Using Conditional Text to Produce Multiple Docs from one Source

Subject: Using Conditional Text to Produce Multiple Docs from one Source
From: Kent Newton <kentn -at- METRIX-INC -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 1996 18:51:00 PDT

Techwhirlers,

Do you have any success stories, horror stories, amusing anecdotes, tips,
suggestions, or personal biases on using conditional text in a single
source document to produce multiple target documents. Specifically, I'm
looking for any experience using FrameMaker's conditional text features.

Here's the story: Our documentation department is assuming
responsibility for producing the training manuals in addition to our
online help and reference manuals. Our plan is to assign topics to each
of our writers. That writer will then research and document that topic
for all three targets. To reduce the number of files we maintain and
minimize duplicate work, we are planning on maintaining all three
versions in one document, the source document. The document will use
conditional text to identify which portions of the document will appear
in the reference manual, the training manual, and the online help. When
it comes to produce the target documentation, will will assign one of
three templates to the source document. Each template will use the same
paragraph tags and character tags, however the tags' attributes and the
conditional text settings will differ. The output will look different
not only in terms of content but also in look and function.

We have never done this before. While it sounds reasonable in theory, I
was wondering if anyone has had any experience doing this. Does it
really work? Is it a pipe dream? Are there any pitfalls we should look
out for?

If you have had experience doing this, I would like to hear about it.
Please respond privately to the email address below. If anyone is
interested in the results, I'll gladly either post them on the list or
privately (depending on the level of interest).

Thank you for your attention.

Kent Newton
Senior Technical Writer
Metrix, Inc.
kentn -at- metrix-inc -dot- com

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