Slipping Back to Single Sourcing Again (WAS:On-line vs. print)

Subject: Slipping Back to Single Sourcing Again (WAS:On-line vs. print)
From: eric -dot- dunn -at- ca -dot- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 2 Aug 2002 09:51:58 -0400

Sandy Harris Wonders:

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

Well, the reader keeps track because the reader has no idea what-so ever that
the on-screen help documentation and printed documentation were single sourced.
They will find what they need because the output is well organised and
presented. Perhaps the only clue they will have that it is single sourced is the
consistency and accuracy of information regardless of whether they look it up
on-line or in print.

Or, are you trying to tell us that the horrid micro-chunked non-single sourced
help files are easy to follow and find information in? <lol>

<<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.>>

Maybe. There's no need to have databases, SGML, version control, or
multi-million dollar processes and methodologies to change from repurposing to
single-sourcing. Single-sourcing does not mean you're either working in or
delivering a database solution. Even if you are working in a database
environment, fragments with the right styles and markers can be dumped into
Frame or Word to then produce Xrefs, TOC, index, etc.

I've created (printed only mind you) a users manual (train operations) that is
eight chapters that addresses three separate audiences. Through conditional
text, variables, unique chapters, text insets, and separate front matter files
and book files for each output plus one book and associated front matter for the
'complete' version, I need only make a change in one place and then open the
various books, import formats from the title page, generate update, create PDF.

Eric L. Dunn

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