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Authoring Tools and Technology

Authoring Tools and Technology

Word and WebWorks Workflows

AlmondWeb offers customization, support, and training services for Microsoft Word and Quadralay WebWorks ePublisher. We develop:

  • Word templates
  • WebWorks configurations
  • VBA macro systems for document automation
  • Custom authoring solutions for formatting, indexing, and many other purposes

Single Sourcing

AlmondWeb offers robust single-sourcing solutions based on the Word and WebWorks technology.

For example, one of our clients required a 1000-page documentation library, comprising over 15 manuals. The documentation had the following single-sourcing requirements:

  • The library supports multiple OEM-branded versions of the software.
  • The OEM versions have differing feature sets.
  • The OEM versions use different product names, vendor names and logos, support addresses, installation paths, etc.
  • The documentation is localized into several European and Asian languages.
  • In addition to the text, many of the screen captures require localization and OEM-branding.
  • The library is published in CHM and PDF formats.
  • The library supports embedded, context-sensitive help. As the user works in the software GUI, the help scrolls automatically to the appropriate topic and location within the topic, without user intervention.
  • The entire library is updated and republished—in all brands and languages—several times a year.

To implement these requirements, we developed a single-source workflow based on WebWorks technology. The workflow uses a resource-file and conditional-text mechanism to output the multiple versions. We customized WebWorks to output a custom XML index, which the software uses to display the embedded help. Creating and maintaining the library requires hardly more time than for a simple, one-version documentation set.

Special-Purpose Authoring Tools

Since 1991, we have been involved in custom authoring tool creation. Here is a selection of some tools we have developed:

  • For COM API documentation: a tool that generated help topics from information extracted from COM type libraries.
  • For an error reference: a tool that transformed XML error lists to a formatted Word document.
  • For a software localization project: a tool that extracted translated command strings from the source code and inserted them in the User's Guide.
  • For a legacy-software modernization project: a tool that prepared 6000 pages of documentation for display in a proprietary online help viewer.

A major part of our business is providing technical communicators with the tools they need for specific documentation problems. We implement and support custom authoring workflows both for own internal use and for use by our clients and partners.