine Mahe » Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:48 pm

Yeah, thank you, I've read the documentation forwards, backwards and sideways. It does imply that you can generally use links to context ID numbers, but nowhere does it state explicitly that you can do that by default in PP 3.46, it only talks about using that build option, which in turn can only be set if the skin allows it.

And I'm quite aware that it's not the skin but the publish process that actually generates the context ID map. I'm happy that you've decided to make that option a default (since it seems it'd be useful for so many people). But in that case why isn't it being generated when we use a PP 3.46 skin with the latest version of your software? Because it is generated correctly when we use the exact same software with a 2.60 skin with the exact same project, a skin which allows us to explicitly turn the context IDs build option on. Are you quite certain that your default for 3.46 is 'on'? Have you tested that in house recently?

As to writing support, I sent our skin, on Friday, and not a peep back. So I'm not convinced there either.. Do you read that email? Have you tested writing to it lately?
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Re: Context-sensitive help is breaking with new PP 3.46 skin

Unread postby Tim Green » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:10 am

Hi Marie,

I'm afraid we didn't receive your mail, which is a rare occurrence and it's annoying that it happened in this particular case. Starting around Friday our hosting provider had some major failures on their mail servers and it's possible that some mails really didn't make it through at all. As far as we can see this has now been overcome; everything seems to be working OK again. So please, please do re-send your demo project and skin so that we can test them for you.

It does imply that you can generally use links to context ID numbers, but nowhere does it state explicitly that you can do that by default in PP 3.46, it only talks about using that build option, which in turn can only be set if the skin allows it.

That's really not the case in the topic I linked to above. There is no reference to build options there, because there isn't one for the V3 skins. It should work out of the box, provided the project contains context numbers and the URLs to them use the correct syntax. When you first reported this I tested it right away with V3 skins from version 3.46 and it is working fine in those tests. So I really need to see your project and skin to be able to work out what is not working for you.
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Re: Context-sensitive help is breaking with new PP 3.46 skin

Unread postby Tim Green » Thu Jan 17, 2019 10:23 am

Hi Marie,

Update: We just received your follow-up mail with a reference to the mail that was eaten by the server outage. Now I'm pretty sure I understand what the problem is. There are two basic issues here:

First, in your search in the help you ended up in a topic referring to the V2 skins, not the V3 skins that you are using. Those show the option for turning context number support on and off, which doesn't exist in the V3 skins, where it is always on.

In addition to that, reading between the lines in your mails and postings I'm guessing that you may be accessing your WebHelp without a web server, i.e. by just opening the files directly on your local computer with the browser. If this is the case, you need to use a slightly different syntax for linking to context IDs. This is unavoidable, unfortunately, because you no longer have the web server there to help with the interpretation of the URL. Then your links need to look like this:

Calling syntax:
index.html#contextid=xxxxx


Where xxxxxx is the context number/context ID. This works both for normal topic context IDs and context IDs attached to anchors.

Example:
file:///E:/test_folder/index.html#contextid=60672


The only difference is the # character after the index.html instead of the ? character.
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Re: Context-sensitive help is breaking with new PP 3.46 skin

Unread postby Marie-Christine Mahe » Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:24 am

Sorry Tim, your mail is not fixed..

Delivery has failed to these recipients or groups:
support@ec-software.com (support@ec-software.com)
A problem occurred during the delivery of this message to this e-mail address. Try sending this message again. If the problem continues, please contact your helpdesk.
The following organization rejected your message: mx63.antispamcloud.com.
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Re: Context-sensitive help is breaking with new PP 3.46 skin

Unread postby Tim Green » Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:35 am

Hi Marie,

Marie-Christine Mahe wrote:Sorry Tim, your mail is not fixed..

Hmm, that's odd because normal support mail is coming through. Also, we're not familiar with that anti-spam service; they appear to be based in the Netherlands. We're going to have to check with our hoster to see whether they are using them or something else is going on.

Please try sending the same mail without an attachment. Instead, put the attachment on your cloud drive (OneDrive, Dropbox or whatever you are using there) and include a link to it in the mail. Mail servers are increasingly looking inside zip files like .hmxz and .hmskin and they will be blocked if they contain things like JavaScript files, which skins do.
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Re: Context-sensitive help is breaking with new PP 3.46 skin

Unread postby Marie-Christine Mahe » Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:11 am

So you know that you're using an anti-spam tool that blocks the software you sell, and you think that's normal?? I guess it works for you, since it conveniently allows you to push off urgent support for a week (so far), right? I hope potential customers see this, and heed the warning..

But you know, I was only including the skin we're using because you asked me to, and to prove to you that we had only changed colors and fonts, not because I think there's anything wrong with it. We get the EXACT SAME RESULT with any of the skins you provide, right out of the box, without any changes at all. You could test it yourselves with any of your projects, using say Boxed_Blue_Diamond_WebHelp.hmskin, the one I started with. Which was the last rev where you actually tested context-sensitive help with context ID numbers?

We don't filter out software, why don't you instead send us a small demo project that we can use with your 3.46 skins, to see for ourselves whether it can be published to give us the functionality we need/was advertised?
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Re: Context-sensitive help is breaking with new PP 3.46 skin

Unread postby Tim Green » Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:16 am

Hi Marie-Christine,

Marie-Christine Mahe wrote:So you know that you're using an anti-spam tool that blocks the software you sell, and you think that's normal??

