AW: Collaborative authoring, production, and CMS?

Subject: AW: Collaborative authoring, production, and CMS?
From: "Christine Leisgen" <Christine -dot- Leisgen -at- gmgcolor -dot- com>
To: "Sally Derrick" <sjd1201 -at- gmail -dot- com>, "Mike Stockman" <mstockman -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2010 13:10:15 +0100

Dear Mike, dear Sally,

I am assuming that your developers already use a Source Control? If the one they are using is supported by Madcap Flare, I would recommend the combination Flare + Source Control for collaborative authoring.

We are doing this with a team of 3 persons and Microsoft Team Foundation Server as Source Control. You have all the benefits of the source control (locking, versioning, back up, comparing, merging, history...). You can use the Annotation feature. Maybe the Review feature would also be useful, but I have no experience with that.

As Sally already mentioned, collecting content in so-called TOCs and Targets is very flexible and you can output to PDF or Word (and other formats).

(I am not using DITA in the moment and I don't think this would be required for your needs.)

Best regards, Christine

> -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
> Von: techwr-l-bounces+christine -dot- leisgen=gmgcolor -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+christine -dot- leisgen=gmgcolor -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] Im
> Auftrag von Sally Derrick
> Gesendet: Donnerstag, 25. Februar 2010 03:16
> An: Mike Stockman
> Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Betreff: Re: Collaborative authoring, production, and CMS?
>
> Have you looked at Madcap Flare for DITA content? I've only played with it
> for a couple seconds but it seemed pretty intuitive. The little bit I did
> required no manual editing, but a bit of one-time configuration. You can
> import content from several sources and also output to several. Maybe you
> could publish your content to Word, let your developers add their comments
> there, and then pull the Word content back to Flare for your final edits.
> Just an idea. Can anyone out there with more Flare experience confirm if
> that is feasible?
>
>
> Sally Derrick
>
>
> On Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 2:02 PM, Mike Stockman <mstockman -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
>
> > In my latest gig, I'm going to be creating several large technical
> > documents
> > where some developers (3 or 4 people) will be active participants in the
> > documents as well... I own them, but they'll help with structure, they'll
> > write some material, review my content, etc. I'm happy with that, but
> > passing a Word document around the department sounds like my idea of hell,
> > so I'm in the market for a new tool/workflow.
> >
> > Here are my criteria:
> >
> > 1) It should be object-oriented (topic-driven), so multiple people can be
> > in
> > different sections at the same time without stepping on each other, and to
> > make reorganization easier. Database-driven or file-driven? I don't have an
> > opinion yet.
> >
> > 2) A relatively simple authoring interface should be available... the
> > developers should be able to jump in and write or edit without learning a
> > cryptic new tagging method or a radical new interface.
> >
> > 3) The publishing method is still being defined... could be PDF, could be
> > HTML, maybe something else. The authoring environment needs to be able to
> > either spit out multiple formats (as AuthorIT or some wikis do, for
> > example)
> > or a standard format (HTML or XML that I can transform to what I eventually
> > need).
> >
> > 4) Revision control of some kind.
> >
> > Am I missing anything?
> >
> > So far, my research has led me to:
> >
> > A) Wikis. MediaWiki (the wiki behind wikipedia), the latest beta of which
> > spits out some fine looking PDFs, seems like the best so far. Revision
> > control, topic-oriented, etc. But I'm not sure how that would be for
> > organizing the information... can you set up collections of topics
> > hierarchically?
> >
> > B) Author-It/Author-It Live, which I have some past experience with. The
> > company's hard to get information from, but I'm sure I'll hear back from
> > them at some point. Author-It has the advantage of providing a Word-like UI
> > and being able to publish to many formats, but they're also pricey and the
> > people holding the purse strings at my company may balk. I may have to
> > propose it anyway, since it appears to be a decent fit.
> >
> > C) DITA-based solutions (which seem perfect in structure, topic management,
> > etc.). But the DITA editors I know about involve too much manual tagging of
> > content, even with Oxygen or Serna, and I don't think I can expect the
> > developers to learn that.
> >
> > So this ended up kind of long, but if anyone has any advice -- unlikely on
> > this list, but you never know :-) -- I'd appreciate it. If my assumptions
> > seem off, please say so, since the joy of being a sole writer is that you
> > always agree with yourself no matter how wrong you may be.
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Mike
> > ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> >
> > Use Doc-To-Help's XML-based editor, Microsoft Word, or HTML and
> > produce desktop, Web, or print deliverables. Just write (or import)
> > and Doc-To-Help does the rest. Free trial: http://www.doctohelp.com
> >
> > Explore CAREER options and paths related to Technical Writing,
> > learn to create SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS documents, and
> > get tips on FUNCTIONAL SPECIFICATION best practices. Free at:
> > http://www.ModernAnalyst.com
> >
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> >
> >
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>
> Use Doc-To-Help's XML-based editor, Microsoft Word, or HTML and
> produce desktop, Web, or print deliverables. Just write (or import)
> and Doc-To-Help does the rest. Free trial: http://www.doctohelp.com
>
> Explore CAREER options and paths related to Technical Writing,
> learn to create SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS documents, and
> get tips on FUNCTIONAL SPECIFICATION best practices. Free at:
> http://www.ModernAnalyst.com
>
> ---
> You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as christine -dot- leisgen -at- gmgcolor -dot- com -dot-
>
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>
>
> 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
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>
> Please move off-topic discussions to the Chat list, at:
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Use Doc-To-Help's XML-based editor, Microsoft Word, or HTML and
produce desktop, Web, or print deliverables. Just write (or import)
and Doc-To-Help does the rest. Free trial: http://www.doctohelp.com

Explore CAREER options and paths related to Technical Writing,
learn to create SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS documents, and
get tips on FUNCTIONAL SPECIFICATION best practices. Free at:
http://www.ModernAnalyst.com

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