Online Help structure for modular products

This forum is for all Flare issues related to the HTML5, WebHelp, WebHelp Plus, and Adobe Air Targets

Online Help structure for modular products

Postby IUseItAsACrash on Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:20 am

Hello Flare users

I am currently developing a new help system for our company. Up to this point, only a few PDF manuals have been created by my predecessor, and as the first official Technical Writer I got to choose a new tool (obviously opted for Flare) and start from scratch.

Our product is made of four modules (we call them modules) for which licenses can be bought individually. A combination of each of the modules is possible, as well as a Suite which contains all licenses. I am currently trying to figure out how to structure the online help system in order to make the help content for the specific module available to users of the respective licenses. As far as I can see it, the following options exist:

- One online help which contains all the content for all modules, irrespective of the license (the easiest way, but not acceptable)
- Individual help systems for each module, accessible via a global start page

Are there other options I am not seeing?

Any help is appreciated.

Thank you!
IUseItAsACrash
Propeller Head
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:37 am

Re: Online Help structure for modular products

Postby ajturnersurrey on Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:43 am

It rather depends how many modules there are and how intertwined they are...

If you have modules A, B and C but people most often buy A and B together or they buy C alone you might want to have help for 'A and B combined' as well as help for 'just A' or 'just B' or 'just C'. This involves setting up help for individual modules, but also building targets for some combinations like A and B too. This would be more helpful to customers, with a small amount of extra work for you.
ajturnersurrey
Sr. Propeller Head
 
Posts: 330
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 3:30 am

Re: Online Help structure for modular products

Postby Dave Lee on Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:21 am

Is there a reason why one help output is not acceptable?
You could produce a separate help output for each combination, but it gets more unwieldy as the number of modules increases.

I document a product with optional modules, and we just produce one single help system.
We just assume people know what they've got (and haven't), and also from a sales perspective we think it's good to show what other modules you can add.

It depends how your modules behave with each other though - e.g. whether using module A standalone is significantly different to using module A and module B together.
In my project, it's easy enough to document any differences in-place. We also use a search filter to help find topics on a module/subject, to help filter out content that's not applicable.
Dave Lee
Master Propellus Maximus
 
Posts: 5778
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 8:33 am
Location: UK

Re: Online Help structure for modular products

Postby IUseItAsACrash on Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:16 am

Thank you for your answers!

The modules are not intertwined at all. The product is an email gateway, the four modules cover different functionalities: spam protection, encryption, email disclaimer management and sending of large files.

Having only one output would definitely be the easiest, but this approach was rejected by my superior last week. I will discuss this again at the next meeting.
IUseItAsACrash
Propeller Head
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:37 am

Re: Online Help structure for modular products

Postby ChoccieMuffin on Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:25 am

Would four separate helps not do the trick?
Started as a newbie with Flare 6.1, now using Flare 2019r1.
Report bugs at http://www.madcapsoftware.com/bugs/submit.aspx.
Request features at https://www.madcapsoftware.com/feedback ... quest.aspx
ChoccieMuffin
Senior Propellus Maximus
 
Posts: 2293
Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:01 am
Location: Surrey, UK

Re: Online Help structure for modular products

Postby IUseItAsACrash on Fri Feb 01, 2019 2:31 am

Four help systems would be possible, but there are also customers that combine two or three modules.

Also, there are situations in which certain dialog boxes display different content depending on the licenses of the user. For example, options for encrypting emails may be added to a message tracking dialog box.
IUseItAsACrash
Propeller Head
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:37 am

Re: Online Help structure for modular products

Postby Psider on Sun Feb 03, 2019 5:00 pm

In a previous job we had a modular product and clients could have almost any combination of modules and version of each module.

We had one project per module, with a parent project to handle the merge; not global project linking, just the ToC merge. We didn't use global project linking, possibly because it didn't exist at the time, but also partly for legacy reasons converting from chm files to a webhelp.

Because we didn't know what combinations of products clients might have, our devs created a custom solution.

Rather than publishing to the standard merge structure, we published to individual standalone folders by module and version number:
ModA
1.0
1.1
2.0
ModB
1.0
2.0
ModC
1.0
2.0
3.0

Now I'm simplifying because I don't know the technical detail, but this is what it did in my understanding.

Each installed module would pass an id to a small tool, which would then "fake" the directory structure to make the help work. So while the help lived in directories as above, the application for client A would "see":
AppHelp
- ModA2.0
- ModB1.0

And the application for client B would "see":
AppHelp
- ModA 1.1
- ModB 1.0
- ModC 2.0
Psider
Propellus Maximus
 
Posts: 625
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2011 1:32 am


Return to Web-based Outputs

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: apw56, vabigupta1 and 5 guests