Multiple products - multiple manual types

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Multiple products - multiple manual types

Postby Karbo_ on Tue Jun 13, 2017 3:41 am

Hello !

I am sorry if this "issue" has been already discussed, but I could not find any topic for the same situation.

We are writing documentation for 2 quite similar products.

User manuals have been made using conditions "Product 1" and "Product 2", but now we have to write service manuals for these 2 products.

We started a new project for service manuals, but we realised that most of the content is the same as in the user guides. So now we would like only one project that contains user manuals and service manuals for both instruments.

What would be the best way knowing that :
- Structure is quite the same except for two chapters and even when it is not the same, it includes some topics from the user guides
- Some chapters will be totally new for service manuals

From what I read, it is not possible to handle this with conditions, right ? Is it possible to make two separate projects in the same directory, so common topics between UM and SM are taken from the same place ?

Thank you very much in advance !
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Re: Multiple products - multiple manual types

Postby ajturnersurrey on Tue Jun 13, 2017 5:25 am

You have two ways of proceeding

(1) Keep everything in the one project.
Tip: Use folders in the content area to group like things. You might be able to have your conditions at the folder level, eg only use the topics in this folder for product A user manuals or only use the topics in this folder in service manuals.
Pro: You treat it as one set of material and remember that it is used to build service manual targets as well as user manual ones.
Con: If you build any online help files (rather than pdfs) you could find yourself with non-indexed topics which are nevertheless available in your help.

(2) Decide that one of these projects is your master and the other its child. Set up an import to copy and link the files (Global project linking) that are needed from the master into the child project, so that there is only one source.
Tip: Make the one that you would usually update first the master.
Pro: Ensures any online help contains only user manual/service manual content
Con: When you are working in the child project and you realise there is something needs changing in the parent content you need to open and edit the parent project then reimport... you will be tempted to take shortcuts and break links.

From my experience, doing a lot of no. 2, I'd choose no. 1 wherever possible for a new project!
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Re: Multiple products - multiple manual types

Postby ChoccieMuffin on Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:08 am

I agree with ajturnersurrey (hi, by the way!) and I would keep it all in a single project.

You can do all sorts of whizzy things with conditions, but do be careful you don't go overboard and end up with something that is difficult to maintain.

Also take a look at SNIPPET conditions. You have regular conditions that you can apply to topics and to content inside a topic, but snippet conditions are applied to snippets, so you can set different conditions on snippets depending on where they're used.
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Re: Multiple products - multiple manual types

Postby Karbo_ on Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:29 am

Thank you very much for your help, I appreciate.

I did not know about putting conditions on content folders, that's a great possibility !

We will keep it in on single project then. By the way ChoccieMuffin, snippets are just "parts" of content inside a topic ? If so, what is more advantageous in using them rather than putting conditions on texts that are specific to service manuals ?

Have a great evening (or day) !
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Re: Multiple products - multiple manual types

Postby magval on Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:16 am

Conditions of content folders works great, I use it to separate pictures from products : include both pictures in the topic but it is filtered via the folders they are stored in.

Snippets are elements (text, pictures) that you can reuse anywhere. As you can have conditional text inside the snippets and filter via snippet conditions when you use them in the topic, it gives you another level of flexibility with reuse.
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