[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next]
[Date Index] [Thread Index] [New search]

Branching and merging FM filesets, how to?


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]


Subscribe to Free Framers -- send this message
      subscribe framers your@email.address
to <mailto:majordomo@omsys.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 majordomo@omsys.com **
** with "unsubscribe framers" (no quotes) in the body.   **