Best tool for the job, and am I insane?

Subject: Best tool for the job, and am I insane?
From: "Stevenson, Rebecca" <Rebecca -dot- Stevenson -at- workscape -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 2004 10:12:59 -0400

Hi, whirlers. I need a reality check from all you wonderful folks.

The project: Create a data dictionary for our product, for use as a template in product implementations of an enterprise human resources application. We frequently end up mapping our database to client databases, and the implementation teams want a starting point that at least says what ours *is* before they wade into the client stuff.

Known inputs: CSV file of database information plus Frame files of how the database fields are used in our product.

Requirement: Low cost to implement and maintain/update.

My thinking: Convert Frame docs to XML via Structured Frame. Somehow -- and this is my big question -- cross the CSV files with the now-handy-XML so that everything about a given field is together in one place. This can then be turned into whatever kind of doc our users need, probably an Excel spreadsheet that they can monkey with and add to as needed.

Am I nuts to think that this can be done without *going* nuts? What is the best tool to use for that crucial step to make one doc out of many? Are there any? I should have leeway to do this however I want to, but not a lot of time to spend thrashing. The only programming language I am up on these days is Java; I'd enjoy stretching myself to write something that will do what we need, but I'd rather not use a hammer if a screwdriver is called for. (Though by the end of this I'm going to need a stiff drink.)

Thank you for listening,

Rebecca Stevenson
We can do this.
Technical Writer
Workscape, Inc.
> 508-861-3059
AIM: RJSWriter

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