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If it is a mil system, the logistics analyst provides the
steps and the warnings/cautions/notes. A feedback loop
should check the tagging against that. The analyst
might get it wrong just as an author might, but the analyst
is a specialist so the quality should improve. One can
autogenerate the document from the LSAR, but the writing
might not be very good. Other items that can help provide
flow down from the computer-aided design systems into
the logistics systems and on into the technical documentation.
I've been away from that business too long to know where
On the other hand, decimation of CAD files
to enable reuse of the model data in web-based 3D systems is
about to become a very affordable commodity with free
viewers. This augurs well for the online technical
information business servers.
Ray Charles has passed. A sad day here.
From: Henrik Martensson [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
In the corporations I work with most of these problems could be fixed by
having an editorial process in place. Something similar to what book and
magazine publishers have, but assisted by XML tools and techniques.
Unfortunately, though a documentation department is, or should be, a
kind of publishing house, few corporations take that view. They spend a
lot of effort on custom software, and very little effort on people,
believing that automation will solve all of their problems. It won't.
(Well, maybe some day, but that is a long way off.)
To some extent it is possible to build systems that guide authors when
writing technical documents. For example, in my work I use:
* Context based, dynamic help (tooltips, element and attribute help
a la XMetaL, etc.)
* Real time, or batch, analysis of document content and markup
(including of course, automated correction of bad markup)
* Lots of help dialogs for entering links, validating
filter specifications, automated software for generating
ID numbers, etc.
* Document validation
* Document statistics
* Online documentation (Windows help, HTML based help)
Document validation is just one of the tools in the kit, but I would not
give up any one of them. They are all indispensable, though of course I
don't use all the tools and techniques in every situation.