Re: Advice for manuals

Subject: Re: Advice for manuals
From: "Bonni J. Graham" <bgraham -at- ELECTRICITI -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 1994 08:43:20 PST

Chet notes
"You could set up such as system so that you write modular document
Whoever is responsible for producing the "customer" document creates the
customer doc which is simply a series of entity calls. TOC and Index could
be generated as a by-product of the composition proces. In fact, by storing
appropriate tracking data in a preamble section of your modules, you could
a computer program assemble the customer doc on the fly, for example,
as a sub-process of the order entry system. Then you only need to have a
intervene to QA check the output."

Interestingly enough, I'm currently working on online help for a product
that does just that. You write "text pieces" that can then be approved and
tracked by version number or legal jurisdiction or whatever, depending on
the type of document. There's a relatively qucik definition and assembly
process, and then you have customized documents. Only approved pieces are
included in the assembly, which means that you can have draft text written
and stored for upcoming versions, but still assemble and send existing

The hard part of documeting this system is the setup time, though. You
have to have thought EVERYTHING through before you even begin to write and
assemble. Still, once you're set up, continuing the process is pretty

If anyone's interested, let me know -- I can get more information for you.

Bonni Graham
Manual Labour
Director, Region 8 Conference
bgraham -at- electriciti -dot- com

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