About the IXIASOFT Dynamic Release Management module

The IXIASOFT Dynamic Release Management (DRM) module allows technical publication teams to easily manage the documentation for multiple products across multiple release cycles.

Logical separation of content

In the standard version of IXIASOFT CCMS (without the DRM module), all the content in the CCMS is available for reuse. Any document can reference any content contained within the CCMS.

In the DRM module, related content is virtually grouped together in logical units named “Products”. Products are used to organize and store all the content that relates to only a specific guide, release, product line, customer, component, or other specific use. A document in one Product cannot reference content in any other Product. Products separate the content into different content sets.

Libraries for shared content

If some content needs to be available for reuse in different Products, it can be added to a Library. A Library is where all the shared content is stored. Documents in a Product can reference the content in a Library. And multiple Products can have documents that reference the same Library.

Products, Releases, and Versions

Within a Product, documentation is classified into three release management levels:

  • Products: At the top level, you define a Product. A Product has its own configurable metadata (such as name and description) and contains one or more Releases.
  • Releases: A Release provides a second level of logical grouping for the documentation. A Release has its own configurable metadata (such as name and description) and contains one or more Versions.
  • Versions: A Version contains the actual documentation objects. Content is always created for a Version. A Version must exist before content can be added to it, and the same content object can be used in more than one Version.
Note: Your deployment of DRM may conceptualize and use the three release management levels in a way that varies from above. The hierarchical structure of these levels is more important than how they are named.
The following diagram shows these concepts:
DRM Overview
Note: Libraries have the same three release management levels.

For example, dynamic release management could be implemented as follows for the IXIASOFT documentation:

DRM Ixiasoft

There are two main Products in this sample implementation: CMS and TEXTML Server. Each Product has two Releases, and each Release has multiple Versions. The content of the CMS and TEXTML Server product documentation is created at the Version level.

Branching and merging

In technical writing projects, you might need to work on different versions of the same documentation set at the same time. Or you might need to document multiple versions that reuse the same content.

The DRM module provides two release management features to allow the reuse of content without creating objects unnecessarily:
  • Branching: Branching lets you create a new documentation Version for a Product of Library based on the current Version.

    For example, you are working on the documentation in a map for Version 1 of Product A, and you need to start work on Version 2 immediately. You can branch the map in Version 1 and work from this new map to make the changes for the new Version.

    You can edit existing topics, add new ones, and remove unnecessary ones in Version 2 without impacting Version 1. When you edit a topic, you can branch the topic. This creates a copy of the topic in Version 2, where you can edit the topic without changing the topic that exists in Version 1.

  • Updating to previous Versions: You can apply changes made in a new document Version back to another Version. For example, let's say that you had branched a topic to document new parameters added in Version 2 of the Product. If Product Management decides to also add that feature in Version 1, you can simply update the new topic to that Version, so that Version 1 now uses the updated topic.

Terminology and user experience differences in IXIASOFT CCMS Web

The content in IXIASOFT CCMS Web is identical to the content in IXIASOFT CCMS Desktop. However, the DRMterminology and the actions that users can take are different.

The following are the main differences between CCMS Desktop and CCMS Web in terms of DRM:

  • A Version is called a Branch in CCMS Web.
  • Branching an object is referred to as "forking" in CCMS Web.
  • Users do not see the Release layer of a Product in CCMS Web.
  • Users in CCMS Desktop have access to more DRM-related actions than in CCMS Web, especially actions related to managing the DRM structure.