Plan the conversion to structured authoring

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An important step when you are converting your library to use structured authoring is to create an implementation plan. Use the plan to measure how the conversion will affect your existing content. Once you are aware of the changes that are required you can identify the steps needed to update your library.

When you create your implementation plan consider the following:

  • Analyze your existing books and topics and group them into content "types". Look at how you can standardize the layout and styles used by each of the content types. Also, check that the objects are based on the correct templates.
  • Decide if you are going to convert existing templates, in which case all topics based on the template will be converted to structured topics, or if you are going to create new templates so you can gradually convert the topics to structured topics.
  • Identify the stage in the content life cycle where topic level validation should be enforced, then select the release state or states you'll use. If you choose a release state that is already assigned to content, consider how it will affect the conversion - will you need to take content out of the release state before converting your existing templates? Or will you create a new release state which will be used to enforce validation and assign it to topics as they validate?
  • Design a structure for each of the book and topic types you've analyzed. Create an example topic for each of the topic structures. You can include a sample layout, notes relating to the content, or any information relevant to the author. The example topic is linked to the structure and displayed in the Editor's Example tab. Base the example topic on any template, you don't have to base it on a structured template.

Localized content

If you already localize your content, consider how updating topics will affect the translation process - understand the implications of updating your content before converting any topics. If you do convert your library, think about creating a new release state for enforcing validation against a structure - don't use the same release state that you already assign to content released for translation. Using a new release state ensures your updated topics won't be automatically released for re-translation.

Reused content

You can reuse content in topics based on a structured template, either embedding topics or pasting content. If you create an embedded topic rule you restrict the embedding action to specific topics or allow more flexibility by allowing templates so any topic based on that template can be embedded. Validation for the rule is based on the topic being embedded rather than its content.

Pasted text is subject to the same rule validation applied to normal content in the structured topic. If you paste content consider how it will affect validation. You may need to allow extra flexibility in the structure to allow for your reused content.