Re: Pray for me

Subject: Re: Pray for me
From: "Tim Altom" <taltom -at- simplywritten -dot- com>
To: "Eric Ray" <ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com>, "TechDoc List" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2000 15:16:59 -0500

I might have suggested something like this, Eric, if the job had been to
simply present a roughly tagged file. But that's not the end result in this
case. Here, she needed the tags to produce an RTF that carries structure,
not just tagging. I suspect from her descriptions that her manual is not
highly structured, so it would avail her little to tag headings if the
material within those "boxes" aren't limited. She must produce true single
source, and that requires more than rough tagging. The tagging must reflect
a true structure, as in a DTD-like environment. If the material in any
paragraph isn't capable of standing on its own in a topic, she can't
automatically divide the whole 400 pages into topics. The result in a help
file would be an awful mess. A document must be designed from the start as a
single source doc, because otherwise it strays into the rogue "river-raft"
style, in which text flows as it will, and concepts are scattered, floating
like leaves in a river. A "head one" might have a description of the product
over here, a functional explanation over there, and a procedure lead-in
somewhere else. What links to what? What's a topic, and what's just a
dangling paragraph? You can't tell, and that's why mere tagging isn't
enough. No amount of search and replace can substitute for structure.
Hypertext demands a higher standard.

Tim Altom
Simply Written, Inc.
Featuring FrameMaker and the Clustar(TM) System
"Better communication is a service to mankind."
Check our Web site for the upcoming Clustar class info

----- Original Message -----
From: Eric Ray <ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com>
To: Tim Altom <taltom -at- simplywritten -dot- com>
Cc: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Sent: Sunday, July 23, 2000 2:28 PM
Subject: Re: Pray for me

> > You're toast. No amount of work will replace the planning and prep
> > to pull this off. You might have a good chance if the damned manual had
> > included styles, but without them, you're in deep trouble.
> Add to Tim's comments...
> Use Word's AutoFormat feature to come up with at least a rough crack
> at applying styles. They'll stink, but you'll be closer than you were, and
> some creative global search and replace action will let you get something
> acceptable ASAP.

Re: Pray for me: From: Eric Ray

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