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Help Needed to Request a Feature

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Hello folks!
There is a feature I have been awaiting paitently for years,
ever since Conditional Build Tags came on the scene in RoboHelp.
Adobe has gotten closer than any of its predecessors at providing
this functionality, but just this week, I finally heard verbal
confirmation from Adobe that it doesn't yet do what I need it to
I am appealing to you for help. It seems that the only thing
that will motivate Adobe to provide this (or any) functionality is
a preponderance of user requests on their Feature Request form. I
have already filled this out more than once over the years, to no
I have detailed below, in 1989 characters, just what I want
and why I want it. If you are moved to also request this
functionality, please go to
select Feature Request, and if you want, simply copy and
paste my text below into the form. There is a 2000-character limit,
so I have tweaked the wording to make it all fit.
I have been drooling over this functionality for literally
YEARS, because I must maintain 5 separate projects in order to
provide my programmers with all of the different outputs (in
essence, different languages) that we need.
Thanks a bundle!
*******Enhancement / FMR*********
Brief title for your desired feature:
Apply Conditional Build Tags (CBTs) to Topic Titles Appearing
in Search Results
How would you like the feature to work?
Concise problem statement:
On all outputs, the Search Results list is being populated
without my CBTs being applied.
Steps to reproduce bug:
1. Create English & French CBTs.
2. Apply English & French CBTs to topic content,
including to the Topic Title, when displayed in the Design Editor
pane. (This must be done in the Design Editor pane, because CBTs
are not accepted by RH7 in the Topic Properties in the Topic Title
3. Create 2 new duplicate layouts, which use the English
& French CBTs.
4. Generate outputs for both English & French (WebHelp,
FlashHelp, HTMLHelp--it does not matter which one).
5. View the French output & go to the Search tab.
6. Search for a French topic title. The Help file does indeed
find the appropriate topic. However, the Search Results list
displays the ENGLISH topic title. If I display the associated topic
in the right-hand pane, I do see the French topic title there, as
well as the French content.
Desired results:
7. The Search Results list should display the FRENCH topic
title in the left-hand pane.
Why is this feature important to you?
No matter which language, our application is going to call
the same specific URL to fulfill a Help request. I use the Map ID
number in the Topic ID field. When I generate WebHelp output, each
topic will have a "Name.htm" which appears as "MapIDNumber.htm".
For instance, "388.htm" is the filename on WebHelp output for the
topic whose Topic Title is "View" in English & "Afficher" in
This feature is important because RH7 will not allow the same
Map ID number or the same Topic ID to be used on more than one
source topic. I need to be able to apply the same Topic ID to
whatever language condition I want, and therefore, my one source
topic must contain all languages with their CBTs applied.


