Re: in search for better tools

Subject: Re: in search for better tools
From: Yves Barbion <yves -dot- barbion -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: GILLIOTTE Valérie <vgilliotte -at- mega -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 09 Dec 2009 09:34:39 +0100

Hi Valérie

It looks like you're ready for an "upgrade" to DITA. You could proceed
as follows:

1. Get DITA training.
2. Conduct a pilot: "convert" some representative content to DITA.
"Convert" is in quotes, because this is not just a technical conversion;
it may also mean "restructuring" your content and disambiguating style
usage. For the technical part of the conversion, you can use MIF2Go
<http://www.omsys.com/dcl/mif2go_main.htm>, by far the best tool
available today to convert FrameMaker files to DITA XML.
3. In FrameMaker, use the DITA-FMx <http://leximation.com/dita-fmx/>
plug-in to update your content or write new content. FrameMaker 9 has
DITA support, but DITA-FMx offers A LOT more and you can even use it
with FrameMaker 7.2 and 8.
4. To publish your content, you can still use ePublisher Pro
<http://www.webworks.com/Solutions/By_Environment/DITA/>. The latest
version is now 2009.3 which accepts "unstructured" and structured
FrameMaker files, DITA and even Word files as input and which can
generate a myriad of output formats.

Will DITA solve your problems?
* Same source for PDF and online Help? Yes, DITA-FMx and ePublisher can
do that.
* Different outputs based on the same source but with slight differences
in the names of concepts (aka "variants")? Yes, DITA can do this with
"conrefs" and "ditaval". "Conrefs" sort of a combination of FrameMaker
variables and text insets (but better); ditaval is the DITA mechanism to
do conditional publishing.
* Handling multiple conditions? Yes, using ditaval.
* Structured FM requires more time to implement .... as our
documentation is not always topic-oriented? Not necessarily. If you are
already doing "medium-level single sourcing with Frame and WebWorks",
you can get up and running with structured FM in just a couple of days,
especially if you use DITA and the DITA-FMx plug-in, which provide you
with all the necessary structured applications and templates. Even if
your content is not topic-oriented now, you can gradually move to DITA
(and you can definitely show examples of processes in the form of DITA
topics).

Scripto is a "small structure" which has already implemented many XML
solutions without too much cost. If you'd like to see how this can be
done with your content, feel free to send us a sample and we'll give it
a whirl. Or, if you'd like to see DITA in action, we can have a
(web)meeting.

Kind regards

Yves Barbion . Managing Director . Adobe-Certified FrameMaker Instructor
www.scripto.nu <http://www.scripto.nu/index.php?q=en/node/7> . skype:
yves.barbion . T: +32 494 12 01 89 . F: +32 9 366 50 23










GILLIOTTE Valérie wrote:
> Hello,
>
> We are currently using Frame 7.1 and WWP2003 + ePro for single-sourcing our documentation. When I mean single sourcing, I mean having the same source for Pdfs and on-line help, that's all. We are now up against a new problem : having to produce different outputs based on the same source but with slight differences in the names of concepts etc (for example, according to the framework customers are using, a cat could be called a dog .... (but the principle of use of the tool remains the same).
>
> Right now, we would have to duplicate large portions of texts, changing them slightly, which is insane. I know Frame 7 is not ideal for managing multiple conditions and and I don't find text insets common to all products that easy to manage.
>
> I wonder what the best tools are and the easiest to implement for this now ( unfortunately, we have fewer human resources and more texts to duplicate).
>
> I considered using Frame 9. I kwow it handles conditions much better than Frame 7. Then, the question would be structured or unstructured ? I guess structured would be a better way as it enforces structure but requires more time to implement .... as our documentation is not always topic-oriented (sometimes we have to show examples of processes).
>
> To sum it up, years ago we implemented medium-level single sourcing with Frame and Webworks for print and on-line help. Now we need a bit more but we still can't afford high-level single sourcing (XML-XSL, etc), at least I guess so (if some small structures have sucessfuly implemented an XML solution without too much cost, I would be glad to hear about it).
>
> I wonder what the best compromise is ... Is it still Frame? (Or are there other tools that could be worth investigating ?)
>
> Thanks in advance for any feedback. You can reply off-list as I am on a digest.
>
> Valerie
>
>
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> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>
> Are you looking for one documentation tool that does it all? Author,
> build, test, and publish your Help files with just one easy-to-use tool.
> Try the latest Doc-To-Help 2009 v3 risk-free for 30-days at:
> http://www.doctohelp.com/
>
> Help & Manual 5: The all-in-one help authoring tool. True single- sourcing --
> generate 8 different formats and as many different versions as you need
> from just one project. Fast and intuitive. http://www.helpandmanual.com/
>
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Are you looking for one documentation tool that does it all? Author,
build, test, and publish your Help files with just one easy-to-use tool.
Try the latest Doc-To-Help 2009 v3 risk-free for 30-days at:
http://www.doctohelp.com/

Help & Manual 5: The all-in-one help authoring tool. True single- sourcing --
generate 8 different formats and as many different versions as you need
from just one project. Fast and intuitive. http://www.helpandmanual.com/

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References:
in search for better tools: From: GILLIOTTE Valérie

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