Variant terminology for software releases

Object Variants

The following terminology is used when referring to variants:

  • A standard object

    Any object that does not have variants, or any object that does not have variant criteria assigned.

  • A primary object

    Any object that has one or more variants, or a standard object that has had criteria applied.

    The primary object maintains the relationship between a book and its variant objects. When a book is filtered, the primary object is replaced with the variant matching the selected criteria.

    For software releases you can assign variant criteria to a new object. The criteria value is used to tag the object as being introduced at a specific point in the release cycle. This ensures the object is excluded if re-publishing content for earlier releases. When variant criteria are assigned to an ordinary object it is converted to a "primary object" even when it does not have children.

  • A variant object

    An object created as a variation of a primary object or another variant object. A new variant object is created as a copy of the primary object.

    A new variant can be created from another variant object, not just the primary object or an ordinary object. If you create a variant from a variant the main association still points back to the group's primary object.

    The variant is created as a unique object. This means the variant objects content can be changed without affecting its primary object or any other variant objects in its group.

  • A variant of a template

    You can create a variant of a template to enable greater functionality when working with variant content. The variant template is used to apply specific settings when publishing (such as linked File objects) or to swap between different variant content (when linking to variants of a topic).

  • A primary or variant object with strikethrough text in the book

    You can create objects for future releases now and add them to your book. By assigning the variant criteria value to the object for the future release you can tell Author not to include the content in the published output until you are ready. The variant criteria value is assigned to a variant, a primary, or an ordinary object (which converts it to a primary object). When you filter the book for an earlier release the "future" content is displayed in the book's content pane with strikethrough text.