Re: Single Sourcing - Myth or Salvation?

Subject: Re: Single Sourcing - Myth or Salvation?
From: Katie Kearns <kkearns -at- cisco -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002 12:44:40 -0800

At 02:58 PM 3/12/2002 -0500, jgarison -at- ide -dot- com wrote:

1. Do you currently use single sourcing, are you thinking about it, or will
it happen over your dead body?

Use it all the time. :)

2. If you use it, how successful is it? Do the online results represent
good-quality online help? Do the printed documents represent good-quality
printed manuals?

I sure would like to say they are.

In my opinion, many of the things you do to make online help will simply make a good print manual even better -- for example, chunking and copious cross-refs.

3. If you use it, how much overhead is there? (I.e., does it take just as
long, longer, or less time than it would to do both separately?) How do you

Less time. I just write it once. Since I have so little time, it's generally the reason I can even offer both online help and print versions -- I wouldn't have time to do them separately.

4. Is it worth doing?

Depends on what you're trying to accomplish. It's not a magic answer to all your problems. I have a lot of applications that people need to use but may or may not have a print manual on them -- this way they can access all the help from the interface, plus we make manuals for those who like it in paper.

5. Briefly describe the process and techniques you use to create single
source materials.

I write in Frame and generate help using WebWorks and a template developed internally. (I'm also caretaker of the template. ;D)

Sometimes I use conditional text, sometimes I don't. All depends on the book.

6. Did you invent your own solution, inherit the solution, or learn from
someone else (Hackos, etc.)?

Inherited and invented. I didn't start the template, but I assist in the care and feeding.

7. How big is your company? [Small = < 100 people Medium = <500 people
Large = < 1000 people XLarge = > 1001 people]



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Single Sourcing - Myth or Salvation?: From: jgarison

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