Re: What would you do?

Subject: Re: What would you do?
From: "Kathleen MacDowell" <kathleen -at- writefortheuser -dot- com>
To: "Janice Gelb" <janice -dot- gelb -at- sun -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2007 19:52:17 -0500


Have they thought about another type of format for their documentation, such
as AuthorIT? AIT should be able to perform all the tasks you listed that
they expect from XML, except maintaining XML modules. It does maintain
information modules, and will output to printable user guides, online help,

>From the little I've heard about XML and the conversion process, one needs
to have a very structured approach, and it isn't to be undertaken
lightly. Further, it really isn't the best solution for all situations
(although it might be a good one for your company).

My .02.

Good luck!


On 3/21/07, Janice Gelb <janice -dot- gelb -at- sun -dot- com> wrote:
> 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
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> --
> Kathleen MacDowell

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What would you do?: From: Kevin McGowan
Re: What would you do?: From: Janice Gelb

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