Gilbane Conferences & Advisor

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Category: DITA – Darwin Information Typing Architecture (page 1 of 7)

Adobe Delivers Technical Communication Suite 3

Adobe Systems Incorporated announced Adobe Technical Communication Suite 3, the latest version of its single-source authoring and multi-device publishing toolkit for the creation and publication of standards-compliant technical information and training material. The new improved version of Adobe’s suite enables technical writers, help authors and instructional designers to author, enrich, manage, and publish content to multiple channels and devices. Adobe also introduced new versions of the suite’s core components: Adobe FrameMaker 10, a template-based authoring and publishing solution for technical content; and Adobe RoboHelp 9, an HTML and XML help, policy and knowledgebase authoring and publishing solution. Adobe Photoshop CS5, Adobe Captivate 5 and Adobe Acrobat X Pro round out the suite, integrating image editing, eLearning and demo creation, and dynamic PDF functionalities. New Features  in Technical Communication Suite 3: Import FrameMaker content into RoboHelp with support for FrameMaker books. Directly link DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) maps, automatically convert table and list styles, and publish multiple RoboHelp outputs from within the native authoring environment. Dynamic “single-click” publishing: Create standards-compliant XML and DITA (1.2) content and output to multiple formats, including print, PDF, Adobe AIR, WebHelp, EPUB, XML and HTML, and deliver it to a wide range of mobile devices, such as eReaders, smartphones and tablets. Lend your content to search engine optimization, via enhanced metadata tagging of published content. Expanded multimedia capabilities: Take advantage of more than 45 video and audio formats and engage audiences by adding 3D models, training demos and simulations. FrameMaker 10 Standards support: Take advantage of significantly enhanced XML/DITA authoring capabilities of FrameMaker 10, which is an early adopter of industry standards including DITA 1.2. Usability enhancements: Work with standards-compliant, prebuilt tools and templates designed for easier authoring. Use utilities like Auto Spell Check, Highlight Support, scrolling for lengthy dialogue, and enhanced Find and Replace. Content Management System (CMS) connectors: Integrate seamlessly with leading content management systems, including Documentum and MS SharePoint, included in FrameMaker 10 at no additional cost. The new offering enables enterprises to better streamline publishing workflows while reducing localization costs by leveraging the enhanced SDL Author Assistant in FrameMaker 10. Users can also automatically schedule and publish content to multiple channels and screens, and gain analytical insights into content usage for effective optimization. http://www.adobe.com/

What’s Next with Smart Content?

Over the past few weeks, since publishing Smart Content in the Enterprise, I’ve had several fascinating lunchtime conversations with colleagues concerned about content technologies. Our exchanges wind up with a familiar refrain that goes something like this. “Geoffrey, you have great insights about smart content but what am I supposed to do with all this information?” Ah, it’s the damning with faint praise gambit that often signals an analysis paralysis conundrum for decision-making.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear — I do not have an out-of-the-box prescription for a solution. It’s not simply a matter of focusing on your customer experience, optimizing your content for search, investing in a component content management platform, or adopting DITA – although, depending on the situation, I may recommend some combination of these items as part of a smart content strategy.

For me, smart content remains a work in progress. I expect to develop the prescriptive road map in the months ahead. Here’s a quick take on where I am right now.

  • For publishers, it’s all about transforming the publishing paradigm through content enrichment – defining the appropriate level of granularity and then adding the semantic metadata for automated processing.
  • For application developers, it’s all about getting the information architecture right and ensuring that it’s extensible. There needs to be sensible storage, the right editing and management tools, multiple methods for organizing content, as well as a flexible rendering and production environment.
  • For business leaders and decision makers, there needs to be an upfront investment in the right set of content technologies that will increase profits, reduce operating costs, and mitigate risks. No, I am not talking about rocket science. But you do need a technology strategy and a business plan.

As highlighted by the case studies included in the report, I can point to multiple examples where organizations have done the right things to produce notable results. Dale and I will continue the smart content discussions at the Gilbane Boston conference right after Thanksgiving, both through our preconference workshop, and at a conference session “Smart Content in the Real World: Case Studies and Real Results.”

