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Implementing ArborText


Implementing ArborText

Hi All,

I need to know something but first a little background. My company bought ArborText in late 2008. In November 2009 I stopped all of my regular work to start learning Arbortext because my boss wanted to see if I can implement the solution...totally. I've been working through some proof of concepts pretty successfuly up until now and I'm still searching for a way to make my next proof of concept work. I've also been talking with an outside vendor to get us up and running quicker. I do know how to use Arbortext to a point. You also need to know that we are a two person shop.

I am more than conversant with HTML and CSS. I understand XML and DTDs to a point and style sheets for XML a bit. I've been a software tech writer for a gazillion years.I've seen different XMLimplementations, usually Framemaker, and the results but those implementations were completed at large companiesby outside vendors working with the publications staff.

Here's my question. Does anyone know of a medium-sized company with two people in the tech pubs department fully implementing Arbortext without outside help? If so, can you point me in the right direction. I know this is what we need to speed things up a bit, for translation, and to lay the foundation for interactive manuals.



Hi Ginger,

I think it depends on the type of documents you're working with. If it's
fairly run-of-the-mill techdocs then Arbortext can do a pretty good job
out of the box, using things like the SMA (Service Manual Application),
DITA or Docbook.

If your content is different/complex enough to require customisation, or
new DTD/stylesheets then you're in for a bit more of an uphill struggle.
There is quite a bit of training available on PTC-U which would help,
but I doubt you would have purchased those courses.

I think the benefits you mention (translations, interactive manuals)
provide big enough cost savings and competitive advantage that you could
afford to offset the expense of an Arbortext setup. That expense would
be via an internal resource, or an external vendor. Sorry, but I don't
have any suitable references for you. The last bunch of "small shop"
software tech writers I met were all using Framemaker/Madcap Flare,
AuthorIT and *shudder* MS Word.



Thanks for your reply. Our department creates parts manuals (very little if any reuse), service manuals and operator's manuals. There is some content overlap between the service and operator's manuals. Our justification for purchasing was to make it easier to author documents because Word is not suitable for what we do, better accuracy with the ability to import Excel spreadsheets (export from Pro/E to Excel, delete unnecessary parts, import into Arbortext).

Now I have to write a justification for bringing in a vendor to help us set up everything versus me taking six months to set this stuff up with the possibility of failure at the end. The boss already told me that evenif I get us 90% set up, my review in the next year is still hosed and no I'm not kidding he said that.

That is the reason I'm asking the question so if anybody knows of a DIY installation in a similar set up, please let me know.

Ginger Shew-Stuckey