RoboHelp: the incredible vanishing "Contents" tab!

Subject: RoboHelp: the incredible vanishing "Contents" tab!
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "Techwr-L (E-mail)" <TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2000 12:48:40 -0400

Here's a "poser" for you: two seemingly identical help files that don't
compile identically. Details:

I've got two WinHelp files (one English, one French) both created in
RoboHelp 5.X and Word 97. As far as I can tell, the project settings are
identical, but when I compile them, the English help file jumps right to the
table of contents (which is what I want it to do) but the French file has no
table of contents button at all and opens at the Index tab instead.

I tried changing the topic ID in the French file (to remove accented
letters) and relinked the contents field to the new topic ID, just in case
the help compiler has a problem with topic IDs that contain French accents,
but that didn't help. In desperation, I opened the .HPJ project files
themselves in an ASCII editor, and they seem identical there too, though the
configuration options are in a slightly different order in the two files.
Any thoughts as to the cause of the problem and possible fixes?

While we're on the subject, the project file contains the forbidding words
"Don't edit this; it's maintained by RoboHelp". But surely it's just an
ASCII text file, right? I've edited these suckers by hand in the past, when
I coded help files by hand, but does RoboHelp work sufficiently differently
that I should heed its advice and stay well clear of the .HPJ file?

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

"Technical writing... requires understanding the audience, understanding
what activities the user wants to accomplish, and translating the often
idiosyncratic and unplanned design into something that appears to make
sense."--Donald Norman, The Invisible Computer

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