Re: Single sourcing Word and HTML

Subject: Re: Single sourcing Word and HTML
From: "Steven J. Owens" <puff -at- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 4 Mar 1998 01:34:24 -0800

Kylie Bansemer writes:
> [... has a lot of word documents that they need to convert to HTML...]
> We still need the Word documents. Most of the managers here are not
> familiar with HTML, and have no wish to learn it, so they will still
> need to edit the Word source. The documents will also still need to be
> printed to show to visitors, such as clients, other department
> personnel, etc.
>
> As far as I can tell, our options are:
> [... 1) use Ms-Word's Save As
> 2) create custom macros to do Save As
> 3) double-source
> ...]
>
> So, my question is, what to do? Are there third-party applications out
> there that will do this? Have other companies tried to implement
> something like this? Are there any other options?

Definitely avoid double-sourcing at all costs, unless you *want*
them to keep calling you back to update their docs :-).

There are definitely third-party products to do things like this;
it's been a while since I've bothered to survey the field (I'm much
more comfortable whipping up a Perl script to munge the source into
appropriate HTML form) but I'd suspect that most of the products like
RoboHelp or DocToHelp, which in '95 were converting stuff to WinHelp,
now convert to HTML as well. I routinely skip over ads in web mags
that promise to convert all your ms-words docs to HTML with the press of
a key.

Hm... a quick check shows that Wextech, the guys who make
DocToHelp, also have "HelpSite" for making websites. I'd also guess
that a lot of the wysiwyg HTML editors have import utilities for
ms-word docs. You might check the WWW faq at:

http://www.w3.org/Tools/Word_proc_filters.html


As for other options, well, I wouldn't overestimate what's
involved in converting the files. Part of this depends on how complex
you want the HTML layout to be, of course, but assuming the original
MS-word layout is fairly simple it shouldn't be difficult to put
together an HTML template and a script that merges an MS-word document
into it. Another option is to maintain the whole thing in an online
database, let the managers, etc, edit the database entries through a
form-based interface, and produce either HTML or printed docs from the
database.

Steven J. Owens
puff -at- rt1 -dot- net
puff -at- netcom -dot- com
http://www.rt1.net/puff




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