Re: Single Sourcing

Subject: Re: Single Sourcing
From: Mary Deaton <m_deaton -at- KWARE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 9 Jun 1999 10:11:45 -0700


How the data is held depends on the type of system you are using. And the
structure of the database is completely dependent on how the database
designer sets it up. These solutions are typically ones you build yourself,
or have built for you. Despite pleas to the HAT companies for years, none of
them have stepped up to the plate on this issue and created a multi-user,
client/server tool that allows us to do this. Sure, there are SGML systems
for mainframes, UNIX, and Windows which costs thousands and thousands of
dollars, but nothing I have ever found for the RTF or HTML world.

In the one we sell to clients, the data is held as text. When the user
enters the information, they see formatted text. In the database it is text
with HTML tags. It could have XML tags or SGML tags. We choose for the
current version to have HTML tags. We could also output RTF, but did not
want to since right now, all of the content is going to HTML pages.

We retrieve the contents of the database via ASP code on HTML pages. In some
cases, there are stored procedures in the database that do the actual
retrieval, for example if the request is for a query or is conditional in
some way. There is almost no static HTML on the pages the user sees; even
buttons are coming from the database.

We can use this same database and these same ASP pages to deliver any
content we want for any client we want. And once the intial system is set
up, our clients maintain the content themselves.

The system is designed in such a way that we can add code to the
administrative interface that will output the content of the database as RTF
and process it in Word to create printed pages, too. This would mean using
ODBC or OLAP from Word and lots of VBA, most likely.

The system Joanne Hackos demos is, I believe, based on Access. We use SyBase
or SQL Server because Access is not scalable enough and does not handle
enough concurrent users for our needs.

Mary Deaton
President, KNOWware, LLC
(206) 682-6113
* Smart User Assistance and Training
* Microsoft MVP for HTML Help
* Program Associate, Winwriters 200 Online Conference
* Speaker, HElp Technology Conference,
* and all-around great gal!

-----Original Message-----
From: Kathy Stanzler [mailto:KatheS -at- HEALTHCARE-AUTOMATION -dot- COM]

Mark Baker said, "If you set up your source so that the content is held
in an
abstract form..." Could you explain that in more detail?

I understand the concept of single sourcing in the abstract; what I
don't understand is how it works "in real life." For example, if you are
using a database as your information repository, what does each database
record consist of? Text? XML elements? What is the structure of the
database? How do you retrieve the database information, process it, and
pass it along to the output?

Kathy Stanzler
Technical Writer
kstanzler -at- healthcare-automation -dot- com

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