Single Sourcing a list of questions & answers

This forum is for Single-Sourcing your Flare content to multiple outputs.

Single Sourcing a list of questions & answers

Postby Betterplanet on Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:57 am

Good Morning and Happy Holiday Season to All.
Thanks for taking time to view my question, do appreciate.
PREFACE
This if for a class I'm taking in technical communication. Am no "young buck" - just turned 70, so I appreciate your patience with me.
I, and other classmates, can barely maneuver around in Flare - just introduced to Flare a few weeks back.
FLARE PROJECT TO COMPLETE BY NEXT WEEK
We have 20 questions regarding graduate school, for which we have 20 answers (we generated our own Q&A's). They seem to me to be independent of one another?
We are supposed to upload the Q&A's into Flare and produce two outputs - one web based and the other, say pdf.
Because the Q&A's appear to be independent of one another, I, for the life of me, cannot see how to apply single sourcing to Flare
with the Q&A's I developed.
If it helps, I did break up the Q&A's into 3 major categories 1. Admissions to Grad School, 2. Costs for the Degree, and 3. Ancillary Questions
Honestly, I am lost as how to begin and what to do, any directions, suggestions, helpful links, other posts in this wonderful forum would be most appreciated!
Again, Best Holiday Wishes, Mort in Dallas
Betterplanet
Jr. Propeller Head
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:48 am

Re: Single Sourcing a list of questions & answers

Postby SteveS on Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:39 pm

If I understand what you are asking...

...I'd create a conditional tag for the answers (for the facilitator version of the output). I'd probably create a conditional tag for the student version as well.

Then you can enter the question, followed by the answer conditioned for the facilitator. Then I'd put something like a table 1 column, and sufficient rows for the learner to add the answer. left, right, and top borders set to none, the bottom formated as dotted or dashed lines. The table will be formatted as learner only.

Repeat this for your questions and answers.

Apply the conditions to two otherwise identical TOCs for pdf output, one for learner, the other for the facilitator.

Unless, of course, you are creating A FAQ type arrangement.

Then all you need to do is create a TOC for pdf targets and a TOC for web targets and build both.
Image
Steve
Life's too short for bad coffee, bad chocolate, and bad red wine.
SteveS
Propellus Maximus
 
Posts: 1868
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2006 5:06 pm
Location: Adelaide, far side of the world ( 34°56'0.78\"S 138°46'44.28\"E).

Re: Single Sourcing a list of questions & answers

Postby Nita Beck on Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:00 pm

Steve, I think you may have misunderstood our new pal’s questions.

Mort in Dallas, have I got this right: You’re an (ahem) older student taking a tech comm class and your instructor has given the class an assignment to use Flare to produce both online output and a PDF output? Furthermore, the instructor requires that you develop content that consists of 20 questions and answers about graduate school, right? Personally, as someone who taught tech comm courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels for 18 years, including a course on developing online documentation, I think the assignment is a pretty big lift, given that you’ve only been introduced to Flare recently and are new to tech writing.

So, first thing is to breathe... just breathe...

Now, to a solution...

I think you have two options for setting up your topics in Flare:

— Idea #1, which you’ve already thought of, is to arrange the Q&A’s into categories. So, have ONE topic (that’ll be an .htm file) for each ONE of those categories. Within each of those topics, you’ll have an h1 heading for the category and then have h2 headings for each of the questions and plain p paragraphs beneath each for the answers. This is a really simple approach. (There are lots of complex approaches, such as to use the Flare feature called “togglers” for each of the Q&As, but unless your instructor is asking for that, I’d go KISS: “Keep it simple, student!”

— Idea #2 is to have 23 topics: As above, one topic each for each of your three categories. Have an h1 and maybe a little intro explaining that category of questions. Then, you’ll have 20 more topics, one for each question and its answer. Set the question as h1 and set the answer as a plain p paragraph. That’s it.

Next, to use these topics in output, I suggest that you use a single TOC file that will be used for both online and PDF output. From the Content Explorer where you’ve got your topics stored, drag each topic onto the TOC and drop it into the place you want it to appear. So say you chose Idea #1 above: you’ll add just three files to the TOC. But if you chose Idea 2 above, you should drop each of the “category” topics onto the TOC, and then start dropping in the Q&A topics so that they are nested under their parent category.

Finally, you will need to set up your targets:

— For the online target, in the spirit of KISS, I suggest you choose HTML as the target type, which will produce a single file called a .chm (some folks pronounce this as “chum”) file. This kind of online output is quite old fashioned, but it is the simplest of the online outputs. If you want to try something a little fancier, I suggest a tripane HTML5 target. Avoid Top Nav. You sound like you’re already overwhelmed, so don’t even attempt Top Nav. Anyway, be sure to associate this target with the TOC.

— For the print target, select PDF. Be sure to associate this target with the TOC.

There are SO MANY, MANY, MANY, MANY, MANY other things that a Flare author would need to do to produce professional quality output. Title pages, page layouts, master pages, style sheets, table stylesheet, variables, conditions, yada yada yada YADA YADA YADA. Unless your instructor is requiring that you manipulate those things in Flare, I urge you to keep it simple. Write your content and put it into topics, build out your TOC, set up your online target and your PDF target (using all of the defaults that Flare provides), and build.

I hope this helps. Best of success with the project.

P.S. There is a Slack community for MadCap Flare User Groups. There are lots and lots of very friendly and very active Flare users hanging out there who eagerly answer questions. If you are interested in joining that community (which is sponsored by MadCap, BTW), send me a PM here on the forums and tell me your email address. I’ll then send you a Slack invitation to that email address.
Nita
Image
Content Strategist / Information Architect / Flare Consultant: http://beck-communications.com
Manager, Rochester Flare User Group: http://www.facebook.com/RochesterFlareUserGroup
Nita Beck
Senior Propellus Maximus
 
Posts: 2865
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:57 am
Location: Pittsford, NY

Re: Single Sourcing a list of questions & answers

Postby Dave Lee on Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:16 am

Quick note - if one of the outputs has to be "web based", then a HTML Help (CHM) target isn't web based (it doesn't work on the web). Use an HTML5 target if it must be web based.

Also, Flare includes factory templates that have both HTML5 and PDF targets already set up and ready to build. Even if you're supposed to create your projects from scratch, seeing an example project might help by showing how things hang together.
Dave Lee
Master Propellus Maximus
 
Posts: 5034
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 8:33 am
Location: UK

Re: Single Sourcing a list of questions & answers

Postby Nita Beck on Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:17 am

Dave Lee wrote:Quick note - if one of the outputs has to be "web based", then a HTML Help (CHM) target isn't web based (it doesn't work on the web). Use an HTML5 target if it must be web based.

Also, Flare includes factory templates that have both HTML5 and PDF targets already set up and ready to build. Even if you're supposed to create your projects from scratch, seeing an example project might help by showing how things hang together.

Good points, both, Dave.

Yes, if the online output has to be "web-based," then I suggest you stick with HTML5 tripane.

And by all means, you can not only study a template, but USE a template to start your project. I suggest you use one of the the "online and print tripane basic" templates.There will already be some topics in the project that you should DELETE once you've added your topics. But you can then simply edit the existing TOC to build it out with your topics. And things like page layouts, needed for the PDF output, will already be in place.
Nita
Image
Content Strategist / Information Architect / Flare Consultant: http://beck-communications.com
Manager, Rochester Flare User Group: http://www.facebook.com/RochesterFlareUserGroup
Nita Beck
Senior Propellus Maximus
 
Posts: 2865
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:57 am
Location: Pittsford, NY


Return to Single-Sourcing

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests