Help is still broken!

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Guys, really?
Help pane does not open randomly.
Help does not open in browser when Help pane is closed.
Help pane opens blank randomly, if at all.

We have this over at least 3 major versions now. It is extremely frustrating annoying and tedious for someone who tries to learn Houdini.
16 is such a brilliant release but the simple things are a PITA.
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And now it broke completely.

I get this at the star of H16:

2017-02-22 19:34:20,413: Exception on /
Traceback (most recent call last):
File “DHOUDIN~1.20/python27/lib/site-packages-forced\flask\app.py”, line 1817, in wsgi_app
response = self.full_dispatch_request()
File “DHOUDIN~1.20/python27/lib/site-packages-forced\flask\app.py”, line 1477, in full_dispatch_request
rv = self.handle_user_exception(e)
File “DHOUDIN~1.20/python27/lib/site-packages-forced\flask\app.py”, line 1381, in handle_user_exception
reraise(exc_type, exc_value, tb)
File “DHOUDIN~1.20/python27/lib/site-packages-forced\flask\app.py”, line 1475, in full_dispatch_request
rv = self.dispatch_request()
File “DHOUDIN~1.20/python27/lib/site-packages-forced\flask\app.py”, line 1461, in dispatch_request
return self.view_functions(**req.view_args)
File “DHOUDIN~1.20/houdini/python2.7libs\bookish\flaskapp.py”, line 292, in show
indexer = get_indexer()
File “DHOUDIN~1.20/houdini/python2.7libs\bookish\flaskapp.py”, line 896, in get_indexer
staticdir=static_dir)
File “DHOUDIN~1.20/houdini/python2.7libs\bookish\search.py”, line 223, in __init__
if not index.exists_in(indexdir, indexname=indexname) and create:
File “DHOUDIN~1.20/houdini/python2.7libs\whoosh\index.py”, line 136, in exists_in
ix = open_dir(dirname, indexname=indexname)
File “DHOUDIN~1.20/houdini/python2.7libs\whoosh\index.py”, line 123, in open_dir
return FileIndex(storage, schema=schema, indexname=indexname)
File “DHOUDIN~1.20/houdini/python2.7libs\whoosh\index.py”, line 421, in __init__
TOC.read(self.storage, self.indexname, schema=self._schema)
File “DHOUDIN~1.20/houdini/python2.7libs\whoosh\index.py”, line 664, in read
segments = stream.read_pickle()
File “DHOUDIN~1.20/houdini/python2.7libs\whoosh\filedb\structfile.py”, line 245, in read_pickle
return load_pickle(self.file)
AttributeError: ‘module’ object has no attribute ‘W3Segment’

I do not see a newer build than the release. So no fix obviously.
The search function for the online Docs on the Sidefx website does not return any results. At all.

The smilies in the text say it all.
Edited by OneBigTree - Feb. 22, 2017 13:36:23
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https://sidefx.com/bugs/submit/ [sidefx.com]
https://procegen.konstantinmagnus.de/ [procegen.konstantinmagnus.de]
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Same here, at some point you hvae to restart Houdini to get things going again.
Will log a bug.
Apprentice Attribute / Houdini 17.0.381 / GTX 970 - driver 411.63
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The joys of shiny new releases. I'm still on 15.x
Edited by _Christopher_ - Feb. 23, 2017 10:22:14
【T】【C】【S】
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The joys of shiny new releases. I'm still on 15.x

I have the same issues with 15.5, 15 14,5 and 14. I think that bug must have been logged a hundred times by now.
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Support reported there's a Houdini 16.0.504 - Qt4 version for download as well.
I'll give that a try, or just use the online help if that doesn't fix it.

Never had any issues before on this, v14 or 15.x
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Support reported there's a Houdini 16.0.504 - Qt4 version for download as well.
I'll give that a try, or just use the online help if that doesn't fix it.

Never had any issues before on this, v14 or 15.x

I have the same issue where the Help pane randomly breaks in the release build.
Has this been fixed in a daily build?
Edited by Charles Kirk - Feb. 28, 2017 12:06:05
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Still broken in 534…
Online help doesn't have a proper search.
Edited by OneBigTree - March 1, 2017 12:02:18
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Help pane has never effectively worked on MacOs. We just set the env variable:

HOUDINI_EXTERNAL_HELP_BROWSER = 1
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I reported the issue.

Support suggested installing the qt4 build which fixed it for me on Windows 10.

In addition, with the qt5 build I found that the issue was only occurring if I closed the Help Window and then reopened it.
Edited by Charles Kirk - March 1, 2017 21:10:06
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I think overall the help system could use some work.

