DITA Folder Structure Question

Subject: DITA Folder Structure Question
From: "Gilbert, Brian" <BGILBER -at- transunion -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 5 May 2009 11:22:16 -0500


My company is investigating DITA/structured writing for documentation
and eLearning. We are creating the standards (what DITA types and
components do we want to use, what metadata do we want to collect,
file/folder structure, etc.). We've broken the initial phase into three
parts.

My team is looking at the folder structure and file naming conventions.
I think that there are three ways to go.

1. Hierarchical folder structure like Customer\Product\DITA Type (e.g.,
ABC Division\Widget\Task\)

2. Flat folder structure with file naming conventions (e.g.,
t_widget_opening.xml, where t represents a task, etc.)

3. Unstructured folders and file names not following specific
structures. For this we would need a database, enter the relevant
information (file location, file name, various metadata, etc.) in the
database.

We see advantages and disadvantages with each, and it may depend on the
tools that are being used. If the customer or product name changes (as
they do from time to time), how do you handle that with #1 or #2? How
can you handle changing the folder names when they are in conrefs? How
likely is it that authors will remember the naming convention or want to
enter a lot of data in a database?

We're looking at using Oxygen, Framemaker, XMetal, or AuthorIT for the
authoring. For a CMS, the company has SharePoint (we haven't actually
implemented it yet) and we will use this initially, but we may be able
to look into other CMSs depending on cost and functionality.

So, my questions (at last!!!)...what folder structure and tools did/do
you use? What are the problems that you've run into using that
structure? I don't want to start a tool war, but if the tool has
problems, how have you worked around those problems?

Thanks!
Brian
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