RE: Are you innovative?

Subject: RE: Are you innovative?
From: "Jones, Donna" <DJones -at- zebra -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2005 16:38:52 -0600

> -----Gene Kim-Eng wrote:-----
> I would say that most of the changes I've made at my various
> employers have been "innovative" for their environments

That's what I was thinking. What I'm doing in unstructured FrameMaker might not be innovative to some people, but it's a huge step forward from how Frame was being used when I started here 2 years ago. Before, to make a new book or to revise an old one, you copied an old version of some existing book and started modifying. There was no procedure to make sure that corrections made to one manual were made in the corresponding areas of others. Slightly different versions of the same content and graphics were everywhere, and things that should have been identical from one printer line to another were not.

My coworker Carla Martinek and I have set up a way to single-source our manuals by breaking chapters down into component files by level 1 headings (level 2 on rare occasions). This minimizes the amount of conditional text needed (if any) in each file--if you don't need a particular section in a version of a book, you simply leave it out of that book file.

It's taking a while to split everything apart, resolve all of the cross-references, and figure out which files should be shared across all printer lines and which ones only between printers in the same family. But once we have this set up correctly, someone should be able to piece together 75% or more of the content for new manuals in an hour or two. That may not be "innovative," but it sure sounds nice. :-)


Donna L. Jones
Technical Writer II
Zebra Technologies Corp.
Vernon Hills, IL
djones -at- zebra -dot- com

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