Lynn -

>From my viewpoint, you are doing the right thing now. Moving away from
this method will cause you more problems down the road. However, you may
need to add additional conditional text settings to accommodate your
needs. (I assume you are storing the shared files on a network location
accessible by both writers?)

We maintain shared files for multiple product lines (at least 8 at last
count).  We have separate conditional text formats for each product line
for the following: User Guide, Quick Ref Guides, Maintenance Manual, and
Maintenance Kit. Add in some other product conditional text options (our
software and programming guides) and we are easily over 100 conditional
tags in use. It seems daunting at first, but it's really quite logical.

I suggest that you create additional logical styles, based on the region
and the software release. For example:

UK 1.1
UK 2.0
US 1.1
US 2.0

Or, if you want them grouped differently: 

1.1 US
1.1 UK

Assign each release a specific COLOR for the condition, and add a format
for the region. For example:

UK 1.1 = BLUE Overline
US 1.1 = BLUE Underline
UK 2.0 = PINE GREEN Overline
US 2.0 = PINE GREEN Underline

We created a matrix that has sample text for all of our conditions, and
use it to import conditional text and variable settings. I've attached
it to this email (the list won't get it, tho. If anyone else wants to
see this example, email me offlist.)

Also, look at the granularity of each file you are sharing. Are they
full chapters, or individual topics that are assembled into chapters
within the Frame book? (We do the topical files, assembled in the book.)
If you have topics which are completely different for new versions of
the software, create and name the topics based on that. (e.g., and installation_US-r2_0, or and installation_US-r1_1.) That allows you
addiitional control as to what gets added into specific books.


-----Original Message-----
[mailto:framers-bounces at] On Behalf Of Lynn Durell
Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 7:15 AM
To: framers at
Subject: FM file per country for same software

Hi Framers,

We currently have a single source FM doc, with conditional tags used for
UK-only or USA-only sections, so the same FM file is used for both UK
and USA versions of our software app, with 2 writers (one UK, one USA)
working in conjunction on the same file.

This is too complex to keep up, especially as UK and USA versions of the
software are not released at the same time, so we are going to split the
FM in two copies. Going forwards, there will be one writer updating the
UK FM and one writer updating the USA FM.

However, we don't want both writers to be documenting the same software,
but at the same time, we don't want one writer to have to continuously
list or copy/paste all their changes to the other writer (who then

Does anyone have experience with this and how to work with it?

Lynn Durell
lynn.durell at

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