Subject: single-sourcing
From: mpriestley -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM
Date: Thu, 7 Apr 1994 11:44:07 EDT

Warning - long append. Didn't have time to edit it down...

I'm single-sourcing from Bookmaster to: hardcopy (straight Bookmaster),
VM online (Bookmanager), and OS/2 online (IPF). Not everything gets
used in every context, and there is some stuff that is unique to each medium.
For the files that have enough generic information to be used on every
platform, there is a fair bit of DVCF-tagging (for a conditional compile),
and a tool we use for translating BM to IPF.

I'm not sure what you mean by SGML interpreter in this case.

One of the problems I'm seeing so far (I'm very new at this myself) is that
to use online capabilities fully, you need so much DVCF-tagging in the source
document that in some cases you double the size of the source document.
Kind of obviates the purpose of single-sourcing.

When what you're translating is mostly reference material, however, and your
schedules/budgets are such that you wouldn't have time to make the online
version elegant anyway, then single source is a great way to get the info
online, in a usable format if not an ideal format.

Definitely you want to be designing the source with both in mind: keep
information short and to the point, "chunk" your information; write as if
for online, and it looks fine in hardcopy. Organize for hardcopy, but keep
it modular enough that it translates into panels easily (don't have three-page
topics). "Related info" type links can be kept in a list at the end of each
topic, and brought in only for the online (keeping the main text body the same
for both media).

This is as much as I know/have been told, I expect I'll be changing my mind
about some things as I get more into it. I've only been at it about a month.

I'd be interested in hearing how you feel about single-sourcing, and how it

Michael Priestley
mpriestley -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com
Disclaimer: everything I've written is my opinion only, and has at best a
coincidental relation to any official or unofficial IBM policy, belief, or
whatever. I'm not speaking on behalf of IBM, or of anyone except myself.
I'm probably totally wrong, and any warranty, explicit or implied, is void
anywhere outside the Antarean star system. I know I'll probably get sued
anyway one of these days, litigation being the hobby of millions, but what
the hell - I hear they have free cookies in the courtroom.

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