RE: Referring to the name of a system (aka FrameMaker Variables vs. Conditional Text)

Subject: RE: Referring to the name of a system (aka FrameMaker Variables vs. Conditional Text)
From: beverly_robinson -at- datacard -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2007 09:50:45 -0500

In TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 24, Issue 16 Caroline Tabach asked: "What is the
difference between using a variable
and using a condition...."

And Darren Butler recommended using conditional text for the application
she described.

I guess my mileage varies. I always use variables to change product names.
I reserve conditional text for larger chunks of text (sentence, paragraph,
or heading phrase). Our localization vendor explained long ago that it's
easier for translators to work with complete sentences, so even if only one
word is added for the "Toyshop System," I copy the entire sentence, add the
Toyshop System-only word, and apply conditions to both sentences. If you
don't localize your documents that may not be an issue.

I use a template document to control the definitions for the variables I've
defined, so it's easy to see exactly what variables have been created. No
need to "look under the hood" of each one--they're all plainly visible. The
template document also facilitates importing variable definitions and
conditional text settings into all files in a book.

Having said that, you (Caroline) may be right that changing the entire file
set from conditional text to variables may not be worth the effort if all
those instances of "AB1000 CD7000 MN2000" don't bother you.

But maybe they do bother you. Maybe that's why you ask whether it would be
acceptable to "refer to it every time as 'the unit'." I didn't see an
answer to that part of your question so I'll offer my opinion: Generally, I
think a mix of specific names (AB1000, etc.) and generic references (the
unit) is more natural than all specific names or all generic references. If
you currently have a mix and decide to change the conditional text product
names to a variable, I'm sure someone on this list will be able to guide
you in using global replace to make the change as painless as possible.

Hope this helps,

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