RE: Flat files in Flare, vs. DITA in CCMS

Subject: RE: Flat files in Flare, vs. DITA in CCMS
From: "Janoff, Steven" <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, "Robert Lauriston" <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2014 23:59:35 +0000

Thanks, Robert, this is good. Let me think about that. I think the two aspects you distinguish are both important (the database part and the unstructured part).

Steve

On Friday, September 26, 2014 4:24 PM, Robert Lauriston wrote:

When they say, "A Flat File structure â There is no hidden database,"
they don't mean a structure of flat files, they mean a flat structure of files, that is, topics are just a pool of files in a directory.
That is the definition in this context.

When they say the benefit of that is "Flare projects can be stored locally on your PC or they can be stored on a network drive without fear of database corruption that plagues tools with older architectures," they're talking about RoboHelp, which indeed has a hidden database.

Flare topic files are XHTML. They're unstructured in the DITA sense.

On Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 2:51 PM, Janoff, Steven <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com> wrote:
> Hi,
>
> Greetings from the new gig. One month in. (Great place, great
> opportunity.)
>
> I'm trying to get my mind around the difference between what MadCap likes to refer to as the "flat file" nature of information in Flare, vs. the structured information in DITA/XML files housed in a component content management system (CCMS). If I've got that right.
>
> There seem to be several definitions of "flat file" and the one I'm
> after has to do with the data in the file not being, if I understand
> this right, hierarchical or structured, within the file. This
> contrasts with DITA, where a DITA/XML file has a very hierarchical
> structure based on the DITA spec. (Certain rules about what elements
> can go in what kind of topic and in what order, what subelements they
> can have, what attributes each of those elements in the topic can
> have, etc.)
>
> The definitions of "flat file" I'm *not* talking about are first, the one where all files are stored in a single directory, and second, a "flat file system" or structure within a database, which has to do with a lack of relationship between tables (that's as far as I'm going to guess with that one).
>
> So again, as far as I can get with this, I think we're talking about
> the data in a Flare file is not really tagged according to any
> hierarchical standard. (Well, maybe it's XML or XHTML, and I believe
> it can also import DITA, but I'm talking about versus true DITA
> functionality.)
>
> So how would you describe the difference between what makes a file "flat" and what would make the same file "non-flat" or structured if they're the same thing?
>
> Thanks for any help you can provide in clarifying this. What I'm really getting at is the difference between HATs like Flare, and full-blown DITA-based CCMS's -- but from the standpoint of the content (topics).
>
> Steve


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Follow-Ups:

References:
Flat files in Flare, vs. DITA in CCMS: From: Janoff, Steven
Re: Flat files in Flare, vs. DITA in CCMS: From: Robert Lauriston

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