We are also launching a Smart Content Readiness Service, where we will engage with organizations on a consulting basis to identify:

  • The business drivers where smart content will ensure competitive advantage when distributing business information to customers and stakeholders
  • The technologies, tools, and skills required to componentized content, and target distribution to various audiences using multiple devices
  • The operational roles and governance needed to support smart content development and deployment across an organization
  • The implementation planning strategies and challenges to upgrade content and creation and delivery environments

Please contact me if you are interested in learning more.

In short, to answer my lunchtime colleagues, I cannot (yet) prescribe a fully baked solution. It’s too early for the recipes and the cookbook. But I do believe that the business opportunities and benefits are readily at hand. At this point, I would invite you to join the discussion by letting me know what you expect, what approaches you’ve tried, where you’ve wound up, what you think needs to come next – and how we might help you.

What’s Hot in XML? Workshop on Smart Content Describes Leading-Edge Content Applications

What is hot in XML these days? I have been to a few conferences and meetings, talked with many clients, participated in various research projects, and developed case studies on emerging approaches to XML adoption. DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) is hot. Semantically enriched XML is hot. Both enable some interesting functionality for content delivered via print, on the web, and through mobile delivery channels. These include dynamic assembly of content organized into a variety of forms for custom uses, improved search and discovery of content, content interoperability across platforms, and distributed collaboration in creating and managing content.

On November 30, prior to the Gilbane Conference in Boston, Geoff Bock and I will be holding our 3rd workshop on Smart Content which is how we refer to semantically enriched, modular content (it’s easier to say). In the seminar we will discuss what makes content smart, how it is being developed and deployed in several organizations, and dive into some technical details on DITA and semantic enrichment.  This highly interactive seminar has been well received in prior sessions, and will be updated with our recently completed research findings.  More information on the seminar is available at  http://gilbaneboston.com/10/workshops.html.

By the way, t The research report, entitled Smart Content in the Enterprise, is now available at the research section at Gilbane.com. It (now available from Outsell Inc) includes several interesting case studies from a variety of organizations, and a lot of good information for those considering taking their content to the next level. We encourage you to download it (it is free). I also hope to see you in Boston at the workshop.

Smart Content and the Pull of Search Engine Optimization

One of the conclusions of our report Smart Content in the Enterprise (forthcoming next week) is how a little bit of enrichment goes a long way. It’s important to build on your XML infrastructure, enrich your content a little bit (to the extent that your business environment is able to support), and expect to iterate over time.

Consider what happened at Citrix, reported in our case study Optimizing the Customer Experience at Citrix: Restructuring Documentation and Training for Web Delivery. The company had adopted DITA for structured publishing several years ago. Yet just repurposing the content in product manuals for print and electronic distribution, and publishing the same information as HTML and PDF documents, did not change the customer experience.

A few years ago, Citrix information specialists had a key insight: customers expected to find support information by googling the web. To be sure, there was a lot of content about various Citrix products out in cyberspace, but very little of it came directly from Citrix. Consequently the most popular solutions available via web-wide searching were not always reliable, and the detailed information from Citrix (buried in their own manuals) was rarely found.

What did Citrix do? Despite limited resources, the documentation group began to add search metadata to the product manuals. With DITA, there was already a predefined structure for topics, used to define sections, chapters, and manuals. Authors and editors could simply include additional tagged metadata that identified and classified the contents – and thus expose the information to Google and other web-wide search engines.

Nor was there a lot of time or many resources for up-front design and detailed analysis. To paraphrase a perceptive information architect we interviewed, “Getting started was a lot like throwing the stuff against a wall to see what sticks.” At first tags simply summarized existing chapter and section headings. Significantly, this was a good enough place to start.

Specifically, once Citrix was able to join the online conversation with its customers, it was also able to begin tracking popular search terms. Then over time and with successive product releases, the documentation group was able to add additional tagged metadata and provide ever more focused (and granular) content components.

