Big plans take time

Reading time: < 1 min

I’m procrastinating. I’ve reached a certain point in the work I’m doing that requires the completion of a very large planning spreadsheet. I’m currently looking at all of our content with a view to restructuring it to fit better with the way our customers work hopefully making it easier for people to browse the content….

Hacking Author-it Webhelp

Reading time: 4 mins

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,…

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Analyse this

Reading time: 2 mins

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…

Access is good

Reading time: 1 min

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…

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Dumping the manual

Reading time: 2 mins

I honestly can’t remember the last time I picked up a user manual, an honest-to-god paper book of technical documentation. Actually that’s a lie, it was just last week when i was tidying up. I picked up several user manuals and moved them to a lower shelf on my bookcase. It’s also been a long…

Author-it Web Help Configuration Wizard

Reading time: < 1 min

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…

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Author-it Hints, Tips, & Useful Info

Reading time: 3 mins

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…

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Why we are moving to single source

Reading time: 2 mins

I’ve waffled on about single source and our plans for long enough so, as we are finally starting the process itself, I thought I’d capture some information as we go along. However, it’s probably good to set the scene, so I’ll cover that stuff first. Over time you’ll be able to see all the posts…

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Recently Read

Reading time: 2 mins

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….

Spanning the divide

Reading time: 2 mins

I’ve been chasing this train of thought for a while now and decided to start writing my thoughts down in the vague hope that they come together in a way that makes sense to others. It seems to make sense to me but, as yet, there are a few grey areas into which I may…

CSS for layout

Reading time: 3 mins

… and why you should use it. Separating content from structure and style is a common theory, widely accepted to those of us either using or investigating single source solutions for our documentation. The same theory has been applied to web development and offers similar benefits. CSS-based web design developed in parallel with the growing…

On New

Reading time: 2 mins

I’d forgotten how odd it was to be the ‘new guy’, how much information we all take for granted, and how much we presume others know. As such, I’m trying to keep a note of things that I wanted/needed to know, and also to try and embellish what exists in the hope that other new…

How to make a cup of tea

Reading time: 5 mins

Further to my Too Simple post, and in response to the comment from Annie about the state of software manuals, I thought I’d try and give a bit of insight into the basic workings of my profession. Yes, that’s right I DO have a day job. I am a technical author and I write software…

Firefox Extensions Revisited

Reading time: 3 mins

Been a while since I waffled on about Firefox, but with 2.0 in Alpha (no I’ve not tried it yet, and I’d suggest you leave it well alone too) I thought it might be a good time to look at the current extensions I’m using. I’ve tried many different extensions but have pared things down…

Careful

Reading time: < 1 min

Just got my first “phishing” email which alleges to have come from PayPal. It doesn’t. The subject line reads: Your account will be suspended! It reads: Dear Paypal User, In accordance with our major database relocation, we are currently having major adjustments and updates of user accounts to verify that the informations you have provided…

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