RE: Single-sourcing Tool

Subject: RE: Single-sourcing Tool
From: "Bill Lawrence" <scribe -at- matrixplus -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 12 Feb 2003 13:14:54 -0500

Not to put too fine a point on it, but one can run a compiled HTML help
file from an application server as well.

A point that hasn't been mentioned, but is none the less relevant, is
the nature of the source. Robohelp, Word, Framemaker, etc. have
proprietary formats. I have been in this business long enough to have
transitioned very, very large document sets from proprietary systems
(such as Interleaf, Ventura Publisher, and even WordStar) to other
proprietary systems. I eventually realized that the real long-term
saving was in having a standard format for the documentation. Not that
Robohelp is a bad tool. However, you'll find that in the long term you
can do so much more if you source is in XML.

Case in point. At my last job, where we had thousands and thousands of
pages of documentation, we would commonly get these kinds of requests:

"Can you build a quick reference pocket guide for all 1400 commands?"

"We may need a way to pull these features from the documentation if they
don't get them fixed. We're going to give them as much time as
possible, so can you pull those features at the very last minute?"

"Can you generate a file with just the syntax for the following
programming functions?"

These were trivial problems to solve, given the nature of the XML
system, because the document set is literally an object-oriented

Bill Lawrence


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RE: Single-sourcing Tool: From: Sue Ahrenhold

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