Accessing content in real time over the Internet is great but what if you are not connected to the web?
HelpServer's export facility allows you to store offline content objects to your own workstation which gives you the ability to view information while not connected to the Internet.
You can extract the HelpServer content into a variety of formats:
HTML Help (chm files).
Pure, structured html, a typical web-resource type.
PDF, to support printed output.
DITA maps (HelpServer does not validate against the DITA scheme).
If you equip the export function with the notification system, you can be informed if your offline content has changed so that you can re-export it.
Most of the time you will export an entire project folder but you can also export individual parts of a project such as a book or a chapter. The next example demonstrates how to export the entire ‘Animal information’ project in to an HTML file. Follow the same working principles to export to other output formats.
Exporting as HTML
Popup the menu of the folder for which you want to generate the output and select ‘Export > HTML’. The 'Export' window will open.
Selecting the primary options
On the first pane you can select various options that influence the exported result such as
Enabling or disabling the included hyperlinks that are outside the exported scope. If you leave these enabled then you will be able to click on the hyperlinks in the exported file. This will open a browser session to retrieve the hyperlink target in real time over the Internet. If the hyperlinks are disabled then they are not clickable. Of course the hyperlinks that refer to targets included in the exported scope remain active.
Excluding large files from the output. Any files larger then the amount specified in the spin button will not be included in the export. Usually this applies to links to video or sound files you might have inserted in the content.
The ‘Scheme’ to determine the look and feel of the HTML web pages.
The user profile.
Assembling HelpServer objects for output is a very dynamic process that is based on attributes in user profiles such as variables and values. Furthermore, security profiles based on the user profile can exclude folders and topics from the output. It is very important to select the correct user profile. By default your own profile is used but you can select another one by clicking on the ‘Browse’ button. The 'User chooser' window will open and you can select a specific user profile. The security determines the selectable user profiles here.
Selecting a user profile
This options is to generate an autorun file in case you want to put the output file on a CD or DVD.
Once you have set the primary options you can click ‘Next’ to continue.
Choosing the output location
On the pane of the 'Export' window you can choose a location to store the output by clicking on the ‘Browse’ button.
Choosing a directory
The output will be stored in a subdirectory of the chosen location. This subdirectory is related to the type of output. The chosen path is remembered in your profile. If you export another type next time, the different types of output will be neatly organized. The file name is derived from the folder class and the description and suffixed with the language code. You can change the file name but it is not stored in your profile.
Exploring and verifying sizes
By expanding the nodes on the 'Export' window you can fully explore the folder to have an idea of which content objects you are going to export. If you uncheck the box in front of a tree node you exclude parts of the content from the output. Unchecking a folder node always excludes the folder and its dependants. Unchecking a shared object excludes this object at all the places (folders) it is used. Here in this example we have excluded the glossary folder. This is useful if, for example, you start the export from a rather huge library and you want only a few books in the offline content.
If you click on ‘Verify sizes’ the entire folder will be scanned and each item’s size will be indicated in the tree node. Then the total amount of KB to be downloaded is indicated on the right lower part of window. This amount will be adjusted if you check/uncheck the nodes in the tree. In this way you have an idea of the amount of KB that will be transferred.
Click ‘Start’ to initiate the export.
If you export content for offline usage and you do not want other people to change it behind your back if might be a good idea to check it out persistently. You do this by selecting the 'Launch check out' option. Then the moment you click 'Start' on the 'Export' window the 'Check out' window pops up to perform a persistent check out.
Checking out the content persistently before exporting
If you interrupt this process by clicking on the 'Stop' button or by closing the window prematurely the entire export will be aborted.
Because this kind of check out is always persistent, the content remains checked out after you close your Workbench. You will have to perform a manual check in the moment you decide not to use the exported content anymore.
Next, the selected tree objects are scanned to collect all the selected objects and to include these in the output file.
If the content contains files, then these are downloaded one by one. This is performed on the ‘Export files’ window which will automatically popup.
Exporting the files
If you have selected the ‘Auto start file export’ option on the ‘Export’ window then the export of the files will automatically start. If this option is not selected, you will have to click on the ‘Start’ button of this window. The ‘Status’ column indicates the status of the export per file. Large files excluded from the output are marked in this column.On the first export, all the files in the project are processed. On the next export, only the changed files are processed on the condition that you export to the same location.
Export correctly executed
If the export is correctly executed you can find the output at the chosen location. The next image shows how the files and the folders of the exported content are organized.
The output at the chosen location
Double click the ‘Project_Animal information_en.html’ file to browse it in the web browser. Should you distribute the exported content then you will need to distribute the HTML file along with the entire ‘Files' subfolder.
Offline content shown in the web browser
In this example the 'Glossary' folder is not included because for demonstrative purposes we have chosen to excluded it from the export.
Users who browse content in the web browser can export content in a similar way. This is described here.
The batch exporting function allows you to export multiple file types in one operation. Follow these steps.
Performing a batch export
Popup the menu of the folder you want to export and select 'Export>Batch'.
Selecting the kind of output
Next, select the types you want to export and click 'Next' to continue and follow the same working principles at set the export options.
The location of the output
The export process will create a subfolder per output type you have chosen to neatly store the exported content.
You can import content from files that have the .dita or the .ditamap extension. You can also generate output that produces DITA files. HelpServer does not validate against the DITA scheme. However, you can use a third party tool such as XMetal to create your structured DITA files. If you import content from DITA files you can further develop it and generate various types of web-based and print-based output. You can of course send the HelpServer content back out to DITA to import it in another tool.
Notifications inform people about the occurrence of an event in a content management system. For example, such an event could be a change in the content, feedback that was added, or a request to contribute in the workflow. Notification enables or tells people to perform the correct tasks and make decisions.
In HelpServer, the inbox holds the messages from the notification system. These messages indicate what to do when an event has occurred, for example, when the content is read, reviewed, translated, or re-exported or when the feedback is read.
This feature is a valuable asset for workflow management, feedback, and annotations.