I Want Context!

Jan 27, 2021 2:51:43 PM / by Søren Weimann

Søren Weimann

I think we have all been there. I know I have certainly asked people to review and comment on a few topics or content components, only to be confronted with the fact that context is needed. This is how you complete an automated roundtrip with topic-based content in full context.

Well, even though I have been working with components  for more than 15 be honest, I have also been doing updates of components myself and realized that I need more context to do a proper job. And sometimes it is bit of a clunky process to open or preview one component at a time from a map editor.

So when a reviewer has asked for the full context, this has left me with two options:

  1. I could provide the full document on the side, and ask the reviewer to update the individual components... while getting the context from the full document.
  2. Or I could provide the full document, and tell the reviewer to forget about the components. I'll just ask the reviewer to write comments and ammend the full document. 

None of these solutions are ideal.

If I went with the first solution, the reviewer would have to jump back and forth between the component and the full document. That was a pain for the reviewer.

If I went with the second solution, I was left with the job of having to update the components myself when I receive the full document from the review including comments and changes. This was a pain for me, and it was time consuming and prone to error.

No Automated Sync of Components

Fortunately, this is nolonger a problem. Now there is a third option

I can actually provide the reviewer with a full Word document for commenting and updating, and I can automate the process of getting all the changes back into the components in my topic library. And I am achieving instant single sourcing when a component is reused across multiple maps. 

Publish Compound Docs and Sync Components

A new feature in Dx4 allows you to achieve this third option. It is called Sync Component.

It actually starts in the publishing of the full document into a compound Word document. By just setting a checkmark, the DxPublisher will not just assemble the components into a full document and style it according to your preference. It will also include hidden information in the output Word file for each section about the source component for it.

Component Highlight in Compound Doc

This allows you to freely distribute a full document to reviewers. You can drop it in review SharePoint site, attach it to an email or include it in any kind of workflow you want to kick off.

Now the reviewer will have the full context of the document - and you still have all the benefits of components being updated directly.

The start and end of components are hightligted with a frame to help the reviewer understand the scope of each component. Other than that, it is just good ol' Microsft Word. The author can change the content, add comments and use change tracking as in any other Word-based review - and most importantly, do it with all the necessary context.

When you receive the document back, you have review comments accepted and rejected, and the content is in the state you want it, you can automatically sync the compound document and send the updated versions of the content back into the component library... while you are getting coffe. No risk of errors in copy/paste transfer of comments and updating of phrases. You get the exact content for each component in the full compound document synced to your updated version of the component in your topic library. Any reused component will be ready for publishing in all of the maps using it - instantly and in the new updated version. 
Automated Sync of Components


Topics: Content reuse , Microsoft Word , Sync Components

Søren Weimann

Written by Søren Weimann

Søren Weimann is an Implementation Manager at DitaExchange. In the past he has headed numerous structured writing and DITA implementations as a Technical Lead, Information Architect and Technical Writer working for both multinational corporations and smaller companies in IT.

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