Re: What would you do?

Subject: Re: What would you do?
From: Janice Gelb <janice -dot- gelb -at- sun -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2007 10:40:17 +1100

Kevin McGowan wrote:
> 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 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.

I'd tell them that the first step in converting
the documentation is cleaning up the Word
documentation for translatability and evaluating
it for reusable content. And that you can't decide
on the appropriate tool until that phase is complete.

Then I'd point them to this article by JoAnn Hackos
about the importance of evaluating and restructuring
content before moving to a new to a structured
content environment:

That should buy you some time to come up with
a plan :->

-- Janice

Janice Gelb | The only connection Sun has with
janice -dot- gelb -at- sun -dot- com | this message is the return address

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What would you do?: From: Kevin McGowan

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