What will I need to author S1000D compliant content?
When you are required to author S1000D content you need an S100D Authoring Tool that will allow you to generate small documents known as data modules.
There are a range of tools that are available in the market that will allow you to author this content. When making a decision on what tool you may be using, you need to consider the authors experience with S1000D and SGML/XML authoring tools. You also need to take into consideration which issue of the S1000D Specification you need to comply with. Depending on the issue will determine if you need to write either SGML or XML. This requirement will also affect the authoring tool that you are going to implement for the project.
The authoring tool that you are going to use, should provide you with guidance on what elements and attributes should be inserted into your structure. The authoring tool should also ensure that the content is well formed and valid to the appropriate schema. If the author has inserted an element that is not valid, the authoring tool should provide you with warnings of where the content is not valid. BREX (Business Rules) validation in your authoring tool should also be looked at as an essential feature, to ensure a complete valid delivery to your end customer.
If your authors are subject matter experts (SMEs) and have very limited S1000D or structured authoring experience, you need to consider tools that are more user friendly when authoring the content. If your authors or SMEs have more experience, then you can consider a more traditional XML authoring tool.
Core things to consider when selecting your S1000D Authoring Software are functions that assist authors with the insertion of referenced content, such as:
- References to other data modules;
- Internal cross references;
- Common Information Repository content.
Referencing and re-using content is one of the core benefits of S1000D, therefore being able to search, preview, drag and drop, or insert with one click, will save hours of authoring time!
If your organisation is also using other systems, such as parts databases or product lifecycle management (PML), you need to consider if this information can be accessed from within the authoring tool.
Any functions that provides assistance to the authors can dramatically reduce the time required for the authoring and improve the data accuracy.
The OneStrand Team internally utilize a combination of ADG’s products including R4i Writer, R4i WorkSpace for Adobe© FrameMaker© 2017 and R4i WorkSpace for Arbortext Editor, to author their S1000D documentation. Both R4i Writer and R4i WorkSpace have full integration with the R4i CSDB, allowing authors to quickly and easily check out data modules and insert references to all of the reference content mentioned above, along with interaction and insertion of Common Information Repository content.
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