Re: Web Server & Documents--long

Subject: Re: Web Server & Documents--long
From: Bill Burns <BillDB -at- ILE -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 1997 09:45:00 -0700

Kate Folse asks:
-------------
Does anyone have any insight on creating/distributing documents
for distribution on a web server? I have just been assigned to research
the feasibility
and figure out how to use the inter/intranet as a means of document
development and distribution.

8< 8< 8< 8< snippety >8 >8 >8 >8

I realize I have a lot of possibilities and options b/c no prior docs
exist. Should I
create docs in Word/Frame and convert them? or should I start out just
creating HTML?
In either case, which tools are best for that on a PC? In a past life I
used FrameMaker/
WebMaker to accomplish doc conversion on a unix platform and was not too
thrilled
with the results, but that could have been a result of the source docs.
-----------------

The decision on the form of your documents depends on the needs of your
users. You need to answer a few questions:

1. To which platforms must the documents be delivered?
Some of your software options may be limited by this issue. It may
also
determine which web browser would best suit your needs.

2. How are the users going to access and use the documents?
Will they download them and read them using locally installed
software?
Will they print?
Will they read them online?
Will they use the documents to find quick, need-to-know information,
or
do they need to gather detailed information for research?

3. How (and by whom) are the documents going to be maintained?
If nonwriters will be distributing information on this intranet, make
sure
to use tools/formats with which they are familiar (e.g., Word,
Excel). You
may also want to develop templates for them to use to encourage
consistency.

4. How are the documents going to be managed?
If you are using a document database (Saros or something of that
nature),
you need to determine who will have author access to documents. If
you
have a large corporation, you may want to plan for central groups in
various
departments who can either manage their departments' documents or
arrange for people to learn the correct use of the management tools.

If you are using a web server, you'll want to design a directory
structure that
will allow you to organize the documents consistently. This directory
structure
can also be used to set access rights and establish some security
(although
your control over security may be better with a document database).

5. What additional features (multimedia, database functions) do you need
to incorporate into your system?
You might want to allow Cold Fusion/SQL queries on database documents
or
on individual databases that house HTML fragments. You might also
want to
allow users to enter information into databases from the web.

If you're going to use multimedia, you'll want to consider packages
that provide
their own solutions. For example, Netscape comes with support for
various audio
and video media. These applications may have limitations, so if you
choose to
use them, you'll need to be aware of what they offer.

I'm sure I haven't covered everything, but I hope this helps.

Bill Burns
Technical Writer
billdb -at- ile -dot- com

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