Discussions from Single Sourcing
Hi Diane, You may want to post to our Content Life Cycle email discussion list. Go here to subscribe: http://clcsig.org/?s=discussion I use Flare, RoboHelp, and Confluence wiki and can give you some advice. But we'd like to move our discussions to our email list. Thanks. Gina
I'm currently using Author-It and have been for years (10+). I've really enjoyed working with it and it is my preference (having brought it to four startups). However, we are looking for output that is much more modern-looking and web-like ... I was going to look into Flare, but don't know anything about it yet. What is good about it? What is bad? Does anyone have any other suggestions? Thanks!
No real standard has emerged. WebHelp--which is basically uncompiled HTML help with some java tossed in; you more flexibility than with CHM, particularly in terms of appearance. Some people are even using wikis. CHM is still floating about out there--though it is very difficult to access a CHM across a network. We use webhelp, authoring with Adobe TCS4 (Frame 11 and RoboHelp 10). We're finally starting to get some decent results--while the two programs work well enough independently, the interface between them is problematic, particularly if you use conditional text.
Mollye, I need to edit the information on the PDF. Should I email my new profile to you? Thanks. Gina
Thanks, Tony! I had hoped to avoid requiring users to install a third-party app, but I guess it is unavoidable until the basic reader has full functionality. I wouldn't mind requiring the Adobe Reader app, but that doesn't work with the links either.
There was just an interesting thread on the Framers email list about this. Jeremy Griffith of Omni Systems posted a working general strategy for FrameMaker users, but the principle may work for Word users as well: 1. Generate HTML output as individual pages for each topic, 2. ZIP them, then 3. import the ZIP file into Calibre. 4. Convert to .mobi for Kindle and ePUB for others. I did it and it worked very well for me, good enough to ship to customers.
Hi Gina, Thanks for reaching out! The Single Sourcing SIG has several webinars planned and we would be happy to work with the ITC. Many CMS products handle translations and translations were not a part of the solution Paula needed to provide. Our webinars will be based on solutions to business challenges. For us, this means single sourcing-based content with a specific scenario. our webinars must be demos rooted in practice, not vendor demos that show product features. So, if this sounds good, let's put our heads together and write a clear translation scenario. From there, I'll find someone who can address the the scenario with real content and lessons learned. A typical scenario includes a comprehensive business challenge, the content inputs (file formats) and the content outputs. The solution would be how tools and processes are applied to meet the business challenges and deliver the required outputs. Please contact me and let's work together! Best, Mollye email@example.com
John, Our customers are using our Track-It! Mobile application on iPhones and other smartphones as well. I created the online help using Madcap Flare 7's mobile WebHelp feature. I even entered it in the Florida Technical Communications Competition (hosted by our local STC chapter). and am awaiting the results later this month. We didn’t want to use traditional WebHelp, since it would be difficult to read and navigate. I researched best practices for mobile WebHelp usability, such as minimalist writing for the small screen, font size, and mobile terminology (touch gestures). I used resources including Joe Welinske's book and found some information on the Web. I customized Madcap Flare 7's WebHelp Mobile output feature with our corporate branding (colors, fonts, and logo), and improved it with customized buttons one of our developers created. I recorded a brief video tutorial included in the WebHelp using Camtasia Studio 7 and an iPhone emulator. I produced the video in two formats (Quicktime .mov for iPhones and iPads, and .swf for Android mobile phones). I used my own voice for the narrations with an ordinary Microsoft headset. The Mobile WebHelp is designed to be used on a mobile phone, but can be viewed in the various browsers, ideally in Chrome and Safari, but also in Internet Explorer, and Firefox. The Mobile WebHelp was also localized/translated into four languages: French, German, Latin American Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese. Context-sensitive help will be implemented in the next release of our software. Joe is speaking at our STC Suncoast chapter in St. Petersburg, Florida on January 25. I'm looking forward to meeting him. Gina
Bill's right. You can get individual messages. Unfortunately, there's no way to get a weekly "batched" notification. This was something we requested during the beta but was outside the scope of the selected software platform.
It could be. Is single sourcing just another repackaging of that old saying "write once, use many times" or is there something more? Does talking about single sourcing mean we also need to talk about content strategy and management?
How do you define single sourcing? (I'm also posting this question as a new discussion topic. Please considering leaving your reply there. Thanks.)
I'm testing creating some screencasts in Camtasia Studio 7 of a mobile web app for a getting started video. I am using Madcap Flare 7 to create the mobile webhelp. Should I just use the default cursor in Camtasia, or should I try to show an image of a finger showing the gestures (tapping and flicking)? Flare's demo on YouTube just shows a cursor. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLg7dsDe-fE I don't want to record a video of a real person doing this. I'm reading Joe Welinske's new book on Developing User Assistance for Mobile Apps, which is very indepth, and he mentions live action and simulation, but nothing about the cursor vs. finger image. Thanks. Gina
Oops. I should review my posts before I hit send. It's www.ditachicks.com.
Lots of questions in one post, Bill! Single-sourcing in FrameMaker 10 (just upgraded). Current output is printed pages, and PDF docs intended for printing by end-user. We use topical files (if it has a Level 1 heading, it starts a new file). Lots of conditional text as content is shared across multiple product lines. Conditional text is used at the SENTENCE level, not individual or small groups of words. For translation purposes, this is the minimum string size to conditionalize. Efficiencies: turnaround time is vastly reduced. One writer is maintaining User and Quick Ref guides for 7 or 8 product lines, plus OEM versions as well. Replacement kit instructions are incorporated directly into the Maintenance Manual book (previously, info was copied and reused). Less "drift" of content across multiple versions of product documentation with the "update once, use many" method. Reduced editing time. Better consistency across all product documentation. Translation time is reduced (and correspondingly, costs are significantly reduced). We deliver translations in up to 36 languages at product release instead of 1-2 months afterwards as done 7 years ago. Inefficiences: some problems with conditional text - can be difficult to make sure stuff is tagged correctly. Text insets are not easy to use with all the conditional text, so we abandoned those in most cases. The inefficiences are vastly outweighed by the efficiences gained. We are looking at moving to structured/DITA content. Need to be able to share XML content with the company Knowledgebase and with Tech Support, so it's a win-win. Want to be able to easily repurpose content for multiple output options, including mobile and tablet platforms, as well as product interface screen (printer screen).