Re: Queries on Single Sourcing

Subject: Re: Queries on Single Sourcing
From: "Mark Baker" <listsub -at- analecta -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 16 Feb 2004 09:54:51 -0500

Elizabeth O'Shea wrote:

> So, how do I get the chunks into the web pages? Is this an xml task? Or
> would we need one of the applications a few people have mentioned to do
> it?

There are hundreds of different ways. All that is really needed is to put
some kind of marker in the text and then replace that marker with the
appropriate chunk.

Here's a very simple low cost approach. Many others are possible.

1. Invent a set of tags to mark the places where your varying chunks should
be inserted in your text. They should use a character combination that is
unlikely to occur in your HTML. Something like "<# launch-procedure #>"
might work.

2. Give each of the variant chunks a name (like "launch-procedure").

3. Create a directory for each product in you product line and place a set
of named chunks inside. Now the launch procedure for the X-50 rocket plane
would be in a chunk named "launch-procedure" in a directory named "X-50".

4. Bribe someone in development to write you a PERL script that will run
through your HTML files and substitute the appropriate named chunks for the
marker tags, reading from the directory that you specify. This is a very
simple script.

Now you may actually require something more sophisticated than this. It is
impossible to tell without looking at your files. The best way to make sure
you get the right system may be to run the process by hand. Break up your
data into chunks. Name the chunks. Write down the procedure for assembling
the docs. Test the procedure by working through it by hand. (You are tech
writers so you know how to do this stuff.) Once you know the procedure
works, give it to a programmer (or a tool vendor) and ask them to automate
it for you.

It is usually better to define your process and then look for a tool to
implement it, rather then starting with a tool and developing a process
around it.

Mark Baker
Analecta Communications


RE: Queries on Single Sourcing: From: Elizabeth O'Shea

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