Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Single Sourcing with MadCap Flare – Part 6 – Management

This post ends my series on single-sourcing features in Flare. It will be short and to the point…

The hardest part of using features like conditionality, placeholder, project import, and the like is keeping them under control. What happens when you don’t? Consider…

In the winter of 2017, I was hired by a company in Wisconsin whose project had about 20 conditions with about 1500 insertions. Unfortunately, the author who set up the conditions never documented how to use them. When she left, her replacements had no guidance for using the conditions so they guessed, with predictable results. The company could not be sure what they’d get from a build. I was hired to try to fix this situation.

I spent three days analyzing the project to figure out how the conditions were supposed to be used. At the end, I had to tell the company that I had no idea what the original author had done. My suggestion was to remove all the conditions, create a new set, DOCUMENT THEM, and then re-insert them. Not surprisingly, the company wasn’t pleased.

The only way to keep a project under control and future-proofed is to set formal standards for using single-sourcing (and other) features and document those standards and the project in general. As projects get larger and more complex, and as MadCap keeps adding useful new features, there’s no other alternative.

Good luck.