John Sgammato wrote:

> One of my goals is to permit my SMEs (mostly software developers and
> QA people) to add comments to XML files during the period before
> feature freeze when they are actively developing and I am not yet
> writing. My idea is that they can comment while things are fresh in
> their minds, and then when I come around interviewing them later in
> the cycle it will be easier for all involved to be sure we miss
> nothing.

Have a look at http://www.pageseeder.com. (I have a commercial interest 
in this product.) More than just wanting them to comment, you may also 
like them to start threaded discussions in very specific points of the 
documents, then you could assess the discussion and make the change 
accordingly, all from within the same interface. You really need a 
collaboration product - this is outside of the realms of sensible use of 
FrameMaker.

> One drawback to this plan is the difficulty of finding what they
> need. I am a lone writer for a small company. We cannot afford an
> expensive CMS.

PageSeeder isn't expensive by CMS standards, and there is also the far 
less expensive option of having a hosted solution.

> But if the XML elements are stored in Chapter7.XML,
> then most developers won't know how to find the element they would
> comment on, and the system won't be used. I would like to be able to
> save elements like procedureDatabaseBackup.xml,
> overviewFingerBiometrics, and procedureInstalKerberos.xml, if I can.
> This would make it easier to use a relatively simple taxonomy to
> identify the elements and encourage use of the system.

So the logical conclusion is that the hardcopy does not mesh with the 
requirements of creation and maintenance of the data. If you still want 
to use FrameMaker, use it to publish hardcopy, but leave the management 
and manipulation of the data to something purpose-built. If you think 
about it, FrameMaker was never designed with any sort of workflow in 
mind - it's a typesetting engine (and a very good one).

I'd be building XML fragments and loading them into a collaboration 
application. Then right at the end of the process, knowing that the XML 
was all up to date and that everyone was happy, I'd kick off an XSLT 
process to combine and order the fragments into one XML file that I knew 
FrameMaker could typeset in it's sleep. I'd open it, let it paginate and 
generate the ToC etc, then put out the PDF. Some may see that as 
marginalising FrameMaker - I see it as using it for what it's good at.

> Does anyone have experience with this? 

Yep, I do... ;-)


-- 
Regards,

Marcus Carr                      email:  mcarr at allette.com.au
___________________________________________________________________
Allette Systems (Australia)      www:    http://www.allette.com.au
___________________________________________________________________
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
        - Einstein

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