Re: Microsoft Help Compiler Problem

Subject: Re: Microsoft Help Compiler Problem
From: Hareesh Kumar K N <hari -at- CISCO -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 5 Dec 1997 10:34:53 +0500


I've seen this more than once while working with a tech support guy. Since
I didn't have any programming knowledge I just sat there watching him
fixing the error. So the explanation I'm trying to give you is largely
based on what I have seen and gathered from the techies. May be of some
help to you. Here goes.

> Compilation halts with the following message:
> Error 4639: Error in file '(our RTF file name)' at byte offset 0xDD71

The byte offset, as I understand, is caused by an extra '}' in the RTF
code. If you open your RTF file in notepad or any text editor, you'll see
the actual RTF code. What you need to look for is, I guess, whether the
braces ({ and }) are used correctly. That is wherever wherever you open a
brace ({) it should be closed somewhere. I'll try to explain this below.

For example, if your code goes like this

{\rtf1\ansi \deff5\deflang1033{\fonttbl{\f5\fswiss\fcharset0\fprq2
Wingdings;}}}{\stylesheet{\li115\ri130\sa48\widctlpar \f5\fs16 \snext0

You have to ensure every brace that is opened (using '{') should be closed
(using '}') as you do in 'C' programming language. In a huge file, this
process is quite cumbersome, and it may take hours to locate that single
'hanging brace'. If you get only byte offset it means you have the problem
in only one place.

Once you remove this, recompile and it should be OK. But remember, you'll
have to open the file in a text editor (such as Notepad or Notebook). Even
Wordpad will format your RTF file.

A programmer could have explained this scenario to you much better. But
this is all I could offer with my limited exposure to programming.

Another thing that causes byte offset sometimes is some special characters.
Again, if you open your RTF in a text editor, you'll see black blocks in
the text. This is some kind of a special character, and you have to remove
this. I've noticed this when the files were created in Word 97. (Only the
source .doc files,not the RTF).

Other than these, I've even seen even apostrophes causing byte offset. But
this is a very rare occurance. If someone with programming expertise can
scour through your RTF code, they can easily locate the source of error. I
mean, they will take a few hours less than one without programming background.

I don't know whether there are better ways to tackle byte offsets, but this
is the only effective way I've seen.

Note: Wherever I have used '{', the quotes are used just to highlight the
symbol. The quotation is not part of the code.

Hope this may help you sort out the problem.

Good luck


Hareesh Kumar K N
Executive - Information Development
HCL Consulting Ltd (CISCO ODC)
49-50 Nelson Manickam Road
Madras 600 029
PH:+91 44 481 9939-42 Ext.2231
Fax:+91 44 481 9938
E-mail:hari -at- cisco -dot- com

"Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will
appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it, and above all
accurately so they will be guided by its light."
-- Joseph Pulitzer, or

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