DITA is not the answer

Single sourcing is good, I’m sure most of us can agree on that, but I’ve recently been wondering if perhaps DITA isn’t quite good enough? The thing is, I’ve been looking at DITA as a solution for our single sources needs for a while now. I’ve attended conferences, read whitepapers, listened to vendors and everything else that goes with it and I’ve got a pretty good handle on things. If applied correctly the benefits you can gain are very large, although the same can be said of any other single source project, yet what seems to be consistently missing during all of these wonderfully theoretical discussions is the cost and impact of getting such a solution “applied correctly”. A key …

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Recently Read

With the TICAD conference last week, a couple of days in my sick bed, and the imminent product release I’m working towards, I’ve not had a lot of time to post here. However, the RSS feeds keep trickling in, so here are a few items that caught my eye over the past couple of weeks. What Beautiful HTML Code Looks Like I’m a terrible coder. Which is just as well because I’m not a developer but as I do dabble in HTML and CSS quite frequently (hey, and PHP too), then this is a good reminder for me to develop my own best practises. Code is Tabbed into Sections: If each section of code is tabbed in once, the structure …

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Thoughts from TICAD 2007

Pre-Conference Dinner The first day of a conference is always a little awkward, introducing yourself to complete strangers is always fraught with danger. So a ‘mingle’ activity is a nice idea, particularly as the TICAD conference makes some play of the networking opportunities, and the an informal dinner beforehand certainly made the following day a little easier. As it turns out I bumped into someone who worked at a sister company of my previous employers (it’s a whole complicated one company, then two companies, then one company thing), and we traded some names and stories. Dinner was good, with many laughs and thought provoking conversation the kind of thing you get when you dine with a bunch of smart, friendly …

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Recently Read

I’m not sure if this is lazy blogging, or a useful feature but here, again, are a few of the articles and blog posts that caught my eye over the past week. Audrey Carr on Design Briefs ~ “After a series of small projects involving undefined requirements, fuzzy objectives, and an aparent lack of truly insightful customer insights, I’ve spent a good chunk of this week thinking about the strategist’s favourite tool for communicating with creative and account teams: the brief.” Inline Linking is bad for usability – whilst it’s aimed at those people concerned with optimising their content for search engines, the examples are interesting from a writing point of view as well, swap out “usability” for “readability” perhaps. …

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DITA DITA DITA*

Still in Reading, travelling home tomorrow and apologies to those who offered to meet up, I’ve barely left the hotel but have had two cracking nights with some very smart people, some of whom have told me some of the dirtiest jokes I’ve heard for a while. And no, of course I can’t remember them… I’m not a tee-totaller you know… Anyway, I’ll be writing my thoughts up on my other blog if you are interested. Ohh and I’ll hopefully get my gordonmclean.co.uk domain sorted out… and a myriad of other things that haven’t budged an inch… mind you I’ve got a few hours on the train tomorrow so I might at the very least get my notes typed up. …

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X-Pubs Conference

Just about finished at this years conference and, as ever, I feel fired up to get back to the office and get things moving. Overall the main theme of the conference was preparation, preparation, preparation, mainly focussed around gathering requirements before kicking off a project. Nothing special there but if you are considering moving towards a single source environment, there is a LOT of preparatory work you’ll need to consider. I’ll amend this post tomorrow with some notes and thoughts from some of the sessions, but overall I’d highly recommend you visit X-Pubs next year. What follows is largely compiled from scribbled notes and random thoughts, but hopefully may be of interest. I’m not sure if copies of all the …

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And so, it begins

Please excuse the dust, and mind your feet, I’m still tidying up. I was always told you should finish a website before launching it but, in the days of instant gratification that advice seems somewhat stilted and old-fashioned. So here it is, yes, it’s another blog. I’ve been blogging for many years now but this is my first attempt at writing a professional blog. To make it a little bit easier on myself I’ve chosen an area in which I’m fairly well-versed – Technical Communications. I have been a Technical Writer/Author/Communicator (I’ll cover that issue another day) for over 10 years and have worked in a variety of different environments, for a variety of different companies, with different cultures and …

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Getting there

Limping towards the finish line that will be the ‘members only’ launch of the Scottish Blogs website. Just need to get ONE DAMN FORM working, import some data and ‘stick a fork in me’ I’m done. I’ll let the current members play with it for a bit (which means I’ll be blocking it off temporarily with a password… maybe.. if I can be bothered) and allow them to edit their details and then the site goes live. There are still quite a few features I want to add but I can add them later without a hit on the current users and I really need to get this off my ‘list’. In other news (ohh hang on, can’t mention that) …

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