RE: Using conditions in multi-destination docs

Subject: RE: Using conditions in multi-destination docs
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 22 Dec 2009 16:45:17 -0500

Combs, Richard [mailto:richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com] observed:

> McLauchlan, Kevin wrote:
> > For a doc set that can be used with either Prod1 or
> > Prod2, can I get away with just two condition tags:
> >
> > - notProductOne
> > - notProductTwo
> >
> > Example text would be something like:
> >
> > "Your [Prod1][Prod2] arrives from the factory with default
> > network settings. Before using the appliance configure
> > for your network as follows: "
> >
> > Each time a product name appeared it would be a pair with
> > both elements condition tagged. [Prod1] would have condition
> > notProductTwo, and [Prod2] would be tagged notProductOne.
> >
> > I would do the same with paragraphs and whole topics/pages
> > that applied to just one or the other.
> All together now: It depends. :-)
> Do you (or will you potentially) have multiple deliverables to derive
> from the single source, like print/PDF plus online help? What
> application and version are you using?

Fortunately not (well, not so far).
I'm using MadCap Flare to produce WebHelp.

> In FrameMaker 7.x or earlier, conditions could only be ORed, so to AND
> conditions, you had to define combination conditions, e.g.,
> Prod1+Print,
> Prod1+Help, Prod2+Print, Prod2+Help. If you add more products and/or
> outputs, the number of combination conditions you need quickly becomes
> large. FM 8 and 9 support logical expressions for what to show, so you
> can show and hide any combination of conditions.

Oh man, I remember fighting with that.
I still have and use 7.x, but only for occasional stand-alone items,
and I've been switching over to OpenOffice for most things that are
intended to be PDF. The experience with conditional contortions with
Frame kinda scared me off using conditions if I didn't absolutely have

Later, I used RoboHelp and ran into some glitches with conditions
that eventually caused me to separate projects with a lot of common
material into, nevertheless, fully separate RH projects, and I
continued that when we switched to Flare.

I trust the stability and reliability of Flare's implementation
of conditions more than the 2003 version of RH, so I was ready
to jump back in with this new product split.

> There's no reason to name the condition for the Prod1 text "notProd2"
> unless it's easier for you to think of it that way and no one
> else will
> ever need to understand it. Me, I'd want to tag the text for Prod1 as
> "Prod1."
> I second Tammy's warning about conditionalizing mid-sentence
> snippets --
> it's much less error-prone and messy (and better for translation) to
> conditionalize only complete sentences or paragraphs.

Point well taken. And I've got a new implementation in which
to adhere to that admonition faithfully. Will do.

> If you're using FM, you shouldn't use conditions for "Your
> [Prod1][Prod2]..." anyway. Use variables for the product names, model
> numbers, doc titles, etc. Then import one set of variable
> definitions to
> output Prod1 deliverables and another set to output Prod2
> deliverables.
> If you're using Word, my sympathies. ;-)

I inherited a hefty set of product docs when we Borged an
Australian company a few years ago... all in Word. I'm
slowly converting to OpenOffice. No need for conditions... yet. :-)

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Using conditions in multi-destination docs: From: McLauchlan, Kevin
RE: Using conditions in multi-destination docs: From: Combs, Richard

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