Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Potential Problem Importing RoboHelp HTML 8 Projects Into Flare 5

Flare’s Import Project feature (File > Import Project) can pretty easily import RoboHelp HTML projects except, in some cases, projects from RoboHelp HTML 8 (hereafter RH 8). One such case may be if you moved an old RH for Word project into RH 8 and then decide to move it to Flare. You may find that some topic files in the project contain RH-specific XML processing instructions that look like this:

If you try to import a project whose files contain these codes into Flare using the Import Project feature, Flare will display an error message for each file that contains such codes and not import those files.

To import those files using the Import Project feature, you first have to open each file in Notepad and delete the entire processing instruction code. You can then import the project, and those files, into Flare using the Import Project feature.

Deleting these processing instructions is easy but tedious because the code may appear in several places in each file, with different syntax, so you have to find and delete each one individually. The differing syntax and multiple lines of code make it hard to reliably use large-scale search-and-replace.

The best solution is probably to wait until MadCap modifies Flare’s Import Project parser to handle RH HTML 8 in a later release. But if you can’t wait, there is a workaround…

Start a new project in Flare and just import the topic files into the project like any HTML or XHTML file. The files will come in, but will show the processing instruction codes when you view the topics in Flare’s XML Editor. Fortunately, users won’t see them in the output. They’re just visually intrusive to us, the authors, while we edit the topics, so we can either delete the codes or just ignore them.