Collaborate using Azure DevOps (Team Foundation Server)

Learn how to collaborate from RoboHelp using Azure DevOps (formerly named Team Foundation Server / Visual Studio Team Services).

Prerequisites for connecting to Azure DevOps

Before creating a Azure DevOps connection profile, do the following:

  1. Set up  Azure DevOps Version Control on your machine. For more information, see Microsoft Help.
  2. In RoboHelp, choose Edit > Preferences. In the Application Settings dialog box, click Version Control and specify the complete path of the tf.exe binary in the Team Foundation Client field. The tf.exe binary is available in the Visual Studio or Team Explorer install directory on your computer. An example path:
    C:/Program Files (x86)/Microsoft Visual Studio/2017/Enterprise/Common7/IDE/CommonExtensions/Microsoft/
    TeamFoundation/Team Explorer/TF.exe
Note:

RoboHelp supports the tf.exe file version 14.102 and above.

If your system language is other than English, a workaround is needed to support the connection to Azure DevOps. The folder that contains tf.exe also contains subfolders for different languages. Remove or rename the subfolder corresponding to your system language so that tf.exe defaults to the English version. For example, if your system language is French, remove or rename the 'fr' subfolder.

Create a Azure DevOps connection profile

  1. Create a project on Azure DevOps Services (or, a Team Project on Azure DevOps Server) to establish a repository for source content, where teams can plan, track progress, and collaborate.

    Note:

    Ensure that your user account has adequate permissions to access the created project. In case you are connecting to an Azure DevOps Server, this account is the same as your system account (through which RoboHelp is being run). For information about modifying user permissions, see Microsoft Help.

  2. In RoboHelp, choose Collaborate > New Connection.

  3. In the Connection Profiles dialog box, specify a name for your connection profile.

  4. From the Version Control drop-down list, select Azure DevOps (Team Foundation Server).

  5. In the Project Collection URL field, define and manage the service connections of your project:

    • For Azure DevOps Server, specify the Project Collection URL as http://myserver:8080/tfs/DefaultCollection
    • For Azure DevOps Services, specify your Organization URL as https://dev.azure.com/myorganization
  6. If you have specified an Azure DevOps Server url, a check-box would be visible to enable authentication via Personal Access Tokens.

    The default authentication for Azure DevOps Server connections is NTLM-based. If you enable this check-box, Use Personal Access Token for authentication, you would be asked to authenticate via your generated PAT.

    For more information, see AzureDevOps PAT.

  7. In the Project field, specify the name of the Azure DevOps project. Here, you can also specify the path of any folder in your project repository. The path is specified in the following format:

    $/<project name>/< nested path>

    '$/<project name>' is the default repository path.

    Note:

    The Project name and casing must match the name and casing of the team project on Azure DevOps. 

  8. In the Workspace field, specify a workspace name. This workspace is created at the path specified in the Local Path field.

    Workspace is your local copy of the project. You can create content locally in RoboHelp and then check it in to Azure DevOps. For more information about workspace, see Microsoft Help

    Note:

    Ensure that your user account has adequate permissions to create a workspace for the project.

    RoboHelp works only with local workspaces. For information about using a local workspace and setting the default workspace type for your project collection, see Microsoft Help

  9. In the Local Path field, specify a path on your computer that maps to the project.

    If the connection profile is to be used to upload the currently open RoboHelp project to Azure DevOps, specify the folder containing the project or any of its parent folders. This folder is mapped to the project contents on the server.

    Otherwise, to use the connection profile to download project contents, provide the path to an empty local folder in which the project is to be downloaded.

  10. Click Save.

Download a RoboHelp project from Azure DevOps

  1. In RoboHelp, choose Collaborate > Open Connection and select a Azure DevOps connection profile.

    Note:

    For first-time connections to the Project Collection URL, RoboHelp prompts for your credentials and saves these in the system Credential Manager for subsequent use.

    For connections to Azure DevOps Server, the credential is the password for your user account. For connections to Azure DevOps Services, the credential is a Personal Access Token with appropriate permissions. For help on Personal Access Tokens, see Microsoft Help.

    Note:

    If you changed the credentials recently, delete or update the corresponding record from the Credential Manager to avoid authentication error prompts. The record is stored in this format:
    team:<server>|<user>
    If RoboHelp does not find a matching record in the system Credential Manager, it prompts for the credentials again. For more information about system Credential Manager (Windows), see Microsoft Help.

    The project is cloned at the local path specified in the connection profile.

  2. In the Open dialog box, select a RoboHelp project file (.rhpj) and click Open.

    RoboHelp opens the project file.  

    Note:

    When you open a RoboHelp project for the first time using these steps, connection information is stored inside the project for subsequent use. So directly open the project using one of the ways described in Open a project

Work with files under version control

  1. Add content to or edit a topic. You can quickly begin editing files when your network connection is unavailable or unreliable. As RoboHelp uses only local workspaces, you need not explicitly check out files before editing.

  2. To check-in the changes to the server, choose Collaborate > Check In

  3. In the Check-in dialog box, from the list of modified, newly added, and deleted files, select the files you want to check in.

  4. You can optionally specify a check-in description. 

  5. Click Check-in

    After the check-in is successful, RoboHelp displays a success message.

    Note:

    If the file you are trying to check in is changed by another user on the server, the check-in fails. You are prompted to resolve the conflict between the local and server versions. After all conflicts are resolved, check in the file again.

  6. To sync your local files with the latest version from the Azure DevOps, choose Collaborate > Get Latest Version

    Files in your workspace are updated, except for those containing edits. You can merge the local edited versions with the updated versions from the server during check-in.

Lock files

You can lock files in the Contents panel to temporarily prevent changes by other users on the server. This is helpful if you want to change a file in your workspace and then check it in without being forced to resolve merge conflicts. Only one user at a time can lock a file. 

  1. To refresh the lock status of a file, right-click it and select Refresh Lock Status.

    RoboHelp indicates the lock status of a file as  when locked by other users and as  when locked by you. 

  2. To view the name of the user who locked the file, hover the pointer over 

  3. To lock a file, right-click it in the Contents panel and select Lock. The Lock option is displayed only if the file is not already locked by another user. Locking a file allows other users to edit it however, they cannot check in their changes to the server before the lock is removed. 

  4. To unlock a locked file, right-click it and select Unlock. This allows other users to check-in their changes to the server. When you check in a file that is locked by you, it is automatically unlocked.

Add a RoboHelp project to Azure DevOps

  1. To add a project, choose Collaborate > Add Project and select a Azure DevOps connection profile.

    The local path in the profile must contain the current project. For more information, see Step 8 in Create a Azure DevOps connection profile

    The Check-in dialog box opens. 

  2. Check in the required files as described in Work with files under version control

Remove Azure DevOps connection

  1. To remove the Azure DevOps connection from the current RoboHelp project, choose Collaborate > Remove Connection.

  2. If you want to delete the local workspace also, select the Delete any source control information from the local folder also field in the Confirm dialog box. 

    Caution:

    Check-in all your changes before deleting the workspace and unlock locked files that are not being checked in.

    Note:

    The delete workspace operation fails if the current user does not have delete permission.

  3. Click Ok.

    As soon as the connection is removed, RoboHelp reopens the project, and the Add Project option in Collaborate menu becomes available. To add the project again, see Add a project to Azure DevOps.

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