Importing older Robohelp files with hpj extension

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Importing older Robohelp files with hpj extension

Postby navoff on Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:54 pm

Let me preface this by saying I'm new to the company where I'm working and they had been using RoboHelp for a number of years before I got here. They are currently on RH 5. Some issue came up when they tried to upgrade that made them decide to stick with RH5. All their RoboHelp projects have an extension of hpj. Flare doesn't work with hpj files, only mpj or xpj files. Not having worked with RoboHelp myself (there's only one working copy at the company on a remote machine that someone is "tinkering" with at the moment), I don't know if it's possible or not, but can you open a RoboHelp project with an hpj extension and save it out as an mpj in RoboHelp 5?

I know one alternative is to generate an HTML file from the existing hpj project file and copy that into Flare. Is that the only option? If it's possible to save the existing hpj project out to mpj, would it make more sense to that and then import the mpj into Flare?

Any advice would be appreciated.
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Re: Importing older Robohelp files with hpj extension

Postby RamonS on Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:31 pm

You may be able to open up the .hpj file in RoboHelp for HTML (not that junk that uses Word - of all things - as editor) and if memory serves me right it converts it automatically into an .mpj based project. If that is not the case I suggest to either ask around or contact MadCap support to see if there are any other options.
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Re: Importing older Robohelp files with hpj extension

Postby navoff on Fri Jan 23, 2009 5:18 am

RamonS wrote:You may be able to open up the .hpj file in RoboHelp for HTML (not that junk that uses Word - of all things - as editor) and if memory serves me right it converts it automatically into an .mpj based project. If that is not the case I suggest to either ask around or contact MadCap support to see if there are any other options.


They appear to be using the junk that uses Word as it's editor (frankly, it surprised the hell out of me when I saw it the first time). She said they are on version 5 but looking at the files in the project directory, besides the .hpj file most have extensions of .doc and .rtf. I know they had been producing Winhelp files for inclusion in their software. One of the reasons for moving to Flare was that a) WinHelp was no longer being supported in Vista and b) the aforementioned difficulty in trying to upgrade their RoboHelp (which may have had more to do with whoever was their tech writer at the time than RoboHelp itself).

I was extremely confused since most programs will automatically convert older formats for the newer product. Maybe I need a primer on the various types of RoboHelp. Part of the problem is that we're dealing with a secretary who knows diddly about technical writing but has had to fill in with the tools when the company was between tech writers (and even sometimes when they had one), and an array of tech writers over the years of varying degrees of competency. Who knows what kind of misinformation was passed along.
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Re: Importing older Robohelp files with hpj extension

Postby RamonS on Fri Jan 23, 2009 6:41 am

I have to see if I can work something out for you at home, but that may take some time and mandates that I still have and find my RH X5 CD plus a VM to torture.
There are ways to make WinHelp work on Vista. One is to download and install the WinHelp viewer for Vista, which is available from Microsoft. As far as I know there is only a 32bit version. I mention this only for information's sake, not meaning to propose to go down that route.

One other idea may be to take the RTF/Word documents, clean them up, and import those into Flare. Or maybe just copy and paste the content of the various topics into brand new Flare topics. That may be worthwhile to do given that so many cooks were in the kitchen and most likely did not clean up as neatly as they should have. Plus, it will get rid of most if not all RH junk. The downside it that it is a lot work and really only viable if you have to deal with sth around 100 to 200 topics (there shouldn't be more because otherwise RH for Word crashes, or better to say, Word crashes and takes the RH plugin with it).
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Re: Importing older Robohelp files with hpj extension

Postby KevinDAmery on Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:08 am

The other possibility here is that it's the "real" RH version 5, not X5. (X5 was actually something like version 12 or 13 in sequential numbering.) That would explain using Word as the editor and having the old project format.

