Best webserver and web publishing tools. Please help

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Best webserver and web publishing tools. Please help

Unread postby Othmane Bouzoubaa » Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:55 am

Dear Community
I’ve been using help&manual to create great user guides for a software suite. This software suit us modular. And I created a web help project for each module. There are currently about 20 modules in the solution suite. As the modules evolve functionally and technically, so the user guides do. So there are multiple versions for each user guide (each module).

I’m using GIT as a repository for the several versions of the software and the user guides

My question to you is the following
I would like to make these user guides at the disposition of customers in a way that each customer can access the user user guides of the modules he acquired and only the specific version he is using for each module. I’m thinking of a login password based access to documentation as part of the overall company website. Or maybe in an independent site dedicated to documentation. When a user would login, the target solution would fetch which modules such user acquired and which version of each module, and only allow access to the corresponding users guides (to be got from GIT)

Did anyone of you guys did this before ? What tools would you recomm nd. Is a web publisher able to manage such intelligencia ? If yes, which one ? If no, what do you recommend

Many thanks in advance to help suggestions and help

Othmane Bouzoubaa
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:45 pm

Re: Best webserver and web publishing tools. Please help

Unread postby Tim Green » Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:24 am

Hi Othmane,

Access control of the kind you describe is generally restricted because it is not supported by the documentation formats themselves. The Microsoft CHM format has no facilities for selective display of content with user login. Everything in the CHM file is always available and there is nothing you can do to change that. The situation is similar for formats like Adobe PDF and ePUB eBooks -- once the user has access to the document or eBook they can access all of its content.

In WebHelp for access on intranets or the Internet with a normal web browser -- which is the format you are using -- it is not possible to restrict access to individual pages or content on a user basis. First of all it would require a complete login system with user name and password management integrated in the WebHelp. And secondly, the actual restriction would still not really work: Any user familiar with a browser could make the hidden pages and content visible very easily, and they would also still be available via the search and keyword index features, which cannot be filtered like this.

For that to be really possible the entire structure and functioning of the WebHelp generated by Help+Manual would have to be radically changed. The content of the individual pages would need to be stored in a relational database on the web server and rendered to HTML on demand, linked to a similarly database-linked customer login system with individual user names and passwords for all your users. And even that would only be half a solution: It still wouldn't address the problem of how to search the WebHelp or have a keyword index. Since the search index must be generated in advance (searching would be uselessly slow otherwise) you would have to find a way to generate separate indexes for every possible configuration of search content you want to present to your users, and also find a way to switch between them as required. The same would apply to the keyword index. You would have to have separate keyword indexes for every possible configuration generated in advance, and switch between them too.

What you can do is generate different WebHelp versions of your documentation for your different user groups, which is easy with Help & Manual's conditional output facilities. Then you store each version in a different location on your web server and use your existing user login system to direct users from each group or category to the appropriate versions. Then there is also no question of users being able to access inappropriate content, because only the content that they are meant to see is in the version they are accessing; there is nothing else to find. However, doing this does require a separate login system on your web server with a database of user names and passwords and the appropriate management functions for the same. That can't be implemented in the WebHelp itself.
Tim (EC Software Documentation & User Support)

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Re: Best webserver and web publishing tools. Please help

Unread postby Othmane Bouzoubaa » Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:31 pm

Thank you so much Tim
Of course, that was the solution that I thought of initially. Using Master project with relevant sub projects for each customer
I was trying to push further to see if I could avoid duplicating a project for each customer (for the sake of space in the webserver) but it looks like its not quite easy
Thanks anyway
Best regards
Othmane Bouzoubaa
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:45 pm

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