As another example.

Because I sometimes have problems similar to what's been posted here as a alternative I also have the Houdini “Docs Homepage” - http://www.sidefx.com/docs/houdini/_index [sidefx.com] as a bookmark in my browser to do searches which fail while in Houdini.

But even then, like today I put in - intAttribValue for a search in the “google custom search” text edit box of the sidefx link I just gave and it comes up with no results.

However, if I go to my browsers google search and just add Houdini to prefix intAttribValue, googles first listed link is to the actual docs where it does exist!

http://www.sidefx.com/docs/houdini/hom/hou/Geometry [sidefx.com]
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The big Traceback in the 2nd post seems like it might be related to Windows network permissions. When you first run a version of Houdini after installing, Windows probably asks if it's okay for Houdini to communicate on private networks, which is because the help inside Houdini is actually distributed by a Houdini help server at 127.0.0.1 (localhost) inside Houdini. (I seem to recall hearing that it can be configured to be elsewhere.) It's a bit strange that Windows seems to treat localhost access the same as if it were access to your LAN, but if you don't give the permission, Houdini seems to fail to access the internal help, giving an error like that one. At least, that's what happened to me a few hours ago. It was fine after I allowed the permission and restarted Houdini.

The unreliability of the Google search is a perennial bummer. It'd be awesome to have the same search as the internal help system, but it's apparently very difficult to integrate.
Writing code for fun and profit since... 2005? Wow, I'm getting old.
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The big Traceback in the 2nd post seems like it might be related to Windows network permissions. When you first run a version of Houdini after installing, Windows probably asks if it's okay for Houdini to communicate on private networks, which is because the help inside Houdini is actually distributed by a Houdini help server at 127.0.0.1 (localhost) inside Houdini. (I seem to recall hearing that it can be configured to be elsewhere.) It's a bit strange that Windows seems to treat localhost access the same as if it were access to your LAN, but if you don't give the permission, Houdini seems to fail to access the internal help, giving an error like that one. At least, that's what happened to me a few hours ago. It was fine after I allowed the permission and restarted Houdini.

The unreliability of the Google search is a perennial bummer. It'd be awesome to have the same search as the internal help system, but it's apparently very difficult to integrate.

I didn't change anything in regards to the windows permissions.
It worked the first day then it broke a bit and then it broke completely.
It is also a bit strange that only houdini has this problem.
Maybe you should think about using help systems that are proven to work.
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Now it broke on another machine running apprentice. Same as before; works for a few sessions then breaks half or completely.
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I'm not sure if this is related but I just committed a fix for the embedded help browser in tomorrow's Houdini 16.0.550 build. There was a bug in the Turbo JPEG library packaged in the Qt WebEngine library that the browser is built against which was causing it to go blank sometimes when loading pages with JPEG images.

Try out tomorrow's 16.0.550 build and see how that goes.

If you continue to run into issues even with tomorrow's build then please submit a bug report (if you haven't already) with as much relevant detail as possible. For example:
- Help -> About Houdini (for platform information)
- What issues are you experiencing? Is the browser going blank? Is it reporting an error message? (attach screenshots if needed)
- Do the issues happen if the browser tries to load any pages? Or only some? If so, which ones?
- Are there any error messages or warnings outputted to the terminal or Error Console?
- Steps to reproduce issues.

The key is to provide enough detail so that we have a better chance of recreating the situation in-house.

Cheers,
Rob
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@OneBigTree that traceback is really odd… it shouldn't be possible in “normal” operation. My first instinct is that Houdini might somehow be using an external copy of Whoosh (Python search library) on your machine.

Is it possible you've set the PYTHONPATH env variable somewhere on your system and Houdini is using it and getting the wrong version of this library? You can check by opening a Python Shell and typing:

import os
os.environ["PYTHONPATH"]

If it's not empty, you can try checking the directories listed to see if they have a copy of whoosh.

P.S. the best way to get something fixed is to file a bug.
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My Help Docs are still broken also. This is on a machine, with clean install of windows 10. No modifications to any env variables. Clean install of Houdini.

One thing i've noticed that seems to help (temporarily), is to open Houdini with the Technical Desktop (with a Python Shell pane). It seems like the Help Docs work a little longer this way.

(Without this way - the help docs usually bug out, and either crash Houdini or require Houdini to be restarted in order to use the Help Docs a second time around)

Bug has been submitted a while ago - no updates as of yet though.
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Do you have the bug id for it? And I assume that you've tried the latest daily build?
Edited by edward - March 17, 2017 23:13:36
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Yep, still not working properly using daily build 16.0.570. bug id #79188.
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