If you can't get the version of RH to create a project that Flare likes, another possibility is to go through CHM build (aka Microsoft HTML Help). If you make that, in the temporary files there should be a copy of the HHP and all the HTML assets that get used to create the CHM. Flare can use those to recreate a help project. You shouldn't loose too much going that route.
Until next time....
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Re: Importing older Robohelp files with hpj extension

Postby RamonS on Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:22 am

Uhm, yea, good point. I assumed it to be X5. RH5 is from what year? Must be eighteenhundredsomething. :lol:
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Re: Importing older Robohelp files with hpj extension

Postby navoff on Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:31 am

Surprisingly it was X5 (I found out when I had a chance to go into the program). Our initial efforts to do a CHM build were not effective as we couldn't find any temporary html files or .hhp files. Finally, we ended up calling support and after having us download some plugin and consulting with another support person, we were able to produce a set of HTML help files and from there import it into Flare. Whew!
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Re: Importing older Robohelp files with hpj extension

Postby Elrick on Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:02 am

navoff wrote:Surprisingly it was X5 (I found out when I had a chance to go into the program). Our initial efforts to do a CHM build were not effective as we couldn't find any temporary html files or .hhp files. Finally, we ended up calling support and after having us download some plugin and consulting with another support person, we were able to produce a set of HTML help files and from there import it into Flare. Whew!


Hi,

What were the plugins and what else did you need to do?

I have an HDK help source which I can't import directly to Flare (the hyperlinks are all HDK codes) and importing the Word documents only loses all the links, map IDs and index entries. Converting it to a hpj by importing it into RoboHelp carries all those across, but I can't then convert it from RoboHelp (X5.1 - we got marginally further than you before switching to Flare...) because I can't generate an xpj or anything.

Thanks
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Re: Importing older Robohelp files with hpj extension

Postby navoff on Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:15 am

Elrick wrote:
navoff wrote:Surprisingly it was X5 (I found out when I had a chance to go into the program). Our initial efforts to do a CHM build were not effective as we couldn't find any temporary html files or .hhp files. Finally, we ended up calling support and after having us download some plugin and consulting with another support person, we were able to produce a set of HTML help files and from there import it into Flare. Whew!


Hi,

What were the plugins and what else did you need to do?

I have an HDK help source which I can't import directly to Flare (the hyperlinks are all HDK codes) and importing the Word documents only loses all the links, map IDs and index entries. Converting it to a hpj by importing it into RoboHelp carries all those across, but I can't then convert it from RoboHelp (X5.1 - we got marginally further than you before switching to Flare...) because I can't generate an xpj or anything.

Thanks


Ah, sorry, that was two years ago. I don't remember anymore. If you have the paid support, I'd call Madcap's support line.
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Re: Importing older Robohelp files with hpj extension

Postby Elrick on Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:53 am

navoff wrote:Ah, sorry, that was two years ago. I don't remember anymore. If you have the paid support, I'd call Madcap's support line.


OK thanks. Will do.
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Re: Importing older Robohelp files with hpj extension

Postby i-tietz on Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:42 am

There might be a very simple solution to the problem:
(I know because that's how we did it)
You use RH to produce a WebHelp. There should be a .hhp file in the output folder - that one you can import into Flare:
html_help_project.png
html_help_project.png (1.94 KiB) Viewed 2456 times
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Re: Importing older Robohelp files with hpj extension

Postby navoff on Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:07 am

i-tietz wrote:There might be a very simple solution to the problem:
(I know because that's how we did it)
You use RH to produce a WebHelp. There should be a .hhp file in the output folder - that one you can import into Flare:
html_help_project.png


It does now, but I think when I first did this Flare was on version 4 and it didn't have that option, hence the need to get the plug-in.
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Re: Importing older Robohelp files with hpj extension

Postby i-tietz on Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:12 am

navoff wrote:It does now, but I think when I first did this Flare was on version 4 and it didn't have that option, hence the need to get the plug-in.

??? I don't understand what you say.
We transferred all our projects using Flare 3. Now we use V6.1 (see screenshot) - are you trying to tell me, that Flare V4 hasn't got that format in import?
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Re: Importing older Robohelp files with hpj extension

Postby navoff on Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:53 am

i-tietz wrote:
navoff wrote:It does now, but I think when I first did this Flare was on version 4 and it didn't have that option, hence the need to get the plug-in.

??? I don't understand what you say.
We transferred all our projects using Flare 3. Now we use V6.1 (see screenshot) - are you trying to tell me, that Flare V4 hasn't got that format in import?


