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To: framers@xxxxxxxxx, framers@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Branching and merging FM filesets, how to?
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 14:48:32 +1000
All: Our user documentation is kept in a single fileset stored in VSS for version management. The source code for the products is a single codebase. Likewise, the source for all the various user documentation for different markets (Australia, Hong Kong, USA, etc.) and different product versions (basic, lite, pro) is contained in a single fileset. We use conditions to expose the content relevant to a given market and product. We are now delivering so many product versions into so many countries that we look like having one release a month soon. This means that development of on one release will begin before the previous release is completed. The only way to deal with this overlap is to branch the FrameMaker files and merge the branches back into the mainline after each release. Trouble is as FM files are binary it is not quite as easy as it is for the coders. Here are some scenarios arranged in order of low-tech to high-tech: Keep printouts of the branch and mainline, mark the changes on the branch printouts (also compare branch and mainline by eye), then add the changes to the main branch by hand (time-consuming, subject to errors). Save each branch and mainline file as ASCII text, use a diff utility to identify differences, then add the differences to the FrameMaker main branch by hand (time-consuming, subject to errors). Export each branch and mainline file to well-formed XML, use a merge utility to merge differences, then re-import to FrameMaker (initial overhead to set up a method of preserving xrefs and conditions during round trep, after that fairly quick and error-free). Convert legacy docs to structured XML, export each branch and mainline file as XML, use a merge utility to merge differences, then re-import to FrameMaker (huge setup time and costs also ensuring conditions and xregs survive round trip, after that fairly quick and error-free). Convert all legacy docs to structured XML in a doc management system and ditch FrameMaker altogether, allow continual revision of files without ever branching, set conditions and use XML-FSO to export to PDF, help, whatever (huge setup costs, new workflow, after that fairly quick and error-free). The problem is that our team is rather small and just keeping its head above water. Implementing a completely new workflow with new tools and a structured XML is just not possible while continuing to deliver documentation for each release. Has anybody tried any of these scenarios and would like to commment on them or identify any gotchas? We want evolution not revolution for our small team of 14 people. Oh, we would also like version management across the Internet, collaboration, and tools for multiple deliverables formats too (RoboHelp for FrameMaker looks nice). But for now, let's concentrate on the branching and merging problem. Low cost, low tech, and low pain is good. [Windows XP Pro, FrameMaker 7.0p578, FrameScript 2.1r3, Enhance 2.04, Acrobat 5.05, mif2go 33u34, WebWorks Publisher 7.05, IXgen 7.2p055, HTML Help Workshop 4.74 build 8702.0, HTML Help 1.31] Regards, Hedley -- Subscribe to Free Framers -- send this message subscribe framers firstname.lastname@example.org help end to <mailto:email@example.com?Subject=Subscribe%20Free%20Framers>. Browse <http://www.freeframers.org/>. Learn from and contribute to the FrameMaker Wiki at <http://www.freeframers.org/wiki/>. Hedley Finger Adobe Certified Expert, FrameMaker 5.5.x Technical Communications/Best Practice Mentor MYOB Australia Pty Ltd <http://www.myob.com.au> P.O. box 371 Blackburn VIC 3130 Australia 12 Wesley Court Tally Ho Business Park East Burwood 3151 Australia Tel. +61 3 9222 9992 x 7421 Fax. +61 3 9222 9880 Mob. +61 412 461 558 <mailto:hedley_finger AT myob.com.au> (C) MYOB Technology Pty Ltd ** To unsubscribe, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org ** ** with "unsubscribe framers" (no quotes) in the body. **