What’s new in RoboHelp Server 9

RoboHelp Server 9 rolls out a host of much-requested new features. The first change that you’ll notice is the fresh, aesthetically-appealing user interface.

There’s plenty more.

Reporting enhancements

  • Functionality to filter reports by area
  • New, intuitive names for the reports
  • Improvements to the graphical representation of reports
  • Functionality to export report data to the CSV format
  • Flexibility to customize reports by showing/hiding columns. Column layouts can be saved across sessions.
  • Fine-tuned numerical data in reports

Configuration Manager enhancements

You can now perform the following additional tasks using the RoboHelp Server Configuration Manager:

  • Migrate context data from RoboHelp Server 8 to RoboHelp Server 9
  • Deploy a context in the root context
  • Delete contexts
  • Set up an admin account for RoboHelp Server using LDAP authentication or database authentication
  • Configure LDAP settings
  • Configure search indexing settings

Search-related enhancements

Project stop list for server-side indexing: Unlike RoboHelp 8, the stop list specified in a RoboHelp HTML project is now used for server-side indexing.

Project synonym list for server-side indexing: Unlike RoboHelp 8, the synonym list specified in a RoboHelp HTML project is now used for server-side indexing.

Synonym highlighting: Synonyms for a keyword being searched for are highlighted in the search result list. This enhancement is available only for WebHelp Pro output published using RoboHelp HTML 9.

Dynamic context in search results for server-side indexing: RoboHelp Server now displays dynamic context along with search results. Apache Lucene, the text search engine library powering search in RoboHelp Server, displays the relevant words around a keyword as context in the search result list. This feature is available only for WebHelp Pro and FlashHelp Pro projects published to RoboHelp Server with server-side indexing enabled.

  • For keywords within topics, words in the immediate vicinity of the keyword in the topic are displayed as context.
  • The static context of the topic is displayed for user-specified keywords. The first few words of the topic comprise static context.
  • In the case of external resources for keywords, the URL description of the external resource is displayed as the dynamic context.

Other technical enhancements

  • RoboHelp Server logs are now created in a consolidated log file (robohelpserver.log) under the <Tomcat Home>/logs folder. All RoboHelp Server-related exceptions and warnings are logged in this file. This new log file is generated using the Apache log4j logging framework.
  • You can now host RoboHelp Server over HTTP Secure (HTTPS) to ensure secure communications between the server and clients.
    • Authors can publish their RoboHelp HTML projects using HTTPS
    • End users can view projects on the server over HTTPS
    • The RoboHelp Server Web Administrator and reports can be viewed over HTTPS as well

Looking for more information? Check out these useful community resources:

RoboHelp Server: An introduction

As technical communicators, one of our key responsibilities is to optimize the value of the user-assistance content that we deliver. What defines the value of content? I focus on the following key indicators:

  • The topics should be search-optimized and populated with the right keywords. Users should be able to reach the right topics when they search using the relevant keywords (if not close to relevant keywords!).
  • Once users reach a topic, they should be able to quickly find answers to the most pertinent questions that they have in that product area.
  • Based on the Web traffic details for a topic, key documentation areas must be identified and optimized.

For optimizing content in alignment with these indicators, we need specific information about our users’ content access patterns. This is where RoboHelp Server proves valuable as a powerful application for hosting, tracking, and managing RoboHelp output in multiple formats.

The many reports that RoboHelp Server provides help identify how users navigate user-assistance content and the product areas where this content needs to be strengthened:

  • Search Terms with No Results: Search terms that returned no results and the number of times users searched for them
  • Frequently Searched Terms: Frequently-searched keywords and how many times users searched for them
  • Frequently Accessed CSH: Frequently-accessed context-sensitive Help topics and how many times they are accessed. The report is arranged by the context IDs of the CSH topics.
  • Frequently Viewed Topics: Report on Topics that end users view most often
  • Usage Statistics: Chronological graphical report of the number of hits to the Help system as a whole. Pages searched for and not opened reflect in this list. The usage statistics report has three additional tabs:
  • Page Views: Number of pages viewed over a given window of time. The window of time is determined by the labels along the X axis.
  • Pages Per Visit: Number of pages viewed per visit. Every instance when a user opens the project is considered as a separate visit. Visits from different Web browsers are counted separately.
    • Browser: Comparative data about the Web browsers in which users viewed the Help content
    • OS: Comparative data about the operating systems on which users viewed the Help content
  • Search Trends: The percentage of search terms that returned no results. The detailed view of this report gives the total number of search terms and how many of them returned results/no results.
  • Help System Errors: Error messages encountered by the current logged-in user

Ankur Jain, Adobe’s product manager for RoboHelp, shares his perspective of the business relevance of these reports in an excellent blog post titled, Create What They Want to Read.

For the while, I’ll leave you with some other insightful community content for RoboHelp Server:

Explore these links and do come back later for more information and tips. Happy reading!

