Best book about Word 2003?

Best book about Word 2003?

Post by QW5ke » Thu, 10 Sep 2009 02:45:03

Howdy, y'all; we're in the process of selecting an XML Editor as we migrate
to structured authoring, to be implemented via the DITA toolkit.

In the meantime, we'll configure document templates in Word 2003 to support
topic-centered document structure so as to ease the transition to DITA.

What's the best book about Word 2003 that'll give us all of the info that we
need about more formal document structures for our unruly gang of writers?

Thanks much.

Andr in The OC, SoCal, USA.

Best book about Word 2003?

Post by Peter Jami » Thu, 10 Sep 2009 22:58:46

It's actually quite likely that you know better answers to this than
anyone here is likely to give you, unless of course someone who is
already using DITA with Word comes along. Unless John McGhie is around -
it's the sort of thing he's likely to know about.

FWIW although various books about Word+XML (there are various possible
ways to use XML in Word) or Office+XML came out around the time Office
2003 was released, the impression I have reading the basic DITA
documentation, and the stark absence of any Word-related entries on some
of the DITA-related resource pages on the web suggest that Word+DITA is
not an easy mix to work with. FWIW I wrote the XML-related chapters of
one of the few books I know of that goes into much depth on Word+XML
(it's in German, published by MS Press Deutschland) and I doubt very
much whether it would be much help to you at all. I would guess that
many people have probably tried to take DITA-oriented XML schemas, tried
to use them for structured editing in Word, and found the editing
environment too unhelpful. If so, I wouldn't find that particularly hard
to understand.

Much more likely to be useful is an existing toolkit designed to make
Word usable in a DITA environment. However, I've only seen one - it now
appears to be marketed by Quark -
- and I don't see info. about pricing etc. The impression I have is that
it is driven by Word styles, which is actually what I thought Microsoft
should really have done in the first place.

Trouble is of course is that if you are already engaged in a product
selection for a suitable editor, why spend an interim period with a
different product that may involve a resource-intensive deployment and
learning curve? AFAICR there are faclities in Word 2007 to allow a
template designer to constrain users to use particular styles, and
perhaps you could cobble together your own Word templates using those
facilities, try to persuade your authors to be slightly less unruly, and
find a way to transform the resulting .docx or .xml documents into
something that can be plugged into the DITA workflow. You might be able
to do that if you have good XSLT people - e.g. save to Word 2007 .xml
format (not the .docx, as it isn't actually XML) then transform. Or if
you have people used to .NET coding, you may find that saving to .docx
then processing the .docx files directly with one of the "Open XML"
libraries makes sense.

Peter Jamieson
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