Re: Conditional content - what do you do with it?

Subject: Re: Conditional content - what do you do with it?
From: Rick Stone <rstone75 -at- kc -dot- rr -dot- com>
To: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 10 May 2010 16:09:05 -0500

Hi Kevin

I know you say you are using Flare, but perhaps it has a feature similar
to RoboHelp. In RoboHelp you have an ability to turn off the cross hatch
shading. Perhaps Flare offers a similar feature?

Cheers... Rick :)

McLauchlan, Kevin wrote:
> Back in the day, I used conditions in simple ways in FrameMaker.
> More recently, but still several years ago, I used conditional
> text in RoboHelp, and started getting a little fancy with it.
> That eventually bit me in the butt, and necessitated a huge
> amount of work in a short time to fix, to my satisfaction.
> So I began easing myself out of the use of conditions,
> even as I was switching from RH to Flare as my HAT.
> Even so, I still had conditions in place, especially in
> help sets that had not been updated in a while.
> While I found that I could trust conditions to behave as
> expected in Flare, I still found the other problem that had
> annoyed me. Both RH (as I recall....) and Flare use colored
> cross-hatching on text, and colored icons in ToCs and file
> lists, to show where a given condition is applied.
> When text is given one or two conditions, that's manageable,
> but when a block of text might have four or more cross-hatchings
> applied to parts or all, it becomes visual mush.
> My color perception is reasonably good; I can always pick
> out the 'hidden' numbers and letters in the tests.
> I'm not officially visually handicapped - I just have "the
> biggest honkin' floaters <my ophthalmologist has> seen in
> <his> twenty years of practice!" - but still, I find that
> the visual clutter can be daunting. Makes reviewing
> and editing a misery. But part of an editing pass is to
> determine/confirm which bits should be included/excluded in
> this-or-that circumstance. So some of my topics are
> about as easy to read in WYSIWYG source as are government
> documents that have gone through... ahem... redaction.
> Makes ransom notes easy on the eyes, by comparison.
> Maybe that's just me.
> So what is the experience of others, and what do you
> normally do with conditions? Do you allow them to
> overlay? Do you break out text-and-illustrations to a
> new page or snippet as soon as it looks like more than
> one or two conditions might need applying if the content
> remained on the original parent page?
> Other?
> For that matter, how is conditional text/content
> depicted in the interface of HATs other than RH and
> Flare?
> I find that after you've hit three layers of colored
> cross-hatching, you are pretty much looking at brown.
> But then, that's what I said about the curtain material
> my wife picked out "It's got this bit of gold to pick
> up this accessory, and this thin red stripe to pick up
> the furniture fabric and that other little stripe to
> catch the painting behind the sofa ..."
> "But Dear, from more than three feet away, it all
> looks brown to me."
> "Brown!? That's what you say about tweed - 'it
> all looks grey' to you.
> "Well, yeah. It could have a million colors in it,
> but step back ten feet and every tweed jacket and
> skirt in the world is grayish brown... or brown-ish
> gray." :-)
> What works out there? For HATs and conditions, I
> mean, not fabric selection.
> How small a unit do you conditionalize?
> Do you actually go within-page to apply conditions
> on chunks of text, or do you confine your conditions
> to the topic-page-file level?
> I feel that I should be getting much more use and
> convenience out of the conditional feature.
> One of the product lines that I document has five
> major products that share a good 30 percent of
> their content globally, while several pairs within
> the group would have as much as 70-percent commonality.

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Conditional content - what do you do with it?: From: McLauchlan, Kevin

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