Re: On-line vs. print (WAS: Of myth and reality)?

Subject: Re: On-line vs. print (WAS: Of myth and reality)?
From: Sandy Harris <pashley -at- storm -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 01 Aug 2002 17:08:00 -0400

Ed Manley wrote:

> At the other end of the "lost in hyperspace" topic is the issue of
> modularizing topical documentation and storing it in some logical fashion -
> a content repository or database. I can see how all of this will work except
> for that part - without some huge Content Management system I don't know how
> I would keep track of all the bits and pieces.

Even more important, how does your reader keep track? Or just find what
or she needs?

> As example, a User Guide, where I have numerous topics, screen shots,
> tables, etc.
> If I keep each object as an artifact - a separate file, how am I going to
> organize/manage them?

I've done this at the level of 20 chapter-size chunks that could be
grouped and combined in various ways to make four books. That was
quite straightforward, just using Frame's fmbatch utility and the
standard Unix 'make' command. If I changed a chapter that was in,
say, two of the books, make knew enough to re-generate those books
and not update the others.

For finer-grained stuff, I think you'd need an XML or SGML DTD designed
for this sort of problem (There must be one by now, surely?) and some
sort of database engine for efficient searching and indexing.

> I can see the beauty of building the online or printed
> guide by calling the objects in some logical order...but we're talking
> hundreds of discrete files to manage.
> I am really fired up about this, but can't wrap my mind around how a writer,
> or perhaps more importantly a maintenance coder, analyst or manager that
> needs to make a change to a screen shot and its accompanying text, is going
> to find those files.
> Any suggestions?

How does a reader who needs docs on that screen find them?

Keywords can help a lot. Searching or indexing by keyword is far more
efficient than doing the same with the full text.

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RE: On-line vs. print (WAS: Of myth and reality)?: From: Ed Manley

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