Binders: Keeping Documents Together Since 2.10

I’ll never forget the day I first came in contact with the uPerform Binders. It was at the end of 2007 and uPerform 2.10 had just been introduced. I had been sent to Sweden to perform a server installation and deliver a training session. As usual when being sent to a Nordic country, it was Winter.

This was my first encounter with driving in the Nordic snow and my first exposure to real winter tires. We use winter tires throughout Europe, but the ones used in the Nordic countries are different. In the Benelux winter tires are made of a different compound which gives better grip in cold winter conditions, the Nordic countries have the same, but added spikes to the tires.

This was the strangest sensation, doing 80 mph on a highway full of snow and feeling comfortable and safe.

Anyway,  I was well into the Author training with this customer in Sweden and I asked the class to check in their documents. When I tried  to show them where to find their documents  I noticed a difference within the interface; a disturbance in the usual flow. A new level had been added….

Of course this functionality had been discussed during an internal session, but when you’re out from Sunday night to Friday evening, traveling to different countries every week, the schedules for attending internal meetings can’t always align.

So I had to take a close look at the new menu options and was able to spot the functionality changes quite easily.

What do Binders do?

The binder functionality in uPerform is comparable to the physical binders that were used in high schools. When I was in high school I would take one binder to school with me that contained notes for all the different classes. It grouped the notes for the different subjects together. uPerform Binders do something similar, they group documents together because of a specific relation. In this case the same documents but in different languages. A binder is created automatically when a document is checked in to the server for the first time.

Why were Binders introduced?

uPerform Binders were introduced to make the roll out of a multi-lingual uPerform system easier to manage and to be able to use the new Group Based Filtering functionality. Within EMEA a lot of customers roll out Ancile’s products in more than one language. Before the binder functionality this meant that if you created 100 uPerform documents and each document was created in 4 languages, as an Administrator you would have to assign website context for 400 documents. For an administrator this would mean that they would have to keep track of which documents were assigned manually. This was a very tedious task and presented customers with a lot of additional logistics. The binder functionality guaranteed that documents created for the same task in a different language were kept together and only needed to be assigned once.

New in uPerform 4.40

In uPerform 4.40 two major changes were introduced to the binder functionality.

  1. Allow authors to check-in independent documents to uPerform binders.
  2. Binder functionality for Managed Documents.

These might seem like minor changes but the impact on a documentation project is huge.

The first option allows authors to decide where to check-in a document that was created as a translation themselves. This gives our customers a lot more flexibility. Previously, to create a translation of a document, authors were required to use the “Save As” or translation options within the uPerform client. As of 4.40 an author can create a brand new document from scratch, but still check it into an existing binder. The only requirement is that the newly created document has a different document language than documents that already reside within the binder.

The second option brings all the awesome binder functionality to your Managed Documents. This means that documents cannot only be tagged with language information, they can also be grouped together for easier management. From an end-user’s perspective, this means that when you have a managed document in 6 language and you use the “Filtered Documents” view option, you would only see the Managed Document that is in your language.

Back to Sweden

In the end, the training in Sweden went smoothly and the customer was really excited about this new functionality since they were planning to roll out their documentation in 4 different languages! The ride back to the airport was similar to the way there, 80-90 mph on dense snow, a lot of fun with some exciting moments when some deer decided to cross the road.