Search enhancements in RoboHelp Server 9

Tulika Goel from the RoboHelp team has posted a useful article on search enhancements in RoboHelp Server 9 at the Technical Communication blog.

Starting with RoboHelp Server 9, authors can continue to leverage strengths of Lucene Search Engine and also retain control over the search results. RoboHelp provides a number of constructs like Synonyms, Stop List and External Keyword Search; using which authors can controls search results for specific words.

Read the complete article here.

If you’re looking for RoboHelp Server 9 documentation, you can download the PDF from this URL. The Adobe RoboHelp Server 9 Reviewer’s Guide is here (PDF).

Content Services: WebSphere stops responding when many concurrent threads are running

When the storeContent operation for Content Services 9 is invoked with more than 30 threads, the WebSphere application server may stop responding.

Follow these steps to resolve the issue:

  1. In WebSphere Administrative Console, click Servers > Server Types > WebSphere application servers and then click a server name.
  2. In the right pane, click Thread pools under Additional Properties.
  3. Click WebContainer and, on the Configuration page, increase the value of the Maximum Size field by double the number of threads that you need to run. For example, increase the value of the Maximum Size field by 80 if you want to run 40 threads.
  4. Click Apply or OK.
  5. Click Save directly to the master configuration.
  6. Restart the WebSphere application server.

Convert files to PDF using Adobe Reader

Adobe Reader X features nifty integration with Acrobat.com that lets you quickly convert many types of files to PDF. At last count, many popular formats, including the following, are supported for conversion:

  • Adobe PostScript (PS) and Encapsulated PostScript (EPS)
  • Adobe Photoshop (PSD), Adobe Illustrator (AI), and Adobe InDesign (INDD)
  • Microsoft Excel (XLS, XLSX), Microsoft PowerPoint (PPT, PPTX), and Microsoft Excel (XLS, XLSX)
  • Text (TXT) and Rich Text Format (RTF)
  • Image files (bitmap, JPEG, GIF, TIFF, PNG)
  • Corel WordPerfect (WPD)
  • OpenOffice and StarOffice presentation, spreadsheet, graphic, and document files (ODT, ODP, ODS, ODG, ODF, SXW, SXI, SXC, SXD, STW)

To walk you through the process, let me convert a PowerPoint presentation to PDF. (Simply click any of the screenshots below to view them full-size.)

  1. In Adobe Reader X, select File > CreatePDF Online.
  2. In the Create PDF Files area in the right pane, click Add File and then select the file that you want to convert to PDF. I selected Sample_presentation.pdf.
  3. Click Convert and, when prompted, sign in using your Adobe.com credentials (Adobe ID). Adobe Reader uploads the file to CreatePDF Online and then converts it to PDF. The converted file is saved online by default.
  4. To save the converted file locally to your computer, click Retrieve PDF File. Adobe Reader displays the CreatePDF repository in a browser window, so that you can work with it.
    • Select the newly-created PDF file (in my case, Sample_presentation.pdf) and click Download. Save the file to a local directory.
  5. Note that you can also use the online CreatePDF view to combine multiple PDF files. Now, isn’t that cool?

    I’m sure you’ll love these new Adobe Reader features! For more information, refer to this Help article.

The Adobe TV Community Translation project

Adobe has just launched an innovative project, Adobe TV Community Translation. The project, as described on the Adobe TV site, extends the reach of Adobe TV content by enabling volunteer translators worldwide to translate videos into any language. I have already signed up as a translator for Hindi.

Nandini Gupta, my colleague, has shared information about the project at the Technical Communication Suite blog.  I am including the details verbatim below:

Participants in the program use a simple, intuitive interface provided by our partner dotSUB to translate the closed-captioning titles line-by-line. The translation becomes available as a closed-captioning track on the video, and also appears as a searchable, interactive transcript alongside the video.

The Community Translation page on the Adobe TV site has detailed information about the project, including translator resources such as guidelines and FAQ. For your quick understanding, here are some excerpts from the FAQ.

Who can translate for Adobe TV?

Anyone with fluency in English and at least one other language can apply to be a translator. To apply to be a translator, visit the Become a Translator page and fill out the questionnaire. Once you are approved, you will receive instructions on how to set up an account with our technology partner dotSUB. You will perform all your translations through dotSUB’s website.

Will you get paid to translate Adobe TV content?

Adobe TV translators are volunteers, so there is no payment for completing translations. For every minute of video you translate, you will earn 50 Adobe TV points. Translators with at least 2,000 Adobe TV points get their profile featured in the Translator Showcase, which will launch soon.

How much time do you get to complete your translation?

When you choose a video to translate, you will have 30 days to complete the translation.

When I finish my translation, will it automatically be posted?

All translated episodes go through a review process before they can be posted to the site.

So if you’re aware that an audience in a language that you know can benefit from translated videos, sign up and get going. There have already been 154 translations completed, in 25 different languages. A list of translated videos is available at http://tv.adobe.com/translations/watch.