ClickHelp Documentation

Concurrent Topic Editing


In ClickHelp, help topics can be created and reviewed by multiple team members in a single portal at the same time, which improves team productivity. In this multi-author setup, it is important to avoid conflicting changes and confusion regarding who is currently working on which topic. In addition to the workflow fields (Status, Assignee and Owner) which indicate this, ClickHelp offers a number of functions for locking your topics.

In this topic:

Locking a Topic

To start editing a topic, an author clicks the Edit button in the topic editor header.

Once you click this button, the topic gets locked by you and other users cannot make changes while you are editing the content. When some other author opens a locked topic, they will see an information box at the top with details on who and when locked the topic.

Nobody can make changes to a topic while it is locked by another user. In order to make changes, you need to have the topic unlocked. 

Removing a Topic Lock

When an author clicks the Unlock & View button in the topic editor, the topic gets unlocked and becomes available for editing by other users.

A topic is also getting automatically unlocked when you navigate to a different topic in the Table of Contents panel. When this happens, you see an information box at the top telling you that all changes were saved and the topic was unlocked.

It is possible to leave the topic editor without unlocking the topic. You can do this by navigating to some other non-topic page of your portal in the main menu (Author Dashboard, Settings, etc), or by closing your browser window. When this happens, your web browser gives you a warning and you have a choice - cancel the action or proceed. If you proceed with the action, the topic will remain locked by you, so other authors will not be able to modify it.

When you navigate to a topic that is already locked by you, you will still see the Edit button at the top. Clicking the button will switch you to the editing mode. So, you can now click Unlock & View to unlock the topic. You can see all topics locked by you in the Locked Documents section of your user profile - just click your avatar in the top-right corner of the screen, and select My Profile. On that screen, you can select several topics and click Unlock Selected to unlock them, or you can click Unlock All.

It is possible that someone locked a topic and left for vacation, and now you need to make changes to that topic, but cannot do this. It is possible to unlock topics locked by others, this requires having one of these user roles: Projects Manager, Project Leader, or Administrator. You can learn more on roles and permissions here: Understanding Roles and Permissions.

In the Locked Documents list, you can see only topics from projects you have permission to view.

Users with those roles can unlock a topic locked by another user in two ways:

  • From the topic screen by clicking the Unlock link in the notification box:

  • From the Locked Documents screen of that user profile.

Editing Sessions and Topic Versions

ClickHelp stores the editing history of every topic. Every historical snapshot the system saves is called a Topic Version. You can see those topic versions in the Version History screen of the topic properties. A new topic version is created every time an author clicks Unlock & View if changes were made to the topic content.

That is, while you are in the topic editing mode, no topic versions are created - one topic version matches one editing session that starts with clicking Edit, and ends with clicking Unlock & View, unlocking the topic by another user, or creating a topic version explicitly by clicking Create Version in the Review tab of the topic editor ribbon bar. Topic versions are useful to track intermediate topic states that you may want to view later, or even return them back by using the Rollback operation. If you decide to make major changes to a topic in the middle of an editing session, and you are not sure if those changes will look good in the end, consider creating a new topic version from the current state. This way, you will easily return back to the current state later if you don't like the result of your changes.

Concurrent Editing Notification

You may see the following notification while you are editing a topic:

This happens when someone removes your topic lock while you are in the editing mode. When this happens, the topic editor switches to the view mode automatically. This situation may take place in two scenarios:

  • Another user with sufficient permissions had to remove the lock for some reason.
  • You opened this topic for editing in multiple tabs of your web browser, and then unlocked the topic in one of the tabs.

You may wonder what happens to your changes when this situation occurs. The topic editor saves your changes automatically every ten seconds. If the saving operation succeeds, all your changes go to the topic content. If the saving operation fails due to the topic lock removal, you see the concurrent editing notification. This means that the latest changes you made during the last 10 seconds or so will not be saved.

Script and Style Files Locking

In addition to topics, there are other objects protected by automatic locking - those are style and script files. The lock mechanism behavior is the same for these objects, so the above information applies to them as well.