Organisation of Reused Content

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Organisation of Reused Content

Postby Madeline on Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:21 pm


I'm very new (waiting on IT to install the trial version) so just thinking about the content we have and how to best structure the project set-up in Flare. Currently we produce manuals for manufacturing equipment in Word and publish to PDF (one word document for each manual). Each manual is a one-off but most of the content is the same. Some sections are exactly the same in all documents and others mostly similar. From what I've read so far, reused content is saved as snippets so I'm assuming that most of our content will be snippets and then folder for each manual with the custom topics. Interested to hear how other people handle it? My previous experience with topic based authoring is AuthorIT and we had limited reuse. The folder structure there was basically a each manual with all of the topics in that manual inside the manual folder.

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Re: Organisation of Reused Content

Postby SteveS on Mon Sep 18, 2017 3:35 pm

Hi Madeline,

Welcome to the forums :D

Gee, where do you start...

There are several approaches to content reuse.

For example, you can write topics and add the topics you need to the TOC (in the Flare context, not the table of contents in your output).

You can write a topic and condition parts of the topic so they appear (or don't appear) in different outputs.

You can write snippets (blocks of content) that are inserted where you need them.

You can use global project linking to import common content from other projects.

To organise the content you should consider your main approach to content reuse.

For example, if you are building multiple manuals (going on your posts you seem to indicate you are producing print) you can either create a separate project for each manual and import content, or you can create one project and create a folder for each manual (and one for common content). You could create subfolders on a chapter basis, or any other hierarchy that suits your workflow.

Flare uses a Windows folder structure (you can view it outside of Flare in File Explorer if you wish) so think along those lines for content organisation.

Hope this gives you a start point.
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Re: Organisation of Reused Content

Postby Madeline on Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:06 pm

Thanks Steve. I kept reading after posting this and I think I've got a clearer idea of the different ways to handle it now. Yes - it's print output (PDF) we produce. Basically there's a set of common content (40 pages) that's exactly the same between all manuals and all projects. So that bit is more obvious - I'm thinking save in global project and then link each customer project and import the common content. Then the rest of the content is reused between different projects (currently we just find the most similar manual, save a new copy and update for the new project). So I think it would go something like:
Global Project
- Standard content
- Fryer content
- Distribution content

Customer Project for Fryer
- Import standard content
- Import fryer content
- Write and save custom topics here if specific to this project
- If custom topics to be reused in future projects, write and save in global project and import
- There would actually be very little content that's specific to one project.

It's quite different to my previous experience with topic based authoring because we release a lot of manuals and they're rarely updated in contrast to working on a huge document set that we released every 18 months. We've completed 40 projects so far this year. The main driver for changing from Word would be to reduce translation costs (currently we send the whole word docs for translation with huge amounts of repeated content). From what I've read about Lingo, it's the Mapcap Project that's sent for translation and snippets that are reused will only be sent once?
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Re: Organisation of Reused Content

Postby devjoe on Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:49 am

Steve gives a good summary.

From what you describe, you would probably best want to combine things into one project. Within that, you can use a variety of techniques for reusing content/specifying unique content.

A PDF is built from a Flare TOC, and only the topics listed in it are included in the output. So if you have unique topics which apply only to one output, you don't have to explicitly exclude them from the other outputs if you are using different TOC for the outputs. At the same time, if you have sections which are entirely the same, you can make a TOC with those topics and include it in the other TOCs.

A key technique he does not mention is using variables. You can, for instance, use one or more variables for text on your title page and specify different values for those within each target. Where necessary you can do that in the body also. This can make it so that you have even less content which varies in your source between different outputs. Of course, you may already be doing something similar in Word, but the capability is there in Flare to do the same.
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