RoboHelp2Wiki History

On Friday, we released our RoboHelp to MediaWiki conversion tool. I thought I would provide some history on why we created it and some possible next steps.

In my RoboHelp and MediaWiki post, I explained why we use RoboHelp for Business Process Management design documents and the reason we are moving to MediaWiki once the documents were completed or at least signed-off. As I did not want to have to copy and paste the 400 topics from RoboHelp to MediaWiki, I began researching existing conversions tools. It seem there are only two primary conversions tools available: HTML2Wiki and Word2MediaWiki.  However, both of these tools are targeted for single uploads, not batch uploads.  Nor did they handle images. To me, using these tools would almost be the same as copy and paste. Matt Hart also started a RoboHelp to MediaWiki converter; however, it did not meet all of our needs. He did kindly let us review the code as our starting point. (Thanks Matt!)

So in the end, we built the RoboHelp2Wiki tool ( Thanks Ted!). I believe there is a small market for this tool, so we published the tool and the source code, under a GNU license. Our primary requirements included: (1) Create a new page if one did not exist, (2) Overwrite an existing page if a page already existed, (3) upload all images linked on any RoboHelp topic page, (4) Convert most common mark-up from RoboHelp/HTML markup to MediaWiki, (5) Covert the RoboHelp Topic Name to the MediaWiki topic Name, and (6) Create a upload history file within MediaWiki. With respect to #2 overwriting of existing pages, this was a special case for our needs. Our Requirements document already had four reviews completed and I wanted to capture these changes in MediaWiki. So, during the conversion process I generated 4 RoboHelp output files and upload each one in order using a different MediaWiki user name corresponding to the published Version. (Blueprint Version 1, Blueprint Version 2, etc.) Now we can see the full history of the drafts from pre-MediaWiki usage to post-conversion within The MediaWiki history files.

Next steps, if there is interest we would like to provide a GUI interface that is more configurable and provide some more precision on the markup handling. Also, some Version control in case the Wiki is changed between RoboHelp uploads.

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