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Specs for a very small department


Specs for a very small department

Possibly off topic...

We're hoping to purchase Arbortext and ACM later this year. However, our purchasing and IT people have been running into difficulty getting noncontradictory technical requirements.

What I'm wondering is: is anyone with a department of only six technical writers using Arbortext & ACM? And if so, what hardware is your system actually running on?



Hi Gene,

We also have a small department and run Arbortext Editor "locally" on
each users PC. The Editor with Print Composer and Architect are
installed on the users individual PCs therefore each has its own license
key. We work in SGML rather than XML and share a common working
environment. Our system environment variables for Arbortext on our PCs
are set up to point to a common "shared" preference file and catalog
system on our server. This setup doesn't interfere with anything else
that might be run by IT. The file storage is on the server is "normal"
so to my knowledge there are no special requirements other than setting
up the specific environment variables. However this is just one way of
setting up your editing suite. I'm sure someone in this group, or
Arbortext, could help you with the specifics of your installation
requirements with regard to how you want your groups workflow to

Unfortunately I don't know what ACM is so I can't comment on that.



I think you are on topic. But, your statement: "We're hoping to purchase Arbortext and ACM later this year...." is very like saying "We're hoping to purchase Microsoft later this year...." . There are a lot of Microsoft products you could be talking about just as there are a lot of Arbortext products for different purposes and different amounts of output. For 8 books a year I doubt that you need Arbortext Publishing Engine (runs on a Windows Server, not a workstations).

The reason you get contradictory requirements is probably that you are looking at different Arbortext products.

There are quite a few Arbortext products including ACM, but the vast majority have no application in a small shop. A "small shop" doesn't convey much information. Break it down, tell us what you want to do and see if you get some more responses. If you haveone developer and seven authors purchasing a top-of-the-line will probably seem prohibitive.

My little program use one Arbortext Document Architect (on my PC) for setting up SGML document types (actually, Architect hasn't been used for much in recent years - once the doctypes are up and running they seldom need changes). Each person has Arbortext Editor and the people that need to be able to produce PDF have the Print Composer option (dnd Adobe Acrobat (distiller)) for client-side publishing. We do not use a CMS (Content Management System), just the file-system on the hard disc and we have no need for server-side publishing. I am the only one that does stylesheets at my shop. I think it cost less than US$20K for the complete system when we started. We have expanded since then, but I still cannot justify the cash for server-side publishing.

Hope this helps,
\ / Andy Esslinger LM Aero Tech Order Data
_____-/\-_____ (817) 279-0442 Box 748, Mail Zone 4285
\_\/_/ (817) 777-3047 Fort Worth, TX 76101-0748

Our shop here at our area of Lockheed Martin is not really that small (about 25-30 writers), but we still have not been able to justify the cost of server-side publishing. We use Print Composer and Adobe Acrobat Distiller. Our home-grown publishing software, which incorporates Arbortext Editor and Print Composer, is also used by other "satellite" facilities around the country. These groups are even smaller and do not use server-side publishing. We mitigate the licensing cost by buying fewer licenses than the total number of users and using concurrent licensing on a server that everyone can access. It is extremely rare that we run out of licenses at any given time.