Re: We Need A Website Update Procedure Tip

Subject: Re: We Need A Website Update Procedure Tip
From: kcronin -at- daleen -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2002 06:39:27 -0700

I've found it most useful to have some sort of "gatekeeper" who is
burdened with the responsibility of ensuring that all info on the site is
latest-and-greatest. This person (or small team of people, if you site
and/or company is particularly large) needs to take a proactive role,
periodically reaching out to various SMEs and polling them to find out if
what you have posted IS the most current info. This requires an anal,
detail-minded worrywart (a set of qualities that keeps putting _me_ in
this position). But that's not just me; writers typically have a much
greater awareness of documents that are (and are not) final versions. I've
found many other techies don't keep track of that nearly as judiciously.
It's a dirty job.......

I've made arrangements with my IT gurus to create scripts that
automatically upload the contents of specific folders on my machine into
folders with corresponding names on our Web servers. This means I can muck
around in MY directories without affecting the Web site, but when I make
some finalized changes to a document, I double-click this script, and
copies of these updated files are put into the Web directories, replacing
older files of the same name.

Spend some time and thought creating directory structures that make it
easy for the "gatekeeper" to keep track of where the latest-greatest docs
are located. This gatekeeper should also have control of file-naming
conventions, which are an important component of knowing which file is
most current.

One shortcut I use is to add version numbers to OLD documents, while
keeping the name of the latest iteration of the doc unchanged. (I'm
talking about versions of the document itself, not of the software or
product it describes.) For example, suppose I have a document called
Widget_Installation.doc, which I keep tweaking as SME edits belatedly roll
in. Instead of naming subsequent iterations of the doc
Widget_Installation_01.doc, Widget_Installation_02.doc, etc., I keep the
most current version named simply Widget_Installation.doc.

When I make an update to this doc, before updating it I save it as (for
example) Widget_Installation_01_22_02.doc, to remind me of the date I
saved it. Then I update it, and save the latest one again as simply
Widget_Installation.doc. I usually take the older one and put it in a
subdirectory named Archives (or something similar). This way I have a
complete trail of the various iterations of the doc, plus the most current

Why bother? If I have a link to this document on my Web site, I never have
to change the link itself on the Web page. By updating the document and
maintaining its original name, the link on my site will always point to
the latest version of the document.

Hope that made sense, and that this advice helps.

-Keith Cronin

(Sneakily including the results of yesterday's admittedly OT game of "Six
Degrees of Andrew Plato" into my sig line)

WINNERS - 0 hits:
"Andrew Plato triturate" submitted by Rob Domaschuk
"flambeed Andrew Plato" submitted by David Knopf
"Andrew Plato zeitgeber" submitted by Paula Puffer
"Andrew Plato ramekin" submitted by, well, me

"Andrew Plato shampooing" submitted by Richard Smith
"Andrew Plato disking" (a farming term) submitted by Lisa Bronson


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