RE: Single sourcing tools (WAS Questions about Doc to Help and RoboHelp?)

Subject: RE: Single sourcing tools (WAS Questions about Doc to Help and RoboHelp?)
From: "David Knopf" <david -at- knopf -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 07:04:15 -0800

Hart, Geoff [mailto:Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA] wrote:

| 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?

Conditional text is a big part of it, in that, for example, you can
apply different condition tags to content that belongs in print and
content that belongs online. You also map each paragraph tag, character
tag, and table tag to produce specific, defined types of output. You
define how each XREF type is converted (e.g., "See Chapter 2,
'Configuration,' on page 87" for print vs. "See _Configuration_" for
online.) Also, you use FrameMaker markers in some cases to control how
FrameMaker content is converted to HTML, RTF, or XML.


| If so, the basic approach is the same one you'd use with XML, only
minus
| some of the hoops to jump through:

Yes, the basic concept is the same, except that with Frame/WWP, *most*
of the hoops go away--e.g., you don't have to learn XML or SGML at all;
you do not need to develop or use a DTD or EDD, etc.


| 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.

I can't speak to Doc-To-Help as I have not evaluated it since it was
acquired by ComponentOne. However, RoboHelp does not support conditional
text, and without robust support for conditional text, single sourcing
is quite simply impossible.

Regards,

D.

David Knopf @ Knopf Online / San Francisco, CA / 415.550.8367
mailto:david -at- knopf -dot- com / http://www.knopf.com

WebWorks Publisher Certified Trainer
RoboHelp MVP & Certified RoboHelp Instructor
Member, RoboHelp Community Advisory Board
Member, JavaHelp 2.0 Expert Group
Moderator, HATT & wwp-users



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References:
Single sourcing tools (WAS Questions about Doc to Help and RoboHe lp?): From: Hart, Geoff

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