Hello, and thank you all so much for your interest in my
Since I have much to address, I will quote each person and
then reply to their comments. (Ooops! I have so much to say, I must
address each of your posts separately.)
Originally posted by:
Peter Grainge
I can see the problem this gives you but I am not sure it is
a bug.
It's a bug in the sense that the output is not fully in
French, in every way possible.
Originally posted by:
Peter Grainge
There is a difference between the Topic Title, as in the
Topic Properties and the Topic Heading, as at the top of your
Yes, you are right. In the Design Editor, I am editing the
topic title where the Heading style is applied. I suppose the
correct term for this item is indeed "Topic Heading."
Originally posted by:
Peter Grainge
It sounds like your layout is to have English content and
French content in the same topic and exclude whatever you need to
for a particular output.
In actuality, I use the Advanced button on the Layout to
Define my CBT Expression. I choose to INCLUDE my desired CBT by
Adding the Tag for a particular output.
For English, I would choose to INCLUDE my English CBT; for
French, I would choose to INCLUDE my French CBT.
In my world, there are multiple English names for the very
same widget. Therefore, I use multiple English conditions to
deterime which name should appear for a particular widget. I mark
the rest of the text with ALL of my English conditions, and mark
the French text with my French conditions. (I MUST mark the English
as English, simply because my source topic also contains French
text. This is the only way to leave the English out of the French
Now, imagine that I want to output just one of my English
conditions. If I were to use Exclude for all of the other English
conditions, then the very text that is marked for all of my English
condtions would never make it into my output.
I have tested this, and found that if I simply include only
the desired CBT, it works beautifully. I don't get the French, and
I do get all of the appropriate text for my indicated English
Originally posted by:
Peter Grainge
I don't do any foreign language work but my understanding is
that those who do maintain two topics and use the tags on the whole
That's what Adobe tried to tell me to do. I explained to them
the issue with the same URL being used in all of my conditional
For instance, I want Help to come up and display the exact
topic whose name in English is "View." This topic has been assigned
a Map ID of 388. I have also edited the Topic ID to use the number
388. When I generate WebHelp output, you see this topic generated
as "388.htm."
Now, in my French output, this topic would have a different
title appearing--in French, it would be called "Afficher." My
programmers have our application programmed to call "388.htm,"
regardless of what language is running.
RH source topics cannot use the same topic ID on more than
one topic. Because of this RH limitation, I must put the source
text for both languages inside only one source topic: the topic
whose Topic ID is 388.
Originally posted by:
Peter Grainge
If a topic is in, then you will get whatever is in the Topic
I told the Adobe employee who called me that they need to
code RH so it looks for the Topic Heading material for the text
they use to populate their Search Results list. He sounded
intrigued by my idea, and said he would tell their engineers about
The only other alternative I can imagine at this point is to
allow CBTs to be applied to the Topic Title text. I have even
attempted to manually apply this in the HTML Editor pane. The
trouble is, when I switch away to the Design Editor pane and then
back to the HTML Editor pane, all of the CBTs that I manually
applied have been lost--and it doesn't matter if I Saved first!
They are simply discarded by RH.
Originally posted by:
Peter Grainge
I suspect that would be because of the way the Microsoft
compiler works and Adobe cannot control that, nor do I expect
Microsoft to make any changes to accomodate this need.
This is exactly the sort of programming issue they earn the
big bucks to solve--establishing workarounds for the technologies
at work.
I have to believe it's solvable, because, as I have told the
Adobe folks, their competitor MadCap had the exact same issue with
one of their early versions, and they even told me: "The Search
Results list is being populated before the conditions are being
applied." I called them on it, they worked to solve it, and they
ultimately did solve it in Flare by reworking one of their *.DLL
Maybe I'm comparing apples to oranges, but I still have faith
that this can be solved. My only problem is how long it is taking
to get this issue onto their radar. I have been requesting this
functionality for over 1.5 years!
Originally posted by:
Peter Grainge
Maybe some folks who work in multiple languages could chip in
and advise how they work.
I am guessing that where Map IDs are used for the call, they
maintain two projects so that the "same" topic can have the same
I already do this in RH X5. I maintain five separate
projects, which contain about a dozen different conditions.
However, I have never yet used CBT functionality on the text
in my 5 projects, because my source remains in Word to this day,
and only RH HTML even comes close to giving me the conditional
output I require. In today's Help files, our users must read and
find the text that applies to their condition, because they are
often presented with text like so:
Condition A
* If you are Condition A, then the software does this...
Condition B
* If you are Condition B, then the software does this...
Condition C
* If you are Condition C, then the software does this...
Condition D
* If you are Condition D, then the software does this...
Condition E
* If you are Condition E, then the software does this...
I was actually asked to split out our conditions in this
manner by managers at my company.
Now, if I were a user, I would HATE having to read
documentation like this.
We actually split out our conditions in this way in 2002!,
anticipating that eHelp or (later) Macromedia or (now) Adobe would
provide the CBT functionality so I could hide all of the other
conditions, and give my users a Help file customized specifically
for their business line. It's now 6 years and counting...
Since I will have some major prep work to do in order to
import my text with minimum pain into RH 7 HTML, I just won't do it
until or unless I can prove that I will be able to output all of my
conditions flawlessly. It doesn't pay my company to do the import
and cleanup if we can't produce the product we are required to give
our users.
Marjorie (reply 1 of 4)

Read other 21 answers


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