Beyond Theory: Making Single-Sourcing Actually Work

“Beyond Theory: Making Single-Sourcing Actually Work”
Presented by: Liz Fraley, Single-Sourcing Solutions, Inc. (formerly: Juniper Networks)
Audience: Developers

In this paper, I discuss how we made single-sourcing work at Juniper Networks. This is a practical discussion of issues, problems, and successes.

This paper provides a case study in single-sourcing, examining how the Technical Publications group at Juniper Networks has been implementing single-sourcing. In the past three years, there has been much theory about single-sourcing, but not enough practice. The literature is full of information about single sourcing from a theoretical perspective. So, this paper is more about what isn’t covered in the literature than what is.

For example, it’s not about how to choose a tool or evaluate a product, how to code XML, how to get cost savings through single-sourcing, how to write modularly, or how to structure your documentation. And it isn’t about amazing product features, the Juniper Document Definition, the Juniper-specific applications that we developed. Most importantly, this paper is not a set of generalized rules for making single-sourcing work. It is one long a concrete example because, in the end, that is what the developer of a single-sourcing system needs to see. And interestingly enough, it’s what the users of that single-sourcing system need to see, too.

Presented by: Liz Fraley, Single-Sourcing Solutions, Inc.

Presented at: Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) Special Interest Group for Design of Communication Conference 2003 (SIGDOC 2003)

Presentation materials:

 

Branched Libraries and Rapid Release Single-Source Environment Implementation

“Branched Libraries and Rapid Release Single-Source Environment Implementation”
Presented by: Liz Fraley, Single-Sourcing Solutions, Inc. (formerly: Juniper Networks)
Co-authored by: Brenda DePaolis, Single-Sourcing Solutions, Inc. (formerly: Juniper Networks)
Audience: Developers

This presentation highlights the way PTC’s Arbortext Epic Editor has been implemented within the technical publications organization at Juniper Networks, focusing on the successful rollout of the editor and support systems. This document also details some of the proposed enhancements for continued Arbortext integration. Finally, it describes some of the challenges in deploying the Arbortext suite of tools and how those challenges were met.

The Arbortext project at Juniper Networks is a major technical publications initiative designed primarily to convert existing documentation and author new documentation in a single-sourcing environment. By authoring in an XML environment, we are able to make use of vast areas of overlapping information. Through information reuse, we can effectively increase the efficiency of our entire technical publications staff, an ever-increasing goal as demands for documentation increase while staffing and resource challenges persist.

The single-sourcing project had several initial requirements that had to met. These ranged from the successful conversion of Framemaker files to Epic files to the integration of Interwoven to provide a viable source control environment.

Presented by: Liz Fraley, Single-Sourcing Solutions, Inc. (formerly: Juniper Networks)

Presented at: 8th Annual Arbortext User Group International Conference (AUGI 2003)

Presentation Materials

Note: Arbortext was purchased by PTC in 2005

About Single-Sourcing Solutions

Honest, direct advice — and just the right amount of assistance — to take new Arbortext customers from purchase to production.

At Single-Sourcing Solutions, Inc., our focus is on customers who, for one reason or another, prefer to pursue an in-house or limited-resource-based implementation rather than a fast, large-team implementation. We focus on acting as mentors or as part-time resources to assist implementers while they’re getting started.

We help in-house teams learn to do it themselves by providing an on-call resource that can assist as necessary.

  • We teach people how to do document analysis, so they can do it themselves, one book at a time, as their staff has time to devote to the project.
  • We can act as a jump-start team, doing initial stylesheet development or tool implementation with the intention to hand it over to the in-company team as soon as they feel ready to take it over.

Our approach is to provide honest, direct advice — and just the right amount of assistance — to take new Arbortext customers from purchase to production.

Why We Do It

These presentations, videos, and podcasts are our attempt to bring tribal knowledge to light. Learn more about using Arbortext from real users. At Single-Sourcing Solutions, we all started as customers. We all learned from other people — customers, users, PTC/Arbortext resources.

We have found that people who learn Arbortext are premium resources to their companies. Nearly noArbortext specialists are out in the wild. Every new customer has to grow a specialist from scratch. And it’s not easy to do. The learning curve is high. You need to learn a new product and to learn how to implement it well. That takes time and resources.

To become a journeyman, an apprentice must first become a craftsman.

Consultants play a part similar to that of the journeymen of the guild systems: they often travel a lot, work at many different companies and spread new practices and knowledge between companies and corporations.

Our goal here is to is to expand the resources available to everyone in the community. If you’re working with the product — or just want to learn about it — please join us!

We’ll respond to feedback from our audience so we can all achieve what we all want to do: To be masters of our craft.