Re: on custom-built docs & feature databases...

Subject: Re: on custom-built docs & feature databases...
From: Chet Ensign <Chet_Ensign%LDS -at- NOTES -dot- WORLDCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 1996 16:39:20 -0600

Joyce Flaherty writes...

> 3-Hardcopy--I haven't figured out yet how I am going to
> get the retrieved information into an application to
> produce hardcopy in a format that doc finds acceptable.

Have you checked out the Miles33 system, or XyVisions's Parlance system?
Depending on your print volumes, these systems might be appropriate. Both are
composition systems that will produce PostScript output from SGML input. For
info on Miles, check with Marino Ce Cecchis, VP of Sales & Marketing at
203-656-1800. For info on XyVision, contact Mike Maziarka at 617-245-4100.

> 4-Online--We are dedicated to royalty-free viewers for the online display.

If you are going to pop a database into the picture (even if you're not) you
could look at dynamically converting SGML into HTML and letting Web browsers be
the reading tool. That would not be hard at all.

> dare I mention that taking the tool expertise and page
> design function away from the tech writers is another
> objective. I have read that page design can consume
> from 40%-an amazing 90% of a writer's time. I would
> like to see more of this time spent putting words that
> communicate into the computer.

Joyce, where did you read that? I'm hunting for references. I did an internal
and informal study of some small but typical documentation projects that showed
actual creative work (the putting words on paper part) was at best 25% of the
writers time. I too would like to see that ratio grow, but I think that there
are other ways to approach it than taking the **feel** of page design away from
the writers.

Our field seriously needs some better data on the economics of content
creation. Hummm. Wonder if the STC wants to fund that as a research project. |->

Best,

/chet

Chet Ensign
Logical Design Solutions
571 Central Avenue http://www.lds.com
Murray Hill, NJ 07974 censign -at- lds -dot- com [email]
908-771-9221 [Phone] 908-771-0430 [FAX]


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