Re: Not exactly another single source question....

Subject: Re: Not exactly another single source question....
From: "Bill Hall" <bill -dot- hall -at- hotkey -dot- net -dot- au>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 25 Aug 2002 09:24:55 +1000

Paul Strasser asked,

"We want the online help and user's guide customized for each purchaser.
If, for example, Walmart purchases it - and no, they're not a potential
buyer - we want "Walmart" used throughout the document/online help. It
isn't a simple matter of just having a global search & replace for Walmart,
though, because there is a lot of terminology in the documentation that will
be unique to Walmart only... and the software itself will have different
title bars and perhaps different field names (but the guts of the software
will be identical). This means different screen captures for each version,
and lots of unique terminology for each client."

This can be done in SGML/XML as a "multi-lingual" single-source approach as
we used for ANZAC Ship Maintenance routines as described in my May 2001
article for Technical Communication (See More sophisticated approaches are
possible: see my short paper, "REDUNDANT TEXT AND SINGLE SOURCING" available
eory/. You may need to join the singlesourcing-mgmt forum on
to access the file. Another useful resource for people looking for specific
help in the content management area is

The basic solution we used in our SGML solution was to add a "language"
element to our DTD that could be "included" inside any other element. An
attribute to the language element specified the language, i.e., "Wallmart",
"RNZN", "RAN", etc. The element would either contain the variant text
appropriate to that language or a pointer to variant content (e.g., graphic,
structured sub-element, etc.).

When you produce a client specific output, you need some kind of script to
set a client variable at the top of the document and to populate the output
with only the generic information plus only those alternatives in the
language elements with attributes relating to the selected client.

Bill Hall
Documentation Systems Specialist
Strategy and Development
Tenix Defence
Nelson House, Nelson Place
Williamstown, Vic. 3016
mailto:bill -dot- hall -at- tenix -dot- com
Information is not knowledge
Knowledge is not wisdom
Wisdom is not truth
Truth is not beauty
Beauty is not love
Love is not music
Music is THE BEST
(Zappa - Packard Goose)

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