I rebrand our docset for a partner much the way described by Deb, with some of Grant's ideas. The main difference is that I do the rebranding myself rather than send source files to the partner (which has no tech writer resource). It is likely that this year will see at least one additional rebranding partner, so I have put a lot of thought into it.
I am a lone writer, so I have to be methodical and my system has to be simple enough for me to manage even in that brain-dead state at the end of the product release. My conclusion so far: (These are sometimes generally specific and sometimes more- or only applicable to a software product or to a doc set that will keep the same basic layout and doc size as our own. If the product is not software, or if the rebrander will use different page layouts, sizes, etc, then some of these do not apply to your situation.) Use a set of variables for things like the company name, product name, and part number, and to store the variables in one dedicated document so I remember to update them all. Put all images in an Images folder, and use the same names and dimensions. Screen captures can be tricky, because if they are not captured the same way (geographically) then the edge of the screen capture can be a variable distance from the edge of the frame. Assume the rebrander will have to get all new screen captures and set a process for it with image resolution, file format, etc all predefined. Put all text insets in an Insets folder. I especially use one for the trademarks and copyright info on the back of the title page. After changing the variables, do a global search-replace for your company and product names to catch any that were not variables, including variants in a command line illustration or other types of usage. For example, we used to install our software product into \onesign\... and the partner installed into \touchpass\... That caused headaches, so now we both install to \ssoprovider\.... Until that time, it was a problem for me, because the \onesign\ did not work with the variable OneSign. Changing the variables in the text does not change the variables in the markers, so the index has to be rebranded separately with a search/replace. IXgen saves A LOT of time and effort here, because you can do the search-replace in the IXgen file and then apply the changes throughout. Use different variables for bolded and unbolded forms. IIRC markers do not keep character formatting information. You can have apparently random bold entries in your ToC if the variable is used in a heading that has a bold format. Figure captions and unordered lists were also problematic, all solved by using two variable styles. If you use a logo or similar graphic treatment in a footer or to open a chapter, the rebrander must use an image of similar dimensions unless they are willing to adjust the page layouts to suit their own corporate look. If the rebrander uses a different font, be sure to look for special characters like some bullets or "code" text. For example, if you use Courier to show user input and Arial for everything else, and the rebrander uses Verdana where you use Arial, then the Courier might also need to be changed, or can get caught up in a careless SelectAll-change-to-Verdana step. Our product is called OneSign, and theirs is TouchPass. If their product was called Applesandorangesandotherneatstuff, then two issues arise: 1) pagination issues because their name is so long, so you may get odd pages or two page spreads just because one lousy line got bumped to another page and 2) every place that I say you need "a OneSign profile" they need to say "an Applesandoranges...." profile - the a/an is not part of your variable and must be caught with a search-replace. Remember if the rebrander will need new screen captures, then they need the software to get them from, including lists of acceptable usernames if the product is a software product that shows lists of user accounts, etc. I keep a separate database of users and applications and then when it is time to get my final screencaps I purge all others out of the machine I am working on and import my own known safe users and applications. Be sure to check all examples and illustrations for hidden references to your own company name. *** I am wondering if switching to Structured FrameMaker will make any of this easier or more difficult...any ideas? -----Original Message----- From: framers-bounces+jsgammato=imprivata....@lists.frameusers.com [mailto:framers-bounces+jsgammato=imprivata.com at lists.frameusers.com] On Behalf Of Deb Hardy Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2006 2:23 PM To: framers at lists.frameusers.com Subject: Rebranding/OEM'ing Frame files I originally posted this question on Friday, but it didn't go through. (Switching to plain text now!) Thanks in advance for any feedback. Deb Hardy <edittur at yahoo.com> wrote: For those of you who distribute your source files to OEM partners, would you be willing to share the basics of how you prepare your Frame files for rebranding? I think our rebranding efforts are going to be very simple, but I want to go into this feeling confident that I've picked the best approach. I would be extremely grateful if any of you who have successfully created re-brandable Frame files could share some wisdom. Here's what I'm thinking so far: * For company name (and product names, if it becomes necessary), we'll create a user variable. * For the corporate logo that appears on our cover page and in our running footers, we'll give our file a generic name like "corp_logo.gif" and instruct the OEM partners to replace this file with their own similarly sized corporate logo. Do both of these approaches seem reasonable and optimal? I'm particularly concerned about the logo-replacement issue. I'm pretty sure that images and anchored frames can't have user variables attached to them, so I'm sort of perplexed about any other option besides replacing the existing logo. It seems like there should be a better way than overwriting our file... Am I missing something obvious? Is there a good argument for using conditional text for this problem? I'm hesitant to add more conditional-text tags to our book, but I will happily do it if it turns out to be the best solution. I've Googled my little heart out searching for OEM/rebranding best practices, especially in terms of FrameMaker capabilities, and I'm coming up short. Thanks so much in advance for any advice you can offer! -deb h. __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around http://mail.yahoo.com _______________________________________________ You are currently subscribed to Framers as jsgammato at imprivata.com. To unsubscribe send a blank email to framers-unsubscribe at lists.frameusers.com or visit http://lists.frameusers.com/mailman/options/framers/jsgammato%40imprivat a.com Send administrative questions to lisa at frameusers.com. Visit http://www.frameusers.com/ for more resources and info.