RE: That FrameMaker / Word thang...

Subject: RE: That FrameMaker / Word thang...
From: "Johnson, Tom" <TJohnson -at- starcutter -dot- com>
To: "Dan Goldstein" <DGoldstein -at- riverainmedical -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2006 08:02:47 -0500

Maybe I can elaborate about a situation where conditional text workarounds in Word would not work.

I can see Word working where you have one layer of conditions: A, B, or C. But, what if you have more than one level where the levels can overlap in different combinations.

Imagine four related products: A, B, C, and D.
Now, add two or three operating systems: Win, Linux, Mac
Next, complicate things by different groups of readers: Admin, Advanced, Novice.
Finally, picture a need to produce documentation tailored for any combination of Product, OS, and reader. If my math is correct, that's 36 possible combinations to configure a manual. Can Word handle overlapping conditions to accommodate something that might be in "A for Win/Admin" and "A for Win/Advanced", but not in the Novice version.

I created something very similar where I work, but the categories are different.* FrameMaker made the job fairly simple and once I got text tagged with the right conditional text tags, I didn't have to worry about it no matter which version I wanted to print.

*In the past, we manufactured several different machine models with a variety of CNC controllers and printed three different manuals (operator, maintenance, and training) for each machine/controller combination. We regularly printed more than a dozen different manuals from one set of files. We're moving toward using one standard controller and have combined the manuals into one operation and maintenance manual. The variation between machine models still make conditional text a huge benefit and I don't think I'd care to try recreating that in Word.

Tom Johnson
Technical Writer
tjohnson -at- starcutter -dot- com

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+tjohnson=starcutter -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+tjohnson=starcutter -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com]On
Behalf Of Dan Goldstein
Sent: Monday, March 20, 2006 3:13 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: That FrameMaker / Word thang...

Hi Bill,

Have you tried 'em? :-)

I haven't personally tried them *all*, but the methods that I've tried
work consistently. Could you elaborate on the sort of "large-scale
production environment" in which they wouldn't work well?



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