As a Continuous Improvement Specialist in a technical publications company, working intimately with the ASD S1000D Specification for the last 18 months, I was asked to give my thoughts about what I love about the specification. These are my top five!
Data modules are XML files validated to S1000D-specific schemas, which provides a single standard, supporting data exchange between the participants in a project, from manufacturers, to suppliers, to end users. The data modules are not software-specific, allowing each party to deliver and manage data using the systems that fit best into each organization.
Content is created in data modules and stored in a database. Those same data modules are then re-used in different projects and publications as applicable. This reduces the part of maintenance cost that is due to technical information creation.
Many types of output are generated from the same source. This ensures that training materials, maintenance procedures, and descriptive content are consistent across all publications, whether page-based or electronic. Subsets of the over-all information can then be generated to meet each user’s specific needs.
4. Configuration Control
Having to document multiple configurations of multiple variants of multiple products can, and usually does, lead to duplication of content. Duplication of content means duplication of effort and duplication of cost. Reusable, centralized content (textual and other) eliminates duplication.
Having an active standards body for S1000D means that the specification keeps up with emerging technologies and backward compatibility. This protects your existing investment and eliminates the business choice between taking advantage of the latest advances and maintaining compliance with the S1000D spec.