RE: What would you do?

Subject: RE: What would you do?
From: "Chris Vickery" <cvickery -at- arenasolutions -dot- com>
To: "Kevin McGowan" <thatguy_80 -at- hotmail -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2007 13:48:34 -0700

I think the first thing to do is to create a realistic timeline for such
a conversion (and it *will* take some time). Decide on your output DTD
(Docbook or DITA or some flavor of specialization). Then, ensure that
your Word docs have consistent, simple formatting, and use a conversion
tool (There's one called UpCast, described here:
http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2003/12/31/qa.html). You will undoubtedly have
to review all of the produced XML, and correct some mistakes.

As has been hashed out on this list for a while now, you'll still need
an XML editor, editing stylesheet, and XSL transforms for your output.

If you use DITA, you can at least create a proof-of-concept using the
Open Toolkit. However, migrating long, narrative-style documents may be
difficult if you change to DITA, which requires a change to writing
style. Maybe you could switch to Docbook?

Chris


-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+cvickery=arenasolutions -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+cvickery=arenasolutions -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com]
On Behalf Of Kevin McGowan
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2007 1:30 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: What would you do?

Hi everyone...

I'm in a bit of a bind, and I'd love to hear what y'all think I should
do.
:)

I started this tech writing job last week. The company has several
documents, all giant Word files. They want to move into an XML
environment,
so we can 1) maintain XML modules of information, and create printable
user
guides at will, 2) include some of these XML files as online help,
clickable
from the UI.

Translation is also a concern...as they want to maintain multiple
languages
(English, French, German, Dutch, etc...).

So, here I am...with a bunch of crappy and poorly-maintained Word files,
and
I need to create a state-of-the-art XML system. They keep talking about
DITA...but I'm not convinced that the DITA format is the perfect way to
go.
Frankly, I'm not sure about much at the moment.

Please share any advice/experience...

Cheers,
Kevin

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Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include single source authoring, team authoring,
Web-based technology, and PDF output. http://www.DocToHelp.com/TechwrlList

Now shipping: Help &amp; Manual 4 with RoboHelp(r) import! New editor,
full Unicode support. Create help files, web-based help and PDF in up
to 106 languages with Help &amp; Manual: http://www.helpandmanual.com

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References:
RE: Blogs for questions, blogs for answers: From: Chris Borokowski
What would you do?: From: Kevin McGowan

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