Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionals

Month: December 2005 (Page 1 of 4)

CMS Idol Video from Gilbane Boston Now Available

Bob Doyle of CMS Review was kind enough to film the “CMS Idol” competition at our recent Boston Conference. Tony Byrne of CMSWatch hosted and the judges were Theresa Regli, Lisa Welchman, and Erik Hartman. This was a big hit and you can now view Bob’s video, which is encoded as QuickTime suitable for Podcasting (iPod 320×240). (You should use the latest QuickTime player.) Vendors included Ektron, FatWire, Interwoven, RedDot, Stellent, and WebSideStory. All did a great job!

ClearStory Releases Enterprise Media Server (EMS) for WebSphere Application Server

ClearStory Systems (BULLETIN BOARD: CSYS) announced the availability of Enterprise Media Server (EMS) for IBM WebSphere Application Server. The Enterprise Media Server platform is also certified for the BEA WebLogic and JBoss application servers and supports IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL, and Oracle 9i databases. EMS can be deployed as a stand-alone product or can be incorporated as part of an enterprise content management strategy.

Hot Banana Software Signs 3 International Partners

Hot Banana Software announced the signing of three International Channel Partner agreements. The latest Hot Banana Channel Partners are; Neshami Company of Kuwait; Zmart of Delft, Holland; and Information Providers, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Hot Banana is Unicode compliant to enable its Web Content Management Suite to store, retrieve and deliver multiple languages through a single Web site, and can therefore support content in any language including multi-byte languages, such as Chinese, Arabic and all the Eastern European languages. To-date Hot Banana powered Web sites have been translated into: English, Dutch, Polish, Arabic, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, German, Vietnamese, French, Estonian, Spanish, and Farsi. Hot Banana includes translation workflow processes allowing changes to content to trigger appropriate notifications to the assigned translators of the other language versions of that page. , ,

Idiom Announces New Pricing & Packaging

Idiom Technologies, Inc. announced new pricing and packaging options for its WorldServer globalization software. Idiom is also launching several fixed-price, pre-packaged QuickStart professional service offerings that help customers rapidly deploy Idiom WorldServer. With these offerings, Idiom is addressing the translation and localization needs of smaller global enterprises and departments within large international organizations. QuickStart is the company’s newest professional services offering aimed at helping organizations, particularly those in the midmarket, simplify planning, maximize productivity and reduce costs associated with implementing a WorldServer globalization solution. QuickStart helps organizations with requirements analysis and planning, solution design, implementation and testing, and deployment and transition. New pricing and packaging are aimed at simplifying the WorldServer product line. Instead of several application-specific versions, Idiom will now market and sell one WorldServer-branded solution with the same features and functionality across the board. Pricing starts at $75,000 and is based simply on the number of users and server configuration requirements.

Systinet to Imbed Ipedo’s XML Database

Ipedo announced that Systinet, a provider of solutions for SOA governance and service lifecycle management, will embed Ipedo’s XML database and query technology in the forthcoming Systinet SOA platform. Systinet products include solutions for managing the breadth of SOA information, and provide a unified, approach to defining, understanding and using SOA information for applications for governance, lifecycle management and services discovery. Ipedo provides Systinet with Ipedo XML database and query capabilities, allowing for both storage and XQuery processing of XML documents, including WSDLs, XML Schemas, policies, contracts, taxonomies, and business services. This will allow the Systinet SOA platform to search, analyze and update these documents across large, distributed SOA implementations.

Structured Blogging – Enterprise Only?

Structured blogging activity has accelerated, and has reached the important milestone where there is debate about whether it will amount to anything. If you are not familiar with structured blogging, the term itself should be enough to give you a good idea – think of structured editing, eForms, and blogging all mushed together. Structured editing has been around since the early 80s when companies like Datalogics, Texet, Arbortext, SoftQuad and others were developing SGML authoring and editing tools (I was involved in the Texet effort). The big problem then was the user interface. WYSIWYG was new, but the real issue was not that the tools were not graphical enough, it was that authors were not interested in tools that forced them A) to use a different tool, B) to use a tool that required them to do more work, and C) to use a tool that they were not convinced would provide significant benefits. Today many of us use eForm, HTML or XML tools and the interfaces are far superior, but A, B are still major hurdles to overcome. C is less of a problem, and maybe appealing applications based on ‘microformats’ will help even more. Perhaps the blogging tool plug-ins in the works will alleviate A and B, but winning the hearts of bloggers will not be easy. It will be far easier to do in the context of enterprise applications, but the difficulty should not be underestimated. I am a fan of structured blogging and authoring in general, but the concerns being raised are real. To catch-up on the pros and cons of structured blogging see posts from Bob Wyman, Charlie Wood, Paul Kedrosky,

“DITA” Help

I had flashbacks as I sat in the DITA session at the Boston Gilbane Conference. True flashbacks. Back to the days of creating a complex automated compilation “system” to create context-sensitive help for a Windows-based manufacturing control application. Partnered with an object-oriented developer who had better things to do than “play nice” with a technical writer, we managed to build a routine based on Word macros, RTF, Excel, and DLLs to output coded Microsoft help files linked directly to RC files. Convoluted, but it made us proud.
The flashback was not about the coding, although I felt compelled to document the story. It was more about the writing methdology developed with my fellow technical writers. All about standard topics, we developed a core set of help panels based on chunking information into concepts, procedures, reference info (UI and dialog box help) and glossary items. We developed a simple hypertext strategy with non-negotiable rules for what should link to what — and when. (Ended up with a nice triangle graphic for a cheatsheet.) It worked so well that I wrote and delivered a help standards paper for ACM in…. 1993. Still lives!

So, back to the DITA session, which was excellent — CM4 featuring IBM and Autodesk — two real-life and useful stories of implementers from the documentation trenches. Bill wrote about DITA in practice back in October, noting that Adobe techdoc”ers” are also DITA users.

And finally, back to the point of writing methdologies (aka content strategy component,) which I believe is one of the key drivers of the rapid adoption of DITA. DITA = topics = chunking. It is as much a methodology as it is a technology. Information Mapping, Inc., well-known to techdoc folks as a longtime proponent of information organization = usability, clearly agrees. They have rolled their methodology quite nicely into Content Mapper, blending DITA in as well. Their entry into the authoring software market, full of vendors with equally strong heritage, is a good sign for those following the pulse of ECM as strategy (more on that later.)

Takeaways? Information architecture is hot. Technical writer with online help expertise = DITA fan. Getting information from those in the trenches is key — check out What’s New at and register for a discussion on real-world DITA adoption on January 11th.

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