Thursday, March 31, 2022

Handing On

Signing Off

I have been writing this blog on and off for quite a few years, actually from when I joined Mekon. More relcenly it has been more intermittent mainly due to the nature of the specification changes in a lot of cases not being quite so earth shattering. In all this time I have very rarely pushed Mekon products because I believed that this was not the place to do that.

For many years I worked as an electronics technical author and then as a project consultant working on what were then cutting edge projects. In with SGML in 1987 when this was brand new, later involved with S1000D even authoring the Crew Module for Issue 1.7, and then conversion of documentation from unstructured to structured form.

When I retired from full time working. Mekon kindly allowed  me to continue on a Part Time basis which I have also enjoyed. But now, in the late 70's age range I am about to retire completely. So for me this is a sort of signing off time.

Over time, in S1000D terms from 1.7 to 5, we have seen editing software go from cludgy to really polished, from bare bones to full of useful extra functioniality. And what do you do with the output, well that has moved from complicated and expensive applications to convert the modules into something that the end user can actually use - to software which takes data modules and allows you to produce hard copy handbooks which are almost indistinguishable from the time honoured books of yore. Also controlling software from very expensive very coplicated CSDB type applications to slick and easy to use applicatitons. And checking your modules against the Business Rules and getting something sensible in a report that makes it easy to see any deviation.

At Mekon the range of applications has grown. Over the years Mekon has prided itself on the support that it provides for its clients always bending over backwards to really help (not something that can be said about some other software houses).

So thank you to those who have provided feedback. Thank you to those who have engaged in mainly interesting discussions about S1000D. May S1000D go from strength to strength.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

More Small Apps for S1000D Users

Not long ago I indicated that Mekon had introduced a number of standalone applications which makes working with parts of the S1000D Specification a little less painful. Then I introduced the Assisted DDN creation and Assisted IPD creation tools. This time I am introducing two more:
  • Publication Module Generator
  • BREX Checker

Publication Module Generator

There are an increasing number of projects that require a Publication Module as one of the deliverables. Some CSDB applications provide this facility as part of the functionality. But as we have often discussed, for a large numbers of Technical Publication Sub-contractors the cost of a CSDB is outside the budget. To provide a means of creating a Publication Module Mekon has introduced a Standalone Application. Currently it only works with Issue 4+ Data Modules but with the increasing user base being limited to these Issues of S1000D this, for some, is not a problem.

There are several publication content requirements provided by the S1000D Specification which are related to publication types. These can be used to provide a guide to the structure and content required for a specific task. In the S1000D Specification these types of publications are referred to as Information Sets and information is provided for Air Specific and Land/Sea specific content and structures (Chapter 5.3 of S1000D Specification).
In more recent times Aircraft Industries Association (AIA) has released a specification for the iSpec CMP documents.

The Publication Module Generator can work with any of these requirements. It is provided with templates for the AIA work.

Population of the Publication module can either be Data Module-by-Data Module or in bulk determined by the user. Of course once the Data Modules have been imported they will need to be rearranged within the application to give the required structure. The attributes of the PMEntry elements can be edited to agree with the requirements of the specific specification.

BREX Checker

Having created the data modules for a specific project it is important to be sure that the deliverable conforms to the project business rules. These rules should be in two forms:
  • Written document fully explaining each rule
  • Business Rules Exchange (BREX) module
It is often difficult to be sure that the data modules do indeed conform to the business rules and to help in this task Mekon has produce a Brex Checker application.

The user 'loads' the Brex into the checker and points the tool at an individual data module or a folder of data modules. The result is a report which details any deviation from the rules. Of course the user needs to go through the data modules one by one to correct and deviation from the rules.

The Mekon Eclipse S1000D application is provided with the necessary functionality to create both ATA and A350 CMM compliant data modules. This ability should result in a report giving the batch a clean bill of health. Currently the Eclipse application is provided with the ability for the user to conform with both the ATA and Airbus A350 rules.

Why not try these applications?

Why not contact Mekon and have a trial of these applications? Mekon can provide them with temporary licences which limit them to a short period e.g. 30 days.