In continuation of Ankur’s blog post “Multi-Author Environments call for Shared and Reusable Resources”, I am going to further elaborate on the Resource Manager feature in RoboHelp 9 and it’s integration with SharePoint.
Resource Manager helps you maintain resources such as images, multimedia, style sheets (CSS), snippets, and baggage files in a shared location on your computer or network. Multiple authors can use these resources across RoboHelp projects and manage them from the Resource Manager pod in RoboHelp. If configured so, whenever you insert a copy of a shared resource in the project, RoboHelp establishes a link between the copy (in the project) and the original (in the shared location) and maintains that link onwards. Now whenever the original copy is updated, RoboHelp detects this and notifies the author about it, at that point author can sync his project’s copy on the click of a button. Authors also have the option to configure the Resource Manager such that no links are created when inserting copy of shared resource in the project. In this case, RoboHelp won’t establish and/or maintain any link between the two, and hence the two copies will stay independent.
To configure Resource Manager, do one of the following:
- Select Tools > Options. Click Resource Manager.
- Select View > Pods > Resource Manager. Click the Resource Manager Settings button.
In the Options dialog box, specify how you want to use shared resources in projects. Select either of the two: As Copy (the latter case) or As Linked (the former case).
The shared resources can reside on your shared network, local machine, or even in your SharePoint repository.
SharePoint is a popular platform for Web Content Management. Other capabilities of it include Document Management and Digital Assets Library. RoboHelp Resource Manager is able to serve content kept in the SharePoint Document Library to the RoboHelp project as shared resources. Benefits of this are enormous:
- An organization can keep its assets in a central Document Library in SharePoint, and RoboHelp Resource Manager will let these resources be shared/ used across multiple RoboHelp authors. If the resources are used as linked, whenever any resource in the Document Library in SharePoint is updated, Resource Manager in RoboHelp would be able to detect those changes and authors can sync those resources in their projects.
- Easy access to the latest and greatest corporate resources such as corporate branding assets, company logo, CSS, etc.
- Enable Technical Communicators to easily collaborate with the eLearning teams. Keep all your eLearning videos/demos in a shared location, and link them with your RoboHelp project(s). This way you always have the latest eLearning videos in your technical content.
- An author can use a Document Library in SharePoint to share her assets across projects.
- Take advantage of versioning capabilities of SharePoint for the shared resources.
Here is how you can integrate SharePoint with RoboHelp Resource Manager:
- Create a Document Library in SharePoint which will contain resources to be shared. Let’s say the library name is ‘Doc Lib’. In this case, the SharePoint server is installed at ‘apadia-svr’ with default installation settings, and the Document Library has been created at the top level site.
- Give adequate permissions (at least read permission) to the persons with whom you want to share this library.
- Populate the library with resources by uploading them to the server.
- In RoboHelp, open Resource Manager Pod and click ‘Add Shared Location’. On the dialog, select default/any folder and click Ok.
- Add Shared Location dialog pops up. Give a descriptive name and for the Path field, give ‘\\apadia-svr\Doc Lib’ and press Ok.
- And phew, we are done.
If your Document Library is not at top level site, include the path to that site where the Document Library has been created. For example, if the above Document Library is created in http://apadia-svr/wiki/mysubwiki site, you will need to give the \\apadia-svr\wiki\mysubwiki\Doc Lib in the Path field above.
SharePoint exposes it’s Document Libraries as network shared folder, Resource Manager connects to that using the network folder interface. Native Windows Authentication is used for this.
- If you don’t see any files on expanding the library folder, try exploring ‘\\apadia-svr\Doc Lib’ using Windows Explorer and make sure that you actually see the uploaded resources. Ask your SharePoint admin if you still don’t see anything.
- Any structural changes (adding/deleting/renaming files/folders) in the SharePoint Document Library will be reflected in Resource Manager on the next launch of RoboHelp.
A snapshot showing synced and out of sync resources:
Hope you find this useful.
RoboHelp Engineering Team