Need help understanding how builds and domains work

Postby TR Lisa on Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:18 pm

So I have committed to using Central for my new help project. Definitely interested in the source control and project management tools. On the fence about the build tools. Some things I need to understand to make that decision are: 1) If we use Central to publish, can we publish to our existing domain? We have one main domain (product.help.com) and under that, 5 output folders (product.help.com/output1, output 2, etc. Can we use Central to publish to those domains with vanity URLs that match what we call them now? 2) If we use Central to publish to a new domain, and create a vanity URL, is that output going to be discoverable in search engines? Because that's a deal breaker. My company will not support any output that's publicly searchable.

Thanks!
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Re: Need help understanding how builds and domains work

Postby Nita Beck on Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:21 pm

Lisa, I think you need to pose your questions to MadCap rather than to your peers. I suggest you talk to your sales rep, who can put you in touch with the folks within MadCap who can address these technical questions.

Speaking only for myself, even if I thought I had some reasonable answers to your questions, I'd hesitate because I wouldn't want your corporation to spend money and lay plans on what might be faulty guidance, however well-intentioned to help a Flare pal.
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Re: Need help understanding how builds and domains work

Postby jmorse on Mon Aug 20, 2018 4:50 pm

Hi Lisa,

1) In June, we introduced support for Host Mapping for builds set to "Live" in MadCap Central. This gives more control over the URL that is used to access output hosted on Central. If you prefer to use your company’s URL instead of what Central provides, you now have the option of using a CNAME (Canonical Name) to map to your own host domain. The output will still be hosted on Central servers, but the URL that you give to end users will be your company’s domain and can match what you are using now instead of using mcoutput.com in the domain. More details (and an example) on how to do that can be found here: https://madcapsoftware.mcoutput.com/cen ... ty-URL.htm

2) When you set builds to the "Live" status in Central you have the option to prevent the output from being seen by search engines. If someone gets a hold of the URL it can still be accessed without logging in/authenticating to see the output, but it will not be picked up by Google and become "findable" in a Google search. Here is the information on excluding live builds from search engines: https://madcapsoftware.mcoutput.com/cen ... ngines.htm

Hope this helps!

-Jen

Jennifer Morse
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MadCap Software
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Re: Need help understanding how builds and domains work

Postby TR Lisa on Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:22 am

Thank you for both of your replies. I already have a license so cost is not an issue at the moment. But it will be a factor in deciding whether to formally adopt the product for content ops and renew maintenance next year.

I had read about the canonical URL in some current documentation and that seems to solve the URL issue. A little fuzzy on the details of how it works and need to figure out how to try it in a test environment before committing to a live publish. I did not see the part about excluding from search engines, which sounds pretty great. Right now I'm using a combination of robots.txt and Google admin 90-day exclusion requests. Very manual effort and not 100% effective.
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Re: Need help understanding how builds and domains work

Postby TR Lisa on Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:27 am

Oops forgot I had another question. Does anyone have a "making the case for removing IT ops from publishing" argument :) I have a feeling that will be a battle to fight here. Publishing anything directly to our servers may not be a popular suggestion. Currently I publishing to a staging area on the network and IT ops syncs the content to Production servers.
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