What does this mean for developing smart content and leveraging the benefits of XML tagging? Certainly the more precise your content enrichment, the more findable your information is going to be. When considering the business benefits of search engine optimization, the quality of your tagging can always improve over time. But as a simple value proposition, getting started is the critical first step.

SDL and Leximation Team Up for DITA Solution with Adobe FrameMaker

SDL, the provider of Global Information Management solutions, announced the availability of an integration between SDL Trisoft and Leximation DITA -FMx, the DITA plugin for Adobe FrameMaker. By providing a bridge between SDL Trisoft and Leximation DITA -FMx, SDL gives the ability to use SDL’s advanced Component Content Management capabilities with Adobe FrameMaker. The new integration combines technologies for authoring and managing structured content. Together SDL and Leximation share several major clients that want a joint solution. www.sdl.com www.leximation.com

Syncro Soft Updates Oxygen XML Editor and XML Author

Syncro Soft Ltd announced the immediate availability of version 11.1 of its XML Editor and XML Author. Oxygen combines content author features like the CSS driven Visual XML editor with a fully featured XML development environment. It has ready-to-use support for the main document frameworks DITA, DocBook, TEI and XHTML and also includes support for all XML Schema languages, XSLT/XQuery Debuggers, WSDL analyzer, XML Databases, XML Diff and Merge, Subversion client and more. Version 11.1 of <oXygen/> XML Editor improves the XML authoring capabilities, the support for XML development and also a number of core features. The visual XML authoring now uses schema information to provide intelligent editing actions that help keep the document valid and provide a better editing experience. The new compact representation of tags and the quick up/down navigation features improve the ergonomics and the usability. <oXygen/> can use any XQJ compliant XQuery processor for XQuery transformations, different error levels and external references can be specified for Schematron messages and the XProc support was improved with better editing and execution. The XML format and indent operation can use DTD/schema information to provide better formatting and the find and replace is now XML-aware and can accept XPath filtering to delimit the search scope. Starting with version 11.1 the diff and merge support from oXygen is available also as a separate application, oXygen XML Diff. Oxygen XML Editor and XSLT Debugger is available immediately in three editions: Multi-platform Academic/Personal license costs USD 64.00 (includes the one year support and maintenance pack). Multi-platform Professional license costs USD 349.00; Multi-platform Enterprise license costs USD 449.00. Oxygen XML Author is available immediately in two editions: Multi-platform Professional license costs USD 199.00; Multi-platform Enterprise license costs USD 269.00. http://www.oxygenxml.comhttp://www.syncrosvnclient.com

IXIASOFT Announces Partnership with XML-INTL

IXIASOFT has announced a strategic technology partnership with XML-INTL. By integrating the IXIASOFT DITA CMS with the XML-INTL XTM Suite, IXIASOFT customers should benefit from a fully integrated translation management suite which should further enhance their control over the localization process. The DITA CMS is a content management system aimed at technical communicators for the authoring, management and publishing of DITA-based technical documentation. XML-INTL is the developer of the XMT Suite, set of tools for translation. The integration between the two offerings allow users to move their content from the CMS to the translation management tools and have access to updated localized content. http://www.ixiasoft.com/

JustSystems Announces XMetaL Author Enterprise and XMetaL Reviewer 6.0

JustSystems announced the availability of XMetaL Author Enterprise 6.0 and XMetaL Reviewer 6.0, the latest versions of the company’s collaborative XML structured authoring and document reviewing software tools. New in this release is an integration between the two products that unifies the XML authoring process with real-time, distributed web-based reviewing to accelerate documentation cycle. The XMetaL Author Enterprise 6.0 and XMetaL Reviewer 6.0 integration is designed for unified authoring and reviewing, so that authors have tools to initiate and manage reviews as well as a set of specialized editing commands that help them directly act upon suggestions. This integration works with the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) standard as well as other industry standards. Other key features of the new release include– an unlimited number of documents can now be managed within the realm of a single project; a rendition can be associated with the project and used for direct navigation from the place in the final document’s layout to the originating topic that is under review; and arbitrary attachments can be associated in any number with projects, project cycles and drafts. http://www.justsystems.com

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