Do Master Projects work with Side/Top Navigation?

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Do Master Projects work with Side/Top Navigation?

Postby AbbyMats on Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:47 am

Hi All,
A number of years ago we created multiple "child" projects, then set up a "master project" that referenced all the children (via the TOC). All the projects used the Tripane skin. When the master project was generated, the total output included a \Subsytems directory, under which the output of each child's Help would be located. It was an encapsulated Help that you could easily add to or remove from the \Sybsystems directory and it would be reflected in the master Help output. It was great for modules that were sold separately; the module Help would be an integrated part of the total Help if you had it (it would appear in the TOC, search, etc., and you would never know it existed if you didn't have it.

Now I am experimenting with the Side and Top Navigation skins. I am using the same master and child projects and the only change is the skin. When I generate Help in the master project, I only get Help for the master project, which isn't much since it doesn't contain the projects. The child Help systems are not generated, and there is no \Subsystems directory in the output.

Does this mean that creating master Help output like I did before is not supported in the skin? Or does it mean that with a different skin I need to configure it differently? This has worked so well for us in the past that I hope it doesn't mean we are forever locked to the Tripane skin to be able to make this to work.

Thanks in advance for any advice or insight.
AbbyMats
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Re: Do Master Projects work with Side/Top Navigation?

Postby Nita Beck on Fri Apr 19, 2019 10:13 am

The term of art for your scheme is “runtime merging” or “merged projects”. No, Side Nav and Top Nav don’t support that kind of architecture. You might instead redesign your architecture to use global project linking and a “build” project that pulls the separate projects together.

Scott DeLoach led a webinar that touched on this approach; https://www.madcapsoftware.com/webinars/single-sourcing-best-practices-multiple-madcap-flare-projects/

HTH
Nita
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Re: Do Master Projects work with Side/Top Navigation?

Postby AbbyMats on Fri Apr 19, 2019 2:52 pm

Thanks for the information and link, Nita. I will experiment with this architecture, but I'm not sure that it will work for what we need.

The beauty of how we've been merging this is that when we install our software we can install - or not install - the individual Help output from under the \Subsystems. This allows us to scale the content based on what the customer bought. Each child project in this case is distinct, there is no duplicate information that needs to be shared/updated between projects. All users will get Help A when they purchase our main product, but whether Help B, Help C, and/or Help D are included in their installation depends on if they bought the licenses for B/C/D. It's very clean and self-contained when everything is merged. Unless I'm misunderstanding, it sounds like using the global project as a "build" project will just blend it all together, with no clean way to pull out Help for B/C/D. And having to do multiple builds for each possible Help configuration is not an option.
AbbyMats
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Re: Do Master Projects work with Side/Top Navigation?

Postby Nita Beck on Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:51 am

(Forgive my being very brief; I’m actually on vacation after MadWorld.)

I did not mean to suggest that you’d be limited to one gigantic build project that included content from all child projects. You can have multiple build projects, each one building from a different combination of child projects. In theory, that could get you the modularity you need. But, as you’ve indicated above, that doesn’t sound feasible for you.

Therefore, I’m not sure what else to suggest.
Nita
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