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Been a while since I did one of these and, as ever, they reflect some of the things that have caught my eye over the past week or so. A couple of things on DITA which have me rethinking my approach towards it, and a some links to posts discussing … welll community, social media, Web 2.0 kind of stuff, some of it is a little away from my world but it’s good to get a different point of view on these things. Docbook versus DITA Not the first comparison I’ve seen but an excellent summary comparison of DocBook versus DITA. Whilst it was written by someone who admits that they were looking to portray a favourable outcome for DocBook, …

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Having been ill for a couple of weeks I’m just catching up with my reading list and there have been some fascinating posts and articles to read. Quite a few of them struck a chord and I’ll need to give them some more thought before I tackle them myself but all in all it’s a pleasure to be able to read such insightful posts from some very smart people. Ain’t blogs wonderful. The agile technical writer An excellent write up of the typical processes followed by a technical writing team in an Agile environment. It’s good to read this kind of thing, as it matches roughly what we do so… we must be doing it right? In a similar vein …

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“Don’t know what I want, but I know how to get it” Jeff Patton revisits the basics of Agile development, and one section leapt out at me. Saying “shippable” to people in the customer role means implies they’d better get the requirements right because that’s the way Agile development works. Now, I believe Agile people had something else in mind when they said it. I think they mean keep code quality very high. Keep the code supported with unit and acceptance tests. Take steps to validate each and every user story. It tells testers to get involved earlier and more continuously. It tells developers to develop with a higher attention to quality. (Apparently developers would be developing crap otherwise?) Which …

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Christmas looms large, and the days are “fair drawing in” as they say in these parts. I’m taking a couple of weeks off to relax and recharge, and no doubt to eat, drink and be (very) merry. As ever this time of year is pretty hectic, so here are few things that caught my eye over the past couple of weeks. 10 Word to avoid in your writing A short list but the main point is to avoid gobbledygook. One of my pet peeves is the use of long words when a perfectly valid, shorter, word is available. The Plain English website has some excellent advice if you want to find out more. No-one reads the help anyway the next …

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Tomorrow we get to spend the afternoon in the pub after gorging ourselves on turkey and stuffing. Yes, it’s the Development Christmas Lunch. This year it’s handily placed right at the end of a release cycle (although that does mean some poor souls may be dragged back into the office), so we can celebrate the release AND the birth of a baby a long, long time ago (or whatever you believe). That also means that next week I’ll have a little more free time to think about the future, and get some plans in place. I’ve already got a fair list, some of which will feature here. However, for the time being, here are a few things that caught my …

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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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Another week (and a bit) has passed. Time is tight for me at the moment, and I’m not posting here as often as I’d like so, for now, here’s a quick roundup of everything that’s zipped past my inbox in the past week: Resources on presentation design … advocates an assertion-evidence design, which serves presentations that have the purpose of informing and persuading audiences about technical content Needless to say, with my first ever conference presentation looming, I’m fairly focussed on both topic relevant stuff and anything that will help make my presentation better. An XML CMS is simple as 1-2-3 Creating an XML-based Content Management System to single-source technical publications is as simple as 1 – 2 – 3. …

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12 Lessons for Those Afraid of CSS and Standards “It took me two years to break out of the comfortable prison of layout tables, and another two years before I could use CSS to produce layouts that were originally intended for tables.” “The buzz about Web 2.0, CSS, and myriad other subjects of the bleeding edge can become a dull roar to those left ill-equipped for industry changes because of work habits adopted in good faith years before. It is my hope that the experience I’ve shared will help some folks to find a way back to the top of the heap—which is where the web needs you.” But don’t be afraid, Ben Henick offers some lessons that will help …

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As a wise man once said, time flies like a banana. I may be paraphrasing (badly at that, sorry Groucho) so let’s skip on quickly. Brevity is the name of the game today for whilst I’m delighted that the company is allowing the development team to swan off for an afternoon of beer and ten-pin bowling, I am still losing several hours from my working week. With that in mind.. ISTC Conference 2007 writeup File this one under “Ask and ye shall receive”. I’m a member of the ISTC but couldn’t make it to the conference, so I pinged their mailing list to ask if anyone who had attended would possibly write up their thoughts. Many thanks to Mike Unwalla …

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Another week, another quick set of links. I really should start using one of these new fangled “social bookmarking” sites for this, shouldn’t I. Problem is I already have a del.icio.us account for personal use, and I like being able to add some thoughts about the links but it limits that slightly. In saying that, it does mean I give each link proper consideration, rather than just bookmarking them in passing. With that in mind, I thought I’d change the format of this post a little and offer a little more thought on each. Hopefully the links remain interesting and useful to others. In a (short) post entitled Identical vs derivative reuse Ann Rockley suggests that “one thing is certain, …

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