Using Sharepoint Online for Version Control with RoboHelp 2019

by tammyvb on June 11, 2020

With RoboHelp 2019, you can ensure everyone stays on the same page by enabling version control and sharing and collaboration across your organization with SharePoint Online. Although Adobe does provide instructions about setting up your RoboHelp 2019 environment for use with Sharepoint Online (https://helpx.adobe.com/robohelp/using/sharepoint.html), in my quest to set up my working environment properly, I discovered some previously undocumented requirements and a few key steps  that you must explicitly follow to ensure a smooth integration between SharePoint Online and RoboHelp 2019. Here I summarize this information, including a few tips and tricks to make the integration easier to maintain and troubleshoot.

Note: The following notes are written from the perspective of having local RH projects that you want to upload to Sharepoint. (You can also have RH projects that are already in Sharepoint that you want to download locally.  For additional support, see the following video from Adobe: https://bluejeans.com/s/cbMCm.)

  • By default, RoboHelp 2019 saves all projects to the following root folder structure: C:\<user>\Documents\My RoboHelp Projects. You can change this location when saving a RH project, but for easier tracing and troubleshooting, ideally, you should retain this default root structure. You can make your folder structure under My RoboHelp Projects as light or deep as you need to fit your organization’s business requirements and needs.

Figure 1

 

 

  • When you create your SharePoint Online folder structure, you must create the structure under the root Documents library of SharePoint. You cannot create the folder structure anywhere else.  For example, on the dev<client>.sharepoint site shown in Figure 2 below, (https://dev<client>.sharepoint.com/testsite) you can see the folder structure set up under the root Documents library of SharePoint Online.

Figure 2

  • After you create a new SharePoint site, or are added to an existing site in an Enterprise environment, you might need to wait 10 to 15 minutes for your user information/permissions to propagate before you set up your SharePoint connection to the site; even though the site is “there,” I encountered on several occasions the message that the site could not be found and prompting me to confirm that I had access to/permissions to the site if I then immediately set up a new connection in RH to the site. When I waited about 15 minutes, and then set up the connection, the connection was successful immediately
  • The folder structure under Documents can be as light or deep as you need it to be to fit your organization’s business requirements and/or needs. What is critical is the content that is already present in the SharePoint site that maintains your RH content. The more content (folders and files) that the site contains, then based on how SharePoint makes synchronization calls, the longer it takes for synchronization to complete. The ideal setup for your SharePoint folders is a site that is dedicated solely to your RH content, even working in the enterprise world. And although not a requirement, if your organization allows it, a folder structure that is as light as possible at the Documents level.  It is required, however, that all your SharePoint folders be blank, which is not an issue when you create a folder for the first time, but can become one if you want to re-use an existing folder structure. (Case in point: In a side by side comparison of a folder structure where one was set up on a dedicated site and the same structure was set up on a site that already contained deep content (folders and files), the server syncing process for the same project was 3 minutes for the dedicated site and over 12 minutes for the multi-content site. For me, with 20+ projects required for merged output, this time difference was untenable. I had to move my content to a dedicated site.)
  • Only a single RH project is allowed per SharePoint Online folder.

Figure 3

 

  • Every time you open a RoboHelp 2019 project, a .rh folder is created. Before you can integrate a RoboHelp project with SharePoint Online, you should prep the project by deleting the .rh folder.  After the integration is complete, then when you open the Robohelp project again, the .rh folder is recreated, but it is not an issue. (Although not a requirement, there are some cases where first deleting the .rh folder is a necessity and rather than running into hassles when you encounter one of these nebulous cases, it’s just safer to always make this step a part of your process.)

Figure 4

  • In Adobe’s instructions (https://helpx.adobe.com/robohelp/using/sharepoint.html), under the section titled: Add a project to SharePoint Online, Step 2 references the option  Collaborate > Add Project; however, this option is not available on the Collaborate menu until after you open your first local project in RoboHelp for your opened SharePoint connection.  You can use any of the available means to open your first local RH project that you are adding to SharePoint Online, but the quickest and simplest way is to simply double-click the project file in Windows Explorer and RH is launched and the project is opened in RH.  As long as you remained logged in to your SharePoint Connection, then the Add Project option remains persistent for the duration of your RH instance. Going forward, any time you open a SharePoint Online connection for which a RoboHelp project has already been saved, the Add Project option is displayed on the Collaborate menu.

Figure 5

Note: Remember, the local project must not contain the .rh folder and this must be the first time that you have opened the project in RoboHelp after deleting the .rh folder. If you have opened the project for some reason before adding it to SharePoint Online, you must delete the .rh folder, and then close the project before opening it in RoboHelp.

  • When you are working with project files frequently, you want to globally/en masse apply a change to the files such as applying a new Master Page or css. The function for this is found through Reports > Topics List function and if in SharePoint, invoking this function on all files in a project >>SHOULD<< check out all files in the project but I found that it doesn’t; however, if I manually selected all the files in the contents pane using CTRL + A, and then right-clicked any selected file, and on the context menu that opened, selected Properties, then 100% of the files in the project were checked out. I confirmed this behavior for multiple projects and it was repeatable, so I have entered a bug in Adobe Tracker and you can view here – https://tracker.adobe.com/#/view/RH-7693. (As soon as I know the disposition of this bug, I will update this blog. TVB 7/15/2020)
  • Deleting a connection profile: The Collaborate menu makes it apparent where you create/add a new connection profile, open a connection, and review the profile information for a selected connection, but it is not obvious where you delete a connection. To delete a connection, on the Collaborate menu, select Connection Profiles to open the Connection Profiles dialog box, and then place your mouse pointer to the lower right of the profile that you are deleting to display the Delete icon. You can then click this Delete icon to immediately delete the connection.

Figure 6

  • After you sign in to a SharePoint Connection, there is really no need to sign out. . . in fact, you can be signed in to multiple connections as the same time; however, for whatever reason, if you want to sign out, then, open Connection Profiles, select the appropriate connection (if you have more than one connection), and then click Sign Out and then click Cancel. (It’s not obvious that this signs you out of a connection as there is no Save to confirm the sign out, but if go back to Open Connection, the option to Sign In is enabled for the connection.)

I hope you find these tips and tricks informative and that they help make the process of integrating RoboHelp with SharePoint Online simpler and easier for you!!!

Previous post:

Next post:

SiteLock