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We have hundreds of software and hardware manuals, each
of which consists of a set of MS Word files and different types
of graphic files, and many of which are revised and republished
at least once each year. We currently use nothing more than a
logical series of directories and subdirectories on our
NetWare-based file server to manage these files as they progress
through our production process from release to release.
We now have a requirement to produce multiple versions or 'sets'
of the same basic manuals, almost simultaneously. The differences
between each 'set' of manuals include product names, part numbers,
and company names. (One reason for this is that we're OEM-ing our
products and substituting our customer's company and product names
for our own names in the documentation.) We're planning on creating
a "genericized" library in which 'mail merge' field codes are substituted
for product names, company names, and so on. Then, at production time,
we'll create the individual OEM document sets by using a WordBasic
macro to merge the genericized library files with a data file that contains
records for each customer.
We're interested in obtaining a software product to help us automate
this scenario, and to help us with the following additional configuration
and document management tasks:
o Manage and track versions (to quite a detailed level, including
last change date, what the change was, writer, and so on)
o Provide a document check-in and check-out facility on our
NetWare-based file server
o Help us easily construct "custom" books out of independent
o Help us automate miscellaneous tasks associated with each of our
releases, such as producing the CD-ROM version of the libaries, submitting
our files electronically to our in-house printing center, and so on.
Our initial gut feeling is that we can probably find some RDMS-based tool
that can provide some of the functionality we need, and that can be
customized to further support our current and long-term needs.
Does anyone know of any software products that might meet our needs?
Advice on experiences in similiar environments, as well as on particular
tools, would be most appreciated.