"Exclude content..." not excluding...anything

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"Exclude content..." not excluding...anything

Postby chuck_agari on Tue Mar 10, 2020 8:05 pm

Background: I decided long ago that I wanted a single Flare project as a full content repository, and that I'd use TOCs to drive what content should be in outputs. And I thought I'd gotten this resolved before, but in my most recent HTML5 builds, it looks like the output contains pretty much every file in the project, topics, images, everything.

I remember seeing this discussed before--I think I was even a part of at least one of those discussions--but I can't find any. (Interestingly, search the forums here for the literal text of the setting, "Exclude content not linked directly or indirectly from the target," and the forum search returns no results.)

I'm not sure where to even begin to start searching to track down the root cause.

This is an issue because the product-specific help systems return search results that include topics that are not for that product. This just cannot happen.
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Re: "Exclude content..." not excluding...anything

Postby Dave Lee on Wed Mar 11, 2020 1:01 am

My advice would be:

* If you want to accurately and reliably control what is or isn't included in an output, use conditions.

* If you want a quick way to exclude content, but don't care too much about what is or isn't included in the output, then use Exclude content not linked directly or indirectly from the target.

I don't use Exclude content... because I don't have time to check the output of every single build and look for surprises. I can't memorise the 1000s of links in my projects, so I can't predict what Exclude content... will do.
By using conditions, I can look at the source and know exactly what will or won't be included, before I build the output.

So if the Exclude content... setting gives you concerns, or doesn't work they way you expect it to, then don't use it and use conditions instead.
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Re: "Exclude content..." not excluding...anything

Postby chuck_agari on Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:01 am

I can't use just conditions because I have many topics that are reused. Also snippets and variables.

I am using that setting. It is not working--or not working as I expect.

Today I begin the gruesome process of digging in and trying to decipher just exactly what the heck Flare is doing. It occurred to me last night as I struggled to sleep that I've made two changes that I think could be significant: I switched output types (from a tripane skin to a side navigation skin), and I included a common glossary in one of the outputs, a glossary where I AM using conditions to determine what terms get included in the output. I'm not sure how to investigate the former, but I can remove the glossary and see if that makes a difference.

One odd thing I noticed also. Long ago, I worked on making a "help center" where help for all products could be accessed. This turned out to be untenable. The topic that was the home page for that is still included in the outputs, even though it has no overt links to it from anywhere in the target. That's a place I can investigate too. But this is not going to be a fun day.
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Re: "Exclude content..." not excluding...anything

Postby chuck_agari on Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:25 am

I want to go on in the vein of this home page. I looked at the Link Viewer for that topic. In the Associated Targets list, all of my individual product help targets are listed. The help topic for this (https://help.madcapsoftware.com/flare20 ... k%20Viewer) specifically says :You can see which targets are associated with the file that has focus. This is useful, for example, because it lets you know which outputs will be affected when you make changes to that file. The link to the target might be direct (e.g., the active file is a topic that is included in the table of contents for a target) or indirect (e.g., the active file is a snippet that has been inserted into a topic that is included in the table of contents for a target)."

I know for a fact that this topic is not included in any TOC that these targets use. I also know that this topic is not a snippet. So this information is at best incomplete or misleading.

I'm not sure I want to delete this stuff in case our situation changes and we want to use the help home page idea again. It was a PITA to get right, and I don't want to lose that work.
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Re: "Exclude content..." not excluding...anything

Postby ChoccieMuffin on Thu Mar 12, 2020 8:34 am

Do you have a "DO_NOT_USE" condition that you can apply to the topic and exclude that condition in your build? That way you won't lose the work you've done, but it should not be included in the build. Gve it a try and come back to us.

I dispute your "I can't use conditions" statement though, because that is simply not true - you could, but it would take a good deal of thinking about to get the condition expression correct in the target. You'd need to use the ADVANCED condition editor, and that can indeed be complicated. Complicated, but not impossible. See the help https://help.madcapsoftware.com/flare20 ... ssions.htm.
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Re: "Exclude content..." not excluding...anything

Postby doloremipsum on Thu Mar 12, 2020 2:10 pm

Or of course you can always just remove the old Home Page from your project and just file it somewhere else! That would actually have an added bonus: if that Home Page is being secretly linked somewhere in your project, removing it should create an error in the build log which might help you track down the offending link.

I think the issue with condition tags in this situation is that you would need to go through and tag every individual topic file with a tag for each target that it is included in - which would be an absolute pain! If topics are reused a lot between different targets in the same project it isn't always practical to just tag the folder, because topics in one folder may end up being used elsewhere.
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Re: "Exclude content..." not excluding...anything

Postby chuck_agari on Fri Mar 13, 2020 9:43 am

doloremipsum wrote:Or of course you can always just remove the old Home Page from your project and just file it somewhere else! That would actually have an added bonus: if that Home Page is being secretly linked somewhere in your project, removing it should create an error in the build log which might help you track down the offending link.

I think the issue with condition tags in this situation is that you would need to go through and tag every individual topic file with a tag for each target that it is included in - which would be an absolute pain! If topics are reused a lot between different targets in the same project it isn't always practical to just tag the folder, because topics in one folder may end up being used elsewhere.

The weird part is that looking at the Link Viewer for that old home page, it didn't have any links to or from any files that would have been in any of the target outputs, but listing all of the targets themselves in the top pane was weird. I did not understand this at all, and the help helped not. I did copy that and the target out of the project and the product target outputs improved marginally.

What I ended up doing, and I still need to review the resulting outputs a bit more deeply, was to apply conditions. But not to topics.

I have my content arranged in sub-folders by product, plus a Common folder for topics that are re-used in multiple products. So I tried applying conditions to the folders themselves. I assumed that the condition would cascade down to all of the folder's ancestors. And while this did not appear visually, the target output did seem to include only the folders for the target's product, plus the Common folder.

Still, the existing setting, in that it states "linked directly and indirectly," does not engender confidence, at least not in my use case where I'm using TOCs to define outputs. I'd love to see an added setting something along the lines of "Under no circumstances include topics in this target output any topics other than those specifically in the target's TOC, plus any related resources."
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Re: "Exclude content..." not excluding...anything

Postby Dave Lee on Mon Mar 16, 2020 12:54 am

chuck_agari wrote:Still, the existing setting, in that it states "linked directly and indirectly," does not engender confidence


There are quite a lot of posts about Exclude content... including files that people didn't expect.
I think the setting does actually work, but there's a lack of reports/tools to trace what's been included and why.

That's why I suggested using conditions, if you need a reliable and predictable output.

chuck_agari wrote:I can't use just conditions because I have many topics that are reused. Also snippets and variables.


I have complicated projects with a lot of content re-use, but can still manage them using the standard Exclude and Include (as an override).

If you can currently produce output just using Exclude content..., then there's no practical reason you can't use conditions, as they can handle much more complex scenarios.
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Re: "Exclude content..." not excluding...anything

Postby katrinabmg on Thu Oct 29, 2020 11:47 am

It seems that in flare 2020r2 the checkbox option on the target 'Exclude content not directly or indirectly linked' has been replaced with a dropdown Content to Include: All Content / Content Linked Directly or indirectly from the target / Content linked directly from the TOC.
This took me a minute to find, and also defaulted to all content, even though the target originally had the exclude checkbox enabled.... I guess the setting doesnt translate now that there are 3 options.
This is probably only partly relevant to this discussion, but since its a recent post and the first thing I hit when trying to figure this out I thought I would post.
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Re: "Exclude content..." not excluding...anything

Postby Dave Lee on Fri Oct 30, 2020 1:18 am

katrinabmg wrote:It seems that in flare 2020r2 the checkbox option on the target 'Exclude content not directly or indirectly linked' has been replaced with a dropdown Content to Include: All Content / Content Linked Directly or indirectly from the target / Content linked directly from the TOC.
This took me a minute to find, and also defaulted to all content, even though the target originally had the exclude checkbox enabled.... I guess the setting doesnt translate now that there are 3 options.
This is probably only partly relevant to this discussion, but since its a recent post and the first thing I hit when trying to figure this out I thought I would post.


It's covered in the what's new help: https://help.madcapsoftware.com/flare20 ... nclude.htm

The old setting does correspond to the new setting Content linked directly or indirectly from the target.
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