Dynamic Document Building (long)

Subject: Dynamic Document Building (long)
From: "Andrews, Doug" <doug -dot- andrews -at- GS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 11 Mar 1998 10:54:13 -0500

Can someone share their wisdom on the following situation?

The Problem:

To cut down on the size of large-ish WORD documents (100+ pp.) on our
web site, my management has asked me to figure out a way of "building"
documents dynamically via the web.

An Example:

We have a WORD 7.0 document (150 pp.) re the hardware/software
installation of NT Servers on a variety of platforms for a variety of
server functions (e.g., file server, print server, etc.). From platform
to platform, a lot of the installation information is identical. But
naturally, there are platform-specific and function-specific
instructions. Presumably, the document "building" procedure would go
something like this:

+ On an interactive web page, the user specifies the target hardware
platform (e.g., Dell 2100, Compaq 6500, etc.)

+ The user specifies server function (e.g., file server, domain
controller, etc.).

+ Then some behind-the-scenes logic would "build" the document
dynamically, culling the platform- and function-specific sections from a
master document, based upon the user's choices on the web page.

Questions:

I've read the TECHWRL archives re conditional text in WORD, and I
understand the ideas that have been circulated about using templates
with hidden text tags, etc. But how would I programmatically use the
user's choices on the web page to pull out the relevant sections in a
master WORD document, or multiple WORD documents? (A CGI script w/ WORD
macros?)

Are there other tools or approaches out there that I should be
considering in dynamic document building ? (BTW, I'm familiar with the
advantages of FrameMaker, but WORD is pretty entrenched here. It would
take major lobbying to switch over.)

Our environment is NT 4.0, with an IIS 4.0 web server.

Any insights, suggestions, or warnings would be much appreciated.

Doug Andrews
doug -dot- andrews -at- gs -dot- com




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