Solution for: reliable, flexible page layout & single source & conditional text

Subject: Solution for: reliable, flexible page layout & single source & conditional text
From: Kimberly McClintock <kimberlymcc -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 14:31:59 -0800 (PST)

Hi all?

I?ve spent several hours culling the archives for
threads related to my problem and found some very
helpful information. However, as the most
comprehensive relevant discussion was a year ago, I
thought I?d post the question:

What is currently the best solution or combination of
solutions to solve the three-fold problem of needing a
single source for print docs and help, a more robust
page layout option (than Word) and conditional text?

Here are the options I?ve seen discussed in threads:

Word & Web Works Publisher for Word
Framemaker & some help tool or Web Works Publisher for
XLM solution
Open Office w/ DocBooks
Word & Doc-To-Help
A wiki w/ Docuwiki

I currently work in Word, with no Frame skills, and no
XML skills. We prepare our help manually (take the
word docs and add the HTML). I also do all the
?conditional text? manually w/ a combination of find
and replace and a long recipe of changes to make for
each of the 2 products that share a lot of content.
It?s time consuming, and, frankly, nerve
wracking/error prone. I?m looking for something a
little more automated. I should say, too, that this is
currently a pretty small operation ? I?m the only tech
writer and 250 pages of documentation in any given
set, 2 sets possible.

Finally, I am willing to learn, though I don?t know
what will be supported by management in terms of time,
or in terms of money either. Right now I?m curious
what the most sane solution is, later I?ll evaluate
the trade-offs time/money/automation etc.

Thanks for your help,

Kimberly McClintock

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