ARDOS

The Situation

In aviation documentation, structured documentation has changed from a future technology to a daily basic requirement. Terms such as SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) and XML (eXtensible Markup Language) are no longer unknown but already very well established in the field of aviation documentation. Beside the delivery of pure structured content, the publication of such structure as standard manual for the daily usage or as online documentation is still requested. TD&DS is already capable of fulfilling the tasks which await us in tomorrow's aviation technical documentation now.

The Task

The task is to meet the different requirements of technical documentation with respect to efficient publishing at the same time. These requirements include a high level of reuse, consistent revision processes, providing central contents, integrating well-defined and retrievable check processes and a preferably flexible configuration of the publishing processes for PDF and online documentation. In addition, the documentation must conform to the legal regulations and international specifications such as ATA iSpec 2200, the latest issues of ASD S1000D (e.g. S1000D v 2.3, v 4.01 and v 4.1) as well as all kinds of customer wishes for the different document types.

ARDOS - The TD&DS Solution

To meet the above-mentioned requirements, we developed the software program ARDOS. What has started as support for publishing processes in our company, is now a comprehensive software suite. ARDOS can be customized in a modular manner to meet individual requirements. Depending on the extent of the documents, it is advisable to either use a 32 bit or 64 bit system. The following modules are part of the ARDOS suite:

ARDOS Publisher

This module generates interactive PDF documents with completely integrated graphics from XML or SGML files, i.e. from purely structured text and the corresponding graphics.

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ARDOS Author

The ARDOS documentation is created in XML. Depending on the type of the documentation to be delivered, the XML document may also be later converted to SGML. The ARDOS Author module complements a standard XML editor for every kind of documentation with additional features that significantly enhance the documentation process. With these features, we want to ensure an efficient way to compile documentation.

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ARDOS Checker

With the ARDOS Checker module, we supply a set of business rules that are used to check the documentation. In addition, other business rules (e.g. in case of S1000D BREX) can be imported or already existing checks can be extended with self-defined checks through an API. With these rules, the documentation can be checked with regard to consistency, compliance with certain business regulations and much more. Often it is necessary to incorporate “external” documentation in the own data bases. The ARDOS Checker module facilitates this process by calculating the migration effort. A corresponding report function is incorporated as well.

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ARDOS PDF2XML

Regardless of the already 20-year old demand for structured documentation, "old" documents are often only saved as PDF documents or the proprietary source files can no longer be accessed. Nevertheless, the documentation may also have to be revised at some point but the technical writer does not want to retype hundreds of pages. With the ARDOS PDF2XML module, 80-90% of a document, e.g. a CMM, can be converted to structured XML. Even before the PDF file has to be edited, ARDOS PDF2XML already recognizes the "structures" and certain contents in the PDF file, such as tools, materials, etc., and creates correct data elements. Thus the conversion to XML is not only “plain text”, as it is the case with simple copy/paste procedures.

For a demonstration, click here.

ARDOS Live SGML Viewer

XML and SGML offer significant advantages over proprietary formats. With ARDOS Live SGML Viewer you can use SGML and XML for a number of documentation as real online documentation. It does not matter whether the documentation is available offline, company-wide in the LAN or on a website in your own portal. You will soon discover the advantages over a static PDF document and maybe put new demands on your own documentation.

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ARDOS SGML Viewer (Mobile Device)

As one of the first software developers, we have brought "real" online documentation to the iPad. For the offline usage, the iPad is synchronized with a company repository to ensure the functionality.

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ARDOS Queue

This module is made for the usage in larger teams or for the generation of several documents in a row. Especially documentation with several hundred or even several thousand pages cannot be generated in a few minutes because the complex compilation of indexes, interactions within the PDFs etc. require a certain amount of time. Therefore, the ARDOS Queue module has been developed as batch processor which publishes documents in a previously set order or checks their contents in the ARDOS Checker.

For more information, click here.

ARDOS CMS Server

Without going into the details of all the advantages of a Content Management System (CMS), we can assure you here that an increase in efficiency, overall data consistency, provisioning of central contents, reuse of common contents in many manuals/tasks/data modules, simultaneous work on larger manuals or a secure work flow for the compilation of the editorial contents can only be achieved with the support of a data base. The ARDOS CMS server is already in use for 5 years and it fulfills our requirements for a system especially designed for aviation documentation in accordance with ATA iSpec or S1000D. The ARDOS CMS server is available on site as own system or accessible from our company via VPN.

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ARDOS CMS Client

Working on a CMS server is only reasonable with the corresponding client. The ARDOS CMS Client manages the data base access, allows the checking in and checking out of data modules and compiles a complete documentation from the single data modules. Similar to the ARDOS Author, we provide a number of functions that aim to facilitate the usage of SGML/XML in teams.

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ARDOS Supplementary Tools

The ARDOS Supplementary Tools are integrated in the main software program and not built as a separate module. These tools facilitate the work with SGML and XML, especially numerous report and export functions, that include the SGML and XML sources which often have to be supplied to the clients in a different format.

For more information, click here.

The Outlook

Naturally, the improvement of already existing and the development of new ARDOS modules goes on. The constant aim to create technical documentation on a professional and competitive level leaves enough room to develop more automatic processes within our ARDOS suite. The innovations in the field of aviation and the developments of the corresponding specifications (ATA iSpec. 2200 and ASD S1000D) require a constant development of the many document types; from the simple Service Information Letter to the complex Operation or Maintenance Manual for aircraft, systems and components.

The comparison with other tools

Tags: S1000D iSpec Ardos SGML XML

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