Maintaining content between intranet site and CHM file

Subject: Maintaining content between intranet site and CHM file
From: "Norcross, Amanda" <Amanda -dot- Norcross -at- kla-tencor -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 2006 09:26:24 -0700

Hello fellow tech-whirlers,

I am trying to find the least cumbersome way to maintain duplicate
troubleshooting info between an intranet product web site and a .CHM
file that is generated from RoboHelp HTML X5 and sent out to customers.
The duplication is necessary because the web site offers a nice
on-the-fly method for posting the latest troubleshooting info for
internal field personnel, while the CHM file is THE documentation source
for our customers. The CHM file is released only once or twice a year
with the software releases. I need to figure out how to best keep the
information in synch, and I would like to hear your suggestions. My
project manager has suggested using the web site as the primary source
and simply taking a "snapshot" of the web site info before each software
release and putting that in the CHM file. I am okay with that idea but
not sure how to best execute it.

The Basics

The web site is maintained by someone else. (I know less than squat
about web site design and technologies, so keep that in mind as you read
this post and offer suggestions.) I have been told by a third, web site
savvy person (not the web site designer) that the web site under the
covers is rather cobbled together right now and generally not done
properly. However, to the site designer's credit, he *has* made an
admirable effort in creating and maintaining the site, even if the
execution is not ideal. The content is entirely maintained in text
files. He is using Tomcat, which is a JSP server. He uses JSP to track
user downloads and other info. Everything else is HTML. The plan is to
move to SharePoint. I have no idea whether that's a good move or not;
regardless, I can't count on the move happening anytime soon. Keep in
mind that none of these are my decisions, which is essentially fine with
me. Web site technologies are not an interest of mine. However, I will
be working with the designer to establish a baseline for the
troubleshooting content of the site and I will play a significant role
in working with him to maintain the info, primarily reviewing/editing
new content and giving him feedback.

As for the CHM file, RoboHELP is the product and that's not going to

The amount of troubleshooting info is approximately 30 pages or so. I
expect that to grow at a moderate rate as time goes on.

The Challenges

The biggest challenge is that the content is not going to be identical.
Specifically, the CHM file will contain hyperlinks that the web site
will not contain. Also, about 10% of the web site content will not be
duplicated in the CHM file.

Possible Synching Methods

So this is where I need your help. The only ideas I've had are pretty
primitive. Copy/paste is an option, though it doesn't seem like the best
one. One, it's cumbersome and two, I loathe the idea of reformatting and
relinking content in RoboHelp before every software release. Comparing
the two sets of info side-by-side sounds like a nightmare, especially as
the content grows, and I am likely to overlook subtle differences. I
know there must be other options that are more robust and more
efficient, but I just don't know what they are. Is single-sourcing an
option, given the tool set and constraints? I am not knowledgeable about
single-sourcing, so there could easily be solutions in that area that I
am unaware of. Anything other ideas?

Muchos gracias in advance,


WebWorks ePublisher Pro for Word features support for every major Help
format plus PDF, HTML and more. Flexible, precise, and efficient content
delivery. Try it today!

Easily create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to any popular Help file format or printed documentation. Learn more at

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- infoinfocus -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to lisa -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: Re: Type of documentation?
Next by Author: Warning text
Previous by Thread: Re: Tools: When you can't take your laptop on the plane (take II)
Next by Thread: Engageability vs engagability (was: "RE: Browseable vs browsable?)

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads