Single sourcing tools (WAS Questions about Doc to Help and RoboHe lp?)

Subject: Single sourcing tools (WAS Questions about Doc to Help and RoboHe lp?)
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 09:52:59 -0500

David Knopf responded to my suggestion that XML or SGML might be the best
solution for single-sourcing: <<I disagree that you need to move to XML or
SGML in order to single source effectively. We have completed *many*
successful single source projects for our clients using nothing more than
FrameMaker and WebWorks Publisher.>>

Still battling with the headcold from hell, I back up a step and note that
David is, of course, correct. I'm not a Frame wizard, so I can't comment on
details, but my understanding from discussions on techwr-l is that you do
this with a variant of conditional text: in effect, you define which
paragraph tags WWP will extract from the Frame document to put together the
Help or Web file, and do the same thing in Frame to produce the printed
documentation. Is that basically correct, David?

If so, the basic approach is the same one you'd use with XML, only minus
some of the hoops to jump through: you still define components of the
document such as paragraphs, list items, and headings based on their
_function_ (e.g., online description vs. printed description) and use that
functional definition to determine whether each element becomes part of the
output. My unfavorable comments concerning Doc-to-Help and RoboHelp were
based on my review of the products about 1 year ago prior to deciding which
Help authoring tool to purchase, and showed no easy or elegant way to
accomplish this same thing with either package.

Awaiting further enlightenment and a new dose of decongestant...

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
"User's advocate" online monthly at

"Every man is a damned fool for at least five minutes every day. Wisdom
consists in not exceeding the limit."--Elbert Hubbard, author, editor,
printer (1856-1915)

Now's a great time to buy RoboHelp! You'll get SnagIt screen capture
software and a $200 onsite training voucher FREE when you buy RoboHelp
Office or RoboHelp Enterprise. Hurry, this offer expires February 28, 2002.

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