Re: Documentation collaboration - best practices and tools used?

Subject: Re: Documentation collaboration - best practices and tools used?
From: Shawn <shawn -at- cohodata -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2014 04:33:28 -0700

Correction under *My Criteria*...

I recently learned that PDF documents are actually quite difficult to
interpret in order to allow easy full text editing. Considering that
possibility... I am also willing to consider using Flare's HTML Target
output as a source for online collaboration. Too bad Google Docs will only
accept the text of an HTML file.


On Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 4:27 AM, Shawn <shawn -at- cohodata -dot- com> wrote:

> Greetings all,
>
> I am seeking advice on best practices for including document collaboration
> in your workflow.
>
> My current workflow is an inconvenient mess:
> 1) Storyboarding and build pre-draft work is completed in Google Docs (we
> use Google Apps for office)
> Pros: OS agnostic tool that allows all employees to contribute.
> Cons: Need to manually copy content into Flare to build draft
> document. Once I begin building
> Flare draft, the Google Doc is out of sync/obsolete.
>
> 2) Move draft content into MadCap Flare (for building HTML/PDF documents)
>
> 3) Publish draft content to PDF and upload to Crocodoc for collaboration
> review
> Pros: OS agnostic reviewing tool that presents a near-exact replica of
> the published doc.
> Cons: Only allows annotations and comments. No editing of document
> allowed.
>
> 4) Take comments and integrate into Flare source - repeat back to (3),
> until Final.
> Cons: Tedious and inefficient process.
>
> It is imperative that I improve this workflow... or at least improve Step
> 3.
>
> *My Criteria*
> - Must be an OS agnostic collaboration tool. In other words, MadCap
> Contributor is useless in my work environment.
> - The collaboration tool must allow full text editing (not just comments)
> - ideally from a PDF since this is my most mature Flare Target.
> - Must be low cost or free. Some SAAS collaboration tools cost $1000's per
> year.
> I want to avoid any SAAS that requires cumbersome account logins or
> charges per user access. Some of my SMEs may only need to review a document
> once. I don't want to have to pay a fee for that one-time use.
> - Ideally, the ability to leverage Google Docs is desired.
> - I need to automate/script any process that involves Flare output to
> collaboration tool.
>
>
> *What have I tested?*
>
> Management is encouraging me to leverage what we already have...
> - I spent some time trying to use Google docs throughout the entire
> workflow. Unfortunately, Google Docs is extremely limited in its ability to
> convert PDF to gdoc format. I have even tested Word to gdoc conversion but
> the results were less than desirable.
>
> - git is also a central tool in our work environment, so I had also
> considered Confluence. Unfortunately, it also has very limited import
> functions...although its conversion of Word to Confluence (wiki) is
> significantly better than Word to gdoc.
>
> - I have even considered Acrobat's Shared review option. Adobe reader is
> pretty much hardware agnostic, in the sense that its binary is universally
> available. This is still in progress as I have hit a minor roadblock...
> need a Webdav repository.
>
>
> If only there was a 3rd party PDF to gdocs converter available (or Flare
> gdocs Target option). I believe my troubles would be over. :)
>
>
> Your shared experiences are valued!
>
> Thank you,
>
> --
> *Shawn Connelly*
> Technical writer
>
>



--
*Shawn Connelly*
Technical writer

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