Tag: <span>FULL</span>

I’ve mentioned DITA a few times on this blog, and my DITA is not the answer post is still attracting attention. As I’ve said, I think the DITA standard is an excellent one for software documentation and the DITA movement is slowly catching up to the hype. I’ve never given up on DITA and had always planned to use it as the basis for the next stage of our content development, and as it happens the switch to a full DITA/CMS based solution may be closer than I had anticipated.

We have been considering how best to publish up to date information in keeping with patches and minor releases, and if we can tidy up and publish useful information from our internal Wikis and support system. The nature of the product we work with means there are a lot of different usage patterns, not all of which we would document as they fall outwith typical (common) usage.

So, how to publish formal product documentation, in-line with three versions of the product, in PDF for ‘printed’ manuals, JavaHelp to be added to our product, and HTML to be published to a live website alongside other technical content (ideally maintained in the same system as the product documentation). Storing the content as XML chunks also allows us to further re-use the content programmatically (which can be tied into our product in a smarter, dynamic, fashion).

The obvious answer is single source using DITA to structure the content, storing the content as XML to give us the greatest potential avenues for re-use. Nothing particularly startling there I know, but it’s a switch from the direction we had been considering. So I’ve been catching up on what’s new in DITA-land and have to admit I’m a little disappointed.

We already have FrameMaker and Webworks in-house, although both are a couple of versions old, and thinking we might keep using those applications I’ve been hunting about to see if I can find a solution that offers a coherent, end-to-end, story. There are several CMS solutions which require an editor, editing solutions which require a CMS, and a few products that straddle both CMS and editing but then require publishing engines.

I understand that it would take a collaboration between vendors to be able to offer a simple, seamless solution

In addition to that there does seem to be a tendency for any DITA focused solution to remain the remit of the overly technical. Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite happy delving into XML code, hacking elements, or running command line scripts to get things done. But surely I shouldn’t have to resort such things? Now, I’m sure there are many vendors who will tell me that I don’t need to worry, but I’ve seen several demos and all of them miss a part of the FULL story.

Come on then vendors, stick your necks out. If you are a CMS provider, then recommend an editor. If you sell editing software then talk nice to a CMS vendor and start promoting each other (yeah Adobe, I’m looking at you!).

And yes, I’ll happily admit that maybe I’m just not looking closely enough. If only there was some sort of technical community website that I could join, perhaps with a group or two on DITA? That’d be great.

Ohhh wait. There is! (not the most subtle plug in the world, was it? I think the new Content Wrangler communities could be a big hit, do check them out).

Have a got the wrong end of the stick, are there really gaps in the market in this area at present or is it just my imagination? I guess I’ll be running a fair few evaluations over the coming few weeks and, of course, I’ll post my thoughts and findings here.

Tech Work

Flippin’ ‘eck! THEY might even win!

UPDATE: EXTRA TIME. Unlucky Sol Campbell though, didn’t see much wrong with that.

UPDATE: It’s all over. Lost on penalties. Again. Oopsy.

Well I said I was supporting Portugal as they were the host nation, but I have to admit that England were unlucky. No way Campbell’s goal should have been disallowed. In saying that, Portugal probably ‘deserved’ the win, but sometimes you get the luck, sometimes you don’t.

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Erk, I’m at odds with some recent readings in the papers. Before I start let me say that I fully support the NSPCC FULL STOP campaign. Child abuse of ANY form is evil and, personally, I think the people who perpetrate it should be subjected to the same emotional and physical abuse they dole out to children (the punishment fits the crime).

However when you read that the NSPCC are stating that ALL forms of ‘violence’ should be outlawed, I begin to worry. They state that by spanking your child, you are sending the message that love and violence are acceptable, intertwined. That children are better served to be punished in other ways. I kind of agree with this, but one thing rankles.

There has been a rise of instances reported in the news of children (8-16) involved in stealing, threatening behaviour, violence etc. In every aspect, through my eyes, I see a lack of respect, a lack of realization that they will be punished, and I can see no other reason than the lack of punishment they received at a younger age. The softly, softly approach does work on occasions, but there are still occasions, and they will remain, where a smack is more effective. Yes it should be a last resort, no it shouldn’t be a violent act, often the shock of a smack is enough, whether it actually inflicts pain or not. I am aware that not everything is black and white and that there is a thin line between punishment and violence, but a balance must be found. This kind of thing is a waste of resource, and surely discipline should be installed in the home. As members of the older generation are apt to say “It never did me any harm”.

I often wonder what it is about our society that has lead to this kind of situation. Where have we gone wrong? Answers on a postcard please.

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