Configuration Management for topic-based, single-source documents

Subject: Configuration Management for topic-based, single-source documents
From: tom -dot- kohn -at- kodak -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2008 16:09:37 -0400

>From those visiting this list who use a topic-based, single-source
technique to make documents, I would like some experiences on maintaining
full version control (AKA configuration management) on the topics or

We are at the beginning stages of trials of this approach. It seems to
work well for a team of writers who contribute to the project. Our planned
outputs include:
· A large system-wide Operator's Guide (PDF, 350-450 pp., depending on
the system configuration)
· A small Safety Labels document (hardcopy, 8 pp., using information that
also appears in the O.G.)
· A small printer fault correction document (hardcopy, 12 pp., using
information that's also in the O.G.)
· A printer replacement document (hardcopy, 20 pp., using information
that's also in the O.G.)
· An online help for each of the 3 controller softwares, which have many
similarities (a small amount of o.h. overlap with the O.G.)
· A User's Guide and online help for 3 support software pieces (overlaps
between the U.G. and o.h., and a small amount with the O.G.).

My concern for version control comes with the future. The future of this
product includes at least two major improvements through 2010. Some
components will change during this period also. Other products will
include some components of this product also, primarily the 3 controller
software subsystems.

We do not have a content management system (CMS) at this point.
· All topic/content management comes through a database that each writer
keeps updated while working on a topic.
· We place topics on a network drive, and use the directory structure to
guide where a topic should be located. (For example, we have three general
areas: full-system, controller, printer. Each of these general areas has a
"library" directory for general topics, and specific product directories
for more specific topics.)
· We haven't refined a plan to work on files while an output is being
generated. This is becoming an issue as we get ready to make our first

We also use FrameMaker books-within-books to help in regulating access to
(to help in finding) the correct topics. We don't use structured Frame,
but we plan to move to structured Frame later this year, when we get a
couple months' breathing space.

I look forward to your comments on
· Version control
· Need for a content management system
· Refinements of our process
· What to watch out for.

Thomas G (Tom) Kohn | Technical Editor | GCG WW Versamark Engineering
Services |
Eastman Kodak Company | 3000 Research Blvd | Dayton, OH 45420-4003 |
tom -dot- kohn -at- kodak -dot- com | +01 937-259-3210 Office | +01 937-271-1484 Mobile |
+01 937-259-3784 Fax |

Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include support for Windows Vista & 2007
Microsoft Office, team authoring, plus more.

True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
documentation. Boost your productivity!

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: Forum on conditional text in FrameMaker (7.2 or 8.0)
Next by Author: Re: STC is broken
Previous by Thread: Re: Fwd: RoboHelp Linking
Next by Thread: Building experience--quit after six months or tough it out?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads