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Subject:Re: Advice for manuals From:Chet Ensign <Chet_Ensign%LDS -at- NOTES -dot- WORLDCOM -dot- COM> Date:Wed, 21 Dec 1994 09:50:33 EDT
Also written in response to:
...Ideally, they'd like to produce manuals that are *only what the customer
ordered*... The idea is that I will write it, and someone else will build
the manual...in-house software will have a part number for the text
associated with Z,A,M, and R...Well, what about a table of contents?
This is an ideal example of a project that could be implemented with SGML. I
think, in fact, that some large equipment manufacturers are already doing this.
SGML has the concept of an entity. An entity is an object, be it a document, or
an element within the document. Entities external to a document are defined
first, then called in when they are needed in the document.
You could set up such as system so that you write modular document components.
Whoever is responsible for producing the "customer" document creates the
customer doc which is simply a series of entity calls. TOC and Index could all
be generated as a by-product of the composition proces. In fact, by storing the
appropriate tracking data in a preamble section of your modules, you could have
a computer program assemble the customer doc on the fly, for example, generated
as a sub-process of the order entry system. Then you only need to have a person
intervene to QA check the output.
Doug the Data Librarian is quite right, however. Such is system can't be done
cheaply. Your company would have to make the call as to whether or not it was a
cost-effective strategic investment.
Director, Electronic Publishing
Logical Design Solutions, Inc.
Email: chet -at- lds -dot- com
Email (home): censign -at- interserv -dot- com