Month: May 2007

Finally! A DITA Whitepaper Worth Reading: Dynamic Content Delivery Using DITA

The 25-page paper, Dynamic Content Delivery Using DITA, authored by Eric Severson, Chief Technology Officer at Flatirons Solutions, explains in sufficient detail how the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) can help content-heavy organizations provide dynamic, personalized content delivery to customers on demand. This Paper Succeeds Where Most Others Fail We really like this whitepaper because it provides a clear picture of how adopting the topic-based content standard can help your organization see the possibilities a standardized, topic-based approach to content creation can provide. It also helps readers understand how such an approach works and why its needed, without over-delivering on the marketing front. Typically, when an organization starts a move to DITA, they try to “make” the standard fit into their current content creation and delivery model. More often than not, this approach results in organizations using DITA to create old school content models that suffer from the limitations of static publishing. Photo © Roman Sigaev – FOTOLIA This fact is not surprising. Humans have used the same approach to publishing since the invention of the printing press. But, user expectations are rapidly changing and, as a result, so too must the way we think about publishing (content delivery). The white paper, sponsored by Flatirons Solutions and Mark Logic, outlines the specific differences between static publishing and dynamic, personalized content delivery and explores uses the history of publishing technologies...

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Grammar Girl To The Rescue

Got a grammar question? Grammar Girl has answers. Check out her popular website, Quick and Dirty Tricks for Better Writing. A recent hot topic—Grammar Girl’s Strunk & Twite: An Unofficial Twitter Style Guide is particularly timely advice for the web 2.0 generation. Learn more about...

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Decision Time: DITA or S1000D

By Joel Amoussou, special to The subject of interoperability between S1000D and the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) has received significant attention within the technical documentation community recently. This article discusses the following issues: Shall we create DITA specializations for S1000D data modules? How can we facilitate interoperability between DITA and S1000D, to enable round-tripping transforms for example? Is the DITA specialization mechanism the best way to make S1000D extensible? How can users leverage the strengths of both DITA and S1000D without introducing complexity? In general, our approach to designing technical solutions is based on the following principles: Always use the right tool for the job at hand Do not reinvent the wheel Adhere to best practices in modern information design Let’s look at the issue from the perspective of two important stakeholders: the XML Vocabulary User and the Information Architect. The Right Tool for the Job at Hand You are a technical writer, content publisher, or a publications manager. You work for an aircraft manufacturer. Your mandate is to produce maintenance and operation documentation for a new aircraft project. Should you use S1000D, DITA, or both? Use S1000D to document the airframe, engine, components, and supporting equipments. Do not try to create DITA specializations for these subjects. Like DITA, S1000D supports the following concepts: Topic-driven information design in the form of data modules Extensive metadata facility based...

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Zamzar: Quick, Free, Online File Conversion

What more can we say? It’s free. It’s quick. It’s online. It’s Zamzar, a file conversion product you might find handy when you find yourself in need of basic file conversion. Types of files handled include word processing, video, audio and more. We did a basic .doc to html conversion of a consistently structured (formatted) MS Word document in just a few seconds. Worked smoothly without any fuss. Nothing fancy. Just fast, online, and...

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Do You Really Pay Attention? Really?

In order to design information products that are useful to our customers, we have to pay attention to what they say they want and need. But, far to often, we can’t see the real problems in need of being solved. Perhaps it’s because we just don’t pay as much attention as we think we do. Take the case of the “Amazing Color Changing Card Trick” (see video below). If you don’t see what’s going on the first time around, you’re not...

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