RE: Of myth and reality

Subject: RE: Of myth and reality
From: SteveFJong -at- aol -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 24 Jul 2002 00:05:37 EDT

David Knopf <david -at- knopf -dot- com> asked, "What would a 1-page MIF file
demonstrate?" I think it would only take a page or two of MIF to get a feel
for how much tagging is needed on a day-to-day basis, which would assuage--or
perhaps heighten!--my fears about non-compliance.

Now, as Bill Swallow <wswallow -at- nycap -dot- rr -dot- com> thoughtfully pointed out, that's
a management perspective. I plead guilty 8^) But we've all inherited
documents from A. Nother Writer (it's always that guy, i'n't?) who formatted
with hard returns and tabs, or did everything in Normal style. (Perhaps it
was meatball documentation on a well-written but unformatted spec...) You
can't tell from looking at the output how unmaintainable the source files
are. I'd like to avoid that.

In supporting the Intercom article, I've certainly learned about a lot of
documentation that *isn't* suitable for single-sourcing. The single-source
advocates have backed away from:

* Non-graphic WinHelp accompanying printed documents: "so 1997"

* Reference and procedural documentation: "why would you want to?"

* Training documents accompanying product: "entirely unrelated"

* I can just guess what you'd say about the sales group's idea to build
their proposals from pieces of our documents 8^)

Yet those were all real-world examples where single-sourcing could have saved
effort. I could solve a lot of problems if I could just redefine them to fit
my solution 8^) What advocates *have* agreed can be single-sourced are
documents with different blocks for different destinations, for which plain
old conditionalization is sufficient. (What was that fundamental point in the
Intercom article? Oh, yes: print and online blocks are different...)

-- Steve

Steven Jong--"Typo? What tpyo?"
mailto:SteveFJong -at- AOL -dot- com -dot- nospam
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