HTML Help Builder
Topic corruption
Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar based on your email address. Topic corruption
  Richard Kaye
  All
  Oct 1, 2020 @ 06:24am

Hi Rick,

We noticed an issue in our main help project today where the content for a specific topic seems to have gone AWOL, and it's displaying the content from another topic. I've cleaned up the project, tried the Fix Links tool, etc but it's still showing the wrong thing. My last build and deploy was yesterday, and the deployed version has the right content so I can recover from this without too much effort but I'm wondering if there are any other tools or processes I can use to verify project integrity.

TIA

Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar based on your email address. re: Topic corruption
  Rick Strahl
  Richard Kaye
  Oct 1, 2020 @ 01:50pm

Unfortunately yes - it's a thing that happens occasionally.

I've been tracking this issue for years and have not been able to completely resolve it although it's much, much better for 5.15+ versions where there were number of additional safeguards added to the save routines that help avoid the issue.

The problem is related to the Web Browser control. In some rare cases that I haven't been able to track down, the control fails to update and navigate properly which leaves the old topic up after you've navigated to a new topic. Then if you navigate off if somehow to topic was in any way modified (other field or editor) the now wrong topic gets updated.

I've also seen this occur when the editor is (accidentally?) accessed while Help Builder is doing something else (ie. creating output or printing or uploading) modally, so one way to avoid this it to make sure that on modal operations you don't try to navigate or edit the document in any way (and again - WebBrowser issue - modal doesn't apply to the inside of the control so you can edit while modal would normally lock down Fox ui).

It's very rare these days that this happens, but it still happens and I don't have a solution unfortunately other than: Back up the project frequently and keep multiple backup versions around.

+++ Rick ---

Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar based on your email address. re: Topic corruption
  Richard Kaye
  Rick Strahl
  Oct 1, 2020 @ 02:20pm

Thanks. I've also noticed that the preview doesn't always seem to line up with the current topic, and it takes a second click to force a refresh so my working theory lines up with what you said. I've also tried to get into the habit of explicitly saving each page when I finish an edit as opposed to relying on the auto-save. With 4 of us potentially working on the same project at any given time it gets even dicier. Having said that, I want to add that it's made documenting our new app so much easier than trying to wrangle a wiki despite the occasional quirk. Not only am I backing it up, I've also got the whole project in a private git repo.

Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar based on your email address. re: Topic corruption
  Rick Strahl
  Richard Kaye
  Oct 1, 2020 @ 02:44pm

Yeah multiple users also are a possibility although I would think this is more likely to lead to topic corruption not completely wrong topics saved.

As I said - I maintain a lot of documentation and I run into this issue maybe once every few months. The sucky part is that you usually don't know that it happened until you go back and go "WTF is this text?" 😄

Unfortunately I've written this off to the creaky ActiveX support in FoxPro and situations where messages are not getting into the Web Browser control. It's just something that this version of Help Builder has to deal with. :shrug:

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