TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
On 6/10/08, Guy McDonald <GMcDonald -at- lgc -dot- com> wrote:
> If you use DITA, I'd like to hear from you too. Specifically,
> 1. What benefits (to doc process and your clients) motivated you to
> endure the pain of legacy conversion?
First and foremost, we knew we couldn't keep up with demand without making a
change. We have an increased production requirement, our product line and
numbers of releases are more than doubling. The content is already
well-structured, but not structured per se.
By breaking out into topics, we can reduce our translation costs with more
general product-neutral descriptions of our features and functionality. The
more product-specific reference and task topics can share some, but are more
likely to be one-of's for each product. Nonetheless, the sharing facilitates
We needed to restructure our writing so that we could have specialists in
the various aspects of our products. We need to ensure we're getting the
right information at the right depth for each product. For example, I now
write all topics to do with measurements and analysis. It's my job to know
which measurement and analysis features are on each system. As a specialist,
I can work more closely with the developers and focus on the topics I'm
responsible for (I'm also responsible for two other sections of the manual).
We're structured more like the development teams now.
2. What tool set did you choose?
We have a legacy content management system (Documentum) and we are using
XMetal with an add-on to access the docbase.
3. Did you have to overcome any resistance by others? If so, what
> arguments did you make to convince them to make the change?
No, this was a decision made by the group. The end user writers are using
DITA, the service writers (who have no translation requirement) continue to
use Frame/Documentum. This may end when the support for FrameLink expires
with the older docbase.
4. Does bulk conversion really work yet (e.g. batch conversion of RH
> output to Mediawiki), or is it wise to contract the work out?
Contract the work out, if you can. We did some bulk conversion using FM
mapping. There were issues. They haunt us.
Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ
from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even
incapable of forming such opinions.
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. http://www.DocToHelp.com/TechwrlList
True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
documentation. Boost your productivity! http://www.helpandmanual.com
You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-