AECMA SPEC 1000D data for defence technology
The AECMA (Association Européenne des Constructeurs de Matériel Aérospatial [European Association of Aerospace Industries]) is an association of members from all the national aerospace associations in EU Member States, the Czech Republic and Europe’s largest aerospace and defence technology companies. An AECMA working group (the TPSMG = Technical Publications Specification Maintenance Group) has set itself the goal of defining a uniform Specification for Technical Documentation. This specification is called AECMA SPEC 1000D. One of the requirements was to design this specification to neutral and internationally accepted standards.
What is AECMA SPEC 1000D and why is it used?
AECMA S1000D is currently the most comprehensive specification for technical publications in the world. In addition to the DTD discussed it also contains specifications for using standardized graphic data formats, etc.
The specification has many advantages, for it
- is based on neutral and internationally accepted standards,
- reduces the cost of maintaining technical information,
- enables data to be transferred between various IT systems,
- enables publication in various media from a single source,
- is not copyright protected, makes multiple use of the data possible,
- is already used in many national and international projects,
- is open to further development in response to new technologies.
Developing AECMA SPEC 1000D
The first version of AECMA S1000D was adopted in 1989. Since then many amendments have been made in order to implement users’ requirements and to integrate new technologies. In addition, DTD variations based on S1000D were developed outside of the AECMA, in order to permit functionality required for projects ar short notice. Hence the creation of version 1.7x, based on AECMA version 1.7. Version 1.7x makes it possible to use hotspots, for example, which became obligatory for German Federal Navy projects F124 and U212, among others. Whilst these DTDs are still in use, the AECMA DTDs have been further developed. And so the functionality of version 1.7x is also implemented in the current version 1.9 by AECMA.
In addition to this development, many companies have become aware of SGML and wish to profit from the benefits of this format. Since companies’ DTD requirements frequently lead to modification of the AECMA DTD original version, further versions are then created. In addition, different countries sometimes also place different requirements on the DTD and then amend them accordingly. This naturally leads to problems when exchanging data and to increased costs for suppliers, who have to familiarise themselves with different DTDs and specifications.
The ISO Standard SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) was chosen as the format for textual information for SPEC 1000D.
The required structures will be defined using a DTD (Document Type Definition). SGML and DTD are thus used as the uniform basis for creating documentation.
Transformation using GRIPS
STAR’s content authoring and documentation system GRIPS permits fully automatic generation of data modules including the associated Data Module Codes and the desired paper documentation from one and the same data source. Transformation of these modules in accordance with specific requirements is integrated into GRIPS.
Consistency checks and automated tests make the author’s work easier – as a result of a standardized working environment.
Transformation of SGML data
Transforming SGML data makes it possible to:
- Transfer data automatically,
- shift structures,
- convert structures so that they comply with a different DTD.
In an ideal case, functionality of this kind is integrated into the authoring environment so that external data can be imported into the system and so that data can be exported in accordance with customer requirements. This means that the authors do not need to familiarise themselves with each specification in detail.
Transforming data for publishing purposes
If data modules are to be published on paper (e.g. Using Adobe FrameMaker), this often leads to problems which can normally be solved by transforming the data with minimum effort. This means that information such as allocation to paper-based generation guidelines (H011 etc.) can be added automatically. When processed in modular format as defined in SPEC 1000D, it is then also very well suited to conversion into HTML. The major advantage of this transformation is that HTML files can be made readable on any computer without an import and without special software.
Automatic checks on data modules in accordance with project-related specifications
The AECMA S1000D DTD is not sufficient to constitute a specification. The associated browser guidelines (which, in the field of defence technology, is the IETD German Federal Army user system) must also be considered. Project-related requirements set out in the respective Guidance Document (GD) count as further specifications. Such regulations cannot be captured by the DTD. The author can therefore only generate data which corresponds to the DTD, but not to the project and browser guidelines. Such guidelines can also be checked with the help of a data transformation. This involves a data module check, whereby the DTD including all additional specifications are taken into account and the report files are generated.
The STAR Group is one of the largest providers of technical information and translation in the world. Our global presence means that we are always close to the local market and customer – we always speak your language, wherever you are. The STAR Group is also a leading supplier of all the tools needed for the information process, from authoring to printing. This combination of services and tools make us unique in the market.