User documentation in extranet wiki: multiple product versions in the same space

Subject: User documentation in extranet wiki: multiple product versions in the same space
From: "Ronald Schwarz" <RSchwarz -at- cosmocom -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 2006 13:18:42 -0400

I am glad to see others describing wiki issues in this discussion list.

I am using a wiki product called Confluence to present user
documentation of my company's products. My boss, who is not a technical
writer, wants to present all versions of the product in the same
user-accessible web space.

My company's customers need to see all versions simultaneously since
they upgrade incrementally at different locations.

For example, a set of instructions for a feature in version 2 would be
present alongside of instructions for the same feature in version 3 even
if big changes occurred for the same feature between versions 2 and 3.
Some options were added while others were deleted, and the user
interface represented by screen captures underwent major metamorphoses.

Except for a completely new feature, all I did until recently was
transfer some topics from a FrameMaker book to the wiki. The initial
wiki version of the user document was for only a recent release. I used
a wiki version of the table of contents so I could create a page
hierarchy as I built the site (to facilitate export to PDF and HTML). I
also used the TOC to maintain order and enable user entrance via a
selection of high level topics (different user guides) on the Home page.
Otherwise, the customers use the search engine to find isolated topics
throughout the space. There is no index.

Would it look strange to have dual versions of a page:
How to Use the Widget - Version 2.3
How to Use the Widget - Version 3.0

And create links to them through one TOC?

Does anyone have any other suggestions?

Ronald Schwarz

Senior Technical Writer

CosmoCom, Inc.
121 Broad Hollow Road
Melville, NY 11747 USA
Phone: +1 (631) 940-4320
Fax: +1 (631) 574-3161
EMAIL: RSchwarz -at- cosmocom -dot- com

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