Tagging

Last night on Twitter I asked “Looking for a way to tag topics in an authoring platform. Not part of Author-it, does any app do it?” and a few helpful people gave me suggestions. I later clarified and thought I’d expand on that here. My clarification was that “Re tagging: we want to tag topics in the authoring tool so whatever the output, the user can filter on tags eg, v1.0/email or v2.3/document”, it was at this point I realised I needed more than 140 characters to explain what I was looking for… Our product is in the throes of moving to a modular/component delivery. We will no longer have one installer to install one big product with everything in …

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How to embed linked images in Word 2010

One of the most popular posts on my blog was written a few years ago but still gets a lot of visits and comments; How to embed linked images in Word 2007. Some of the comments have offered better solutions and one in particular I found myself searching for today. Having upgrade to Office 2010 I’ve realised that Microsoft has, again, “improved” the user interface by moving things around! So, courtesy of Sarah, here are the updated instructions for how to embed linked images in Microsoft Word 2010: With your Word document open, click the File tab, top-left of the window. On the left-hand side, select Info. On the right-hand side, near the bottom, click Edit Links to Files. In …

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Further Webhelp hacking

I mentioned in my previous post that we run a webhelp build of our content (a.k.a. our Knowledge Centre) on our developer community website, and that it was hosted in an iframe. I thought it worthwhile fleshing out the detail of that as it includes a bit of custom code some others might find useful. As our content is locked behind a login, we need to be sure that only people who are logged in can access it. This is achieved by a couple of simple checks. 1. When the Knowledge Centre is loaded, a script runs that checks it has been loaded within the correct iFrame within our website. If it’s not, the user is redirected to the login …

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Hacking Author-it Webhelp

Finding the right solution for a problem isn’t always easy but sometimes, if you are very lucky, the solution will fall straight into your lap. Such was the case with our switch to Author-it even though we didn’t fully realise it at the time. I’ve covered our reasons for switching from FrameMaker to Author-it elsewhere, and once we had converted our content we started to look at how we could get the most from the other output formats available. We already had ideas on how we could use the provided HTML based publishing formats to provide a better solution to the problem of finding information, and we were planning on generate HTML versions of the entire documentation set to be …

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Analyse this

Let me tell you a story. In it our hero (me) fights valiantly against two Javascript dragons called Webhelp and Google Analytics. It’s a bloody battle and at the end, when all the fighting is done, well … you’ll have to read on and find out. Some background first. We have a developer community website which hosts downloads of our software and all the documentation in PDF format. To make it easier for people to find information in the product documentation, we also host a Webhelp version of each and every document in one master Webhelp system so you can search across the entire thing. It works really well. To track how the other areas of the website are used, …

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Numbers game

Better documentation lowers support calls, is a widely held assumption and one I’m hoping to prove in the coming months. With our new knowledge centre in place, and Google Analytics tracking how many people are visiting it, I’ll soon have stats for my side of the fence. Early numbers (from the past two weeks) show that more people are looking at the Documentation area of our website than are looking at the Support area, but then the knowledge centre (part of the Documentation area) is new so that’s only to be expected and I’m really not expecting to get a true picture of how things are going until late January next year. Fingers crossed. With thanks to Rachel Potts for …

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Access is good

Yesterday we launched a new version of our developer community website. It doesn’t have many ‘community’ features as yet but that’s all to come. One thing it does now have is an HTML version of all of our product documentation, in an easily searchable format. It’s no coincidence that it looks very much like the Author-it Knowledge Center as it too was built using Author-it (alas I can’t show you our website as it requires a login). This new format of the product documentation is largely to move us away from PDF only documentation. At present we still have a set of PDFs but they aren’t particularly usable. We ran a few quiet trials of the knowledge centre format and …

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Author-it & Word

A teeny tiny gotcha that I thought I’d mention here. I can’t find explicit mention of it in the Author-it Knowledge Center and it’s tripped me up a bit. Quite simply, and I realise these will sound obvious, make sure everyone who is using Author-it is using the same version of Microsoft Word. My particular scenario has my laptop running Word 2007, making changes to the template, but when publishing from a machine running Word 2003, the footers weren’t being displayed despite the AutoText entry being available in the output Word document. Naturally I’m discovering this delightful quirk on the final day of the project as we do a final publish and check on our deliverables. And people wonder why …

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Author-it Web Help Configuration Wizard

For version 5.3, Author-it released new web help templates and having played with them a bit I have to say I like them. However I was struggling to see how to enable some of the options that you can see in the example Author-it provide, so off into the HTML and CSS files I headed to see if I could see anything useful in there. And there is, several of the options are commented out in the HTML code and with a little bit of poking and prodding I got some of them to work. Pretty straightforward, if you know HTML and CSS that is. But what if you don’t? Well the good news is that the ever productive Hamish …

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Author-it Hints, Tips, & Useful Info

The following are not in any particular order. Some are tips gleaned from experience, some are links to the knowledge being shared by others, all have helped us get us from a standing start to a full content conversion and production delivery in under 4 months. We started with ~2450 topics of imported content, and managed to keep pace with the development team as well as cleanup and backfill the imported content. Quite a feat! Working with Author-it As we were converting a LOT of content from FrameMaker to Author-it, there was a LOT of cleanup required. Being able to customise the styles toolbar, adding in the most common used paragraph styles for example, was a huge bonus. We ended …

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