Sorry, but this is a misunderstanding. We don't filter anything in our mail and we would much prefer for all mails to be able to reach us with any attachment that the user wants to send. That would be an ideal situation. However, a lot of mail service providers do, and that happens before the mail reaches us. As a result, some mails don't reach us at all and others reach us with the attachments that the user sent stripped off. I made the suggestion of providing a download link instead to make absolutely certain that your mail reaches us along with the test files.

You could test it yourselves with any of your projects, using say Boxed_Blue_Diamond_WebHelp.hmskin, the one I started with.

That's exactly what I did as soon as I saw your mail, and everything worked correctly without any errors. That is why I asked you to send me a demo project and the skin you were using because it was not possible to duplicate what you were describing.

However, it wasn't clear from your original post that you are not using a web server but opening the WebHelp directly. As I explained above, this requires a slightly different syntax. Here it is again:

Calling syntax for using context IDs without a web server:

index.html#contextid=xxxxx

Where xxxxxx is the context number/context ID.

Example:
file:///E:/test_folder/index.html#contextid=60672

We have also tested this repeatedly, as we do on every build, and it too is working without errors. For comparison, here is the calling syntax with a web server. The difference is the use of the "?" character instead of the "#" character:

Calling syntax for using context IDs with a web server:

index.html?contextid=xxxxx

Where xxxxxx is the context number/context ID.

Example:

http://<path goes here>index.html?contextid=60672
Regards,
Tim (EC Software Documentation & User Support)

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Re: Context-sensitive help is breaking with new PP 3.46 skin

Unread postby Alexander Halser » Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:50 am

Hello Marie-Christine,

I'm Alexander Halser, senior developer of Help+Manual and managing director at EC Software. I've followed this thread just reading it so far, but the entire case is a bit confusing. Let's start all over and get through it step by step, ok? I reassure that the context numbers are working correctly in Webhelp. What puzzles me, however, is that it sometimes works for you if you change the path (e.g. http://127.0.0.1/D:/<path>) and that you cannot send emails to our support address. To me, this looks like security blockers at your side. But let's find out where the problem is.

First question: how do you distribute the Webhelp generated with H&M?

a) Is it distributed locally with your software? That is, you put the HTML files into a sub-folder of your application and to display help, you open a particular url?

b) Is it distributed to a web server? If yes, can you tell me the url? (If the url is not public, please send it by email to alexander.halser@ec-software.com)


Second question: when you call the help, what is the exact url that you open in your browser?

The browser will display the url it received in the address line.


With these two questions answered, we should find your problem more quickly.
Alexander Halser
Senior Software Architect, EC Software GmbH
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Re: Context-sensitive help is breaking with new PP 3.46 skin

Unread postby Marie-Christine Mahe » Thu Jan 24, 2019 7:50 pm

Hi Alexander, thank you for helping detangle this..

This particular help we distribute with our software. This is Windows software, generally it gets put on a common server and accessed with a local-path URL. Let me emphasize that we do get to the home page of the help perfectly well, and in fact every attempt to get to a context-sensitive place lands us back there. So it's not like we're missing the whole package entirely, and we can manually navigate within it just fine, we just can't get to a specific spot in it directly by using context ID numbers.

Let me quote the developer for the windows app that can't get to you, about paths. This info was sent after Ti'ms link to the documentation, and my checking that we were indeed using the correct URL formation to get to context help.

"but you need to use the "#" character instead of the "?" character as the switch delimiter."

I thought that might be the answer I was looking for, but it didn't help. I tried that "#" substitution with one of the advanced skins:

HelpAndManual7\Templates\HTML Skins\Premium Pack 3.46\V3 Responsive WebHelp Skins\Flat_Blue_Diamond_WebHelp.hmskin

But, just as with "?", the browser always opens to the help home page, not to the topic that is addressed by its contextid.

For example, the same address...

file:///D:/HELP/Index.html#contextid=11007

... gets converted by the skin into:

file:///D:/HELP/index.html#index.html?&_suid=154775495711200870773984019283

Or if the "?" switch is used, the converted result is this:

file:///D:/HELP/index.html#Index.html?&_suid=15477553323540957158962273875

Note that the "suid" value differs according to whether the switch is "#" or "?". But in both cases, the help system opens to the home page instead of the desired topic page.

Whereas if I use one of the older skins along with the "?" switch, the same address...

file:///D:/HELP/Index.html?contextid=11007

... gets converted by the older skin into:

file:///D:/HELP/index.html?hdk3b9b7a10.html

Which is the correct topic page.


This is as far as we’ve gotten (we released the software with the old klunky-looking skin, since we were not getting any useful response from you). When he talks about 'advanced skins', he means 3.46 (we started from \HelpAndManual7\Templates\HTML Skins\Premium Pack 3.46\V3 Responsive WebHelp Skins\Boxed_Blue_Diamond_WebHelp.hmskin), and by 'older' he means 2.60 (there we took off from \HelpAndManual7\Templates\HTML Skins\Premium Pack 3.46\V2 WebHelp + EWriter Skins\WebHelp_MetroBlue.hmskin).

We use the following set of build options when generating the package:
favicon
no header menu
mail feedback
top-parent
topic footer
local without web server
no print option
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