Actually, I mis-wrote before. I didn't look that closely at your screen shot. The problem was that we didn't have .hhp files, only .hpj files. You'll see in the screen shot that it shows .mpj, xpj, and .hhp files, not .hpj.
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Re: Importing older Robohelp files with hpj extension

Postby i-tietz on Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:56 am

We got the .hhp file from producing a webhelp.
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Re: Importing older Robohelp files with hpj extension

Postby Elrick on Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:51 am

i-tietz wrote:There might be a very simple solution to the problem:
(I know because that's how we did it)
You use RH to produce a WebHelp. There should be a .hhp file in the output folder - that one you can import into Flare:
html_help_project.png


Thank you for that. However when I create webhelp from RoboHelp I'm not getting a HHP file. I am getting HHC and HHK files. I've got hidden files displayed in my Windows folder options and I've been through the compile options in RoboHelp and I can't see what I'm doing wrong. Any ideas?

Thanks
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Re: Importing older Robohelp files with hpj extension

Postby Nita Beck on Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:47 am

Interesting thread. I'm just now in the process of migrating a legacy ForeHelp project to Flare via RoboHelp.

Elrick, are you coming from RoboHelp for Word X5 or RoboHelp HTML for X5? I presume that you have access to both, as they were sold together as X5, as I recall.

Are you trying to go from RoboHelp for Word X5 straight to Flare? If so, that may be why you're not seeing an .hhp, which was suggested to you as a viable route into Flare.

I'm pretty sure that you can yield an .hhp file if you use RoboHelp HTML X5 as the intermediate step. Exit RH for Word, launch RH HTML X5, and open the RH for Word project from there. That will get everything out of the darned Word document and into separate .htm files. You don't really have to spend much time in the RH HTML project, but perhaps generate a .chm once just for good luck. I believe that if you examine the project folder (in Windows Explorer) you'll see now that you've got an .hhp.

Next try importing that .hhp into Flare. Any success?

In my ForeHelp to RoboHelp to Flare route, I found that a FH to RH for Word route was useless, but the FH to RH HTML route did yield that .hhp.
(Caveat: I have both RH X5 and RH X7, so I ultimately didn't use X5 at all, just X7, so that I could get an .xpj, which Flare plays nicely with. But I'm offering what little advice I can out of my observations as I tested the different routes to take...)

I hope this is useful. Please post back either way...
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Re: Importing older Robohelp files with hpj extension

Postby Elrick on Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:58 am

Thank you Nita. You have helped no end.

I'm a bit embarrassed now. I had forgotten about RoboHelp HTML (in my defence I haven't used RoboHelp in almost three years).

Converting the HDK source Help file to RoboHelp HTML created a useable source which could be converted to Flare without further work because RH X5 created an .xpj - although I might still generate the webhelp and pick up the .hhp file to see if it makes things any better, but that'll have to wait for another day as the project is over 6,000 topics and the compile and conversion times are correspondingly longer.

The conversion from HDK to RoboHelp has lost the index entries and map IDs from the original help (it had no toc). I'm not sure map IDs can be converted as they were handled very differently in HDK (I seem to remember problems around this when we converted other projects to RoboHelp in the last century), but I'm going to see if I can convert the index entries. It has, however, converted the old HDK hyperlinks (which were hardcoded in HDK) which is the one thing I really wanted to convert. I don't mind building a new index and alias file, but manually recreating tens of thousands of hyperlinks would have made the conversion impossible.

The style information hasn't come across intact either, with some of the styles having the wrong font size or losing some settings, but that is pretty easy to fix in the style sheet.

I'm going to play around with the conversion to RoboHelp to see what, if anything, I can salvage there before making my final conversion, but it is looking more promising.

Thanks again.

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Re: Importing older Robohelp files with hpj extension

Postby Nita Beck on Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:13 am

Glad to be helpful.

Regarding losing the index entries, try this:

Start over again by importing the original project into RoboHelp HTML. When the importer asks you how you want to handle index entries, elect to keep them in the HHK, not in individual topics. After that project is created, create a brand new Flare project and import THAT new RH project. Flare should know what to do with the HHK. Do you then get the index entries?

I spent a good 8 hours over the last few days working out all the issues with my FH to RH HTML X5 to Flare workflow, trying different import options at different stages and observing the results I got. Give it another whirl before deciding that you have to rebuild the index.

Good luck! Post back.

p.s. A bit off-topic: This idea re the HHK was actually inspired by one of my pals in the Rochester (NY) Flare User Group (a user group I founded a few years ago), whom I called yesterday for some advice as I knew she had already been through several RH-to-Flare conversions. I encourage all you propellerheads out there to form your own local Flare users communities. We here in the Rochester area meet monthly to share ideas, and we are constantly amazed at how much we learn from each other.
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