RE: FrameMaker conditional text question

Subject: RE: FrameMaker conditional text question
From: "Nuckols, Kenneth M" <Kenneth -dot- Nuckols -at- mybrighthouse -dot- com>
To: "David Castro" <thejavaguy -at- gmail -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 2006 13:38:00 -0500

David Castro said...
> Here's a Friday brain twister for you. I have inherited a guide that
> has vast amounts of duplicated content in it. It is an installation
> guide for a product can be installed on either Windows 2000 or 2003.
> There are subtle differences between the way the product is installed
> on the two operating systems (path names are different, there are
> extra steps for one O/S, and so on).
> [snip]
> I already tried a test with four files:,,
>, and In source, I put some common
> content, some version-a content, and some version-b content. I then
> imported the content into the two intermediate files and applied the
> conditional text settings appropriate for the file. Finally, I
> imported the content from the two intermediate files into the
> composite file, but unfortunately the conditional text settings
> (what's visible/invisible) of the file override the
> settings in the intermediate FM files.
> Any suggestions?

I ran into this on a documentation project a few months ago. In my case,
the application in question would run on every version of Windows from
Win 95 - Win XP Pro, but not on Windows NT. So what we did was to make
separate instructions for each OS and arrange them in descending order
of popularity. In other words, the Windows XP/XP Pro instructions came
first, then the Windows 2000, then Windows ME, etc., etc.

If you can determine which OS is the more popular among your client
base, I would make two separate sets of instructions, separate them
clearly with appropriate headings and TOC entries, and then put the more
popular instructions first and follow with the next and so on and so on,
using a common --> rare continuum.

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