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Upcoming presentation: Jekyll versus DITA: Bridging the Gap between Tech Comm and the Web

May 10, 2015 • dita, jekyll

May 16, 2015 update: For the recording and slides, see this post.

If you're in the San Francisco Bay area (near Oakland, actually), you might be interested in an upcoming presentation I'm giving to the STC Berkeley chapter this Wednesday. Details are on the STC Berkeley chapter site. I also included the description below:

Jekyll versus DITA: Bridging the Gap between Tech Comm and the Web

Although the web continues to burst at the seams with innovation after innovation, the technology of tech comm tends to evolve in an independent sphere, changing at its own sluggish pace. Is the divide between web tools and tech comm tools a rift that can be bridged any time soon? Or is tech comm, because of its needs for content re-use, conditional filtering, and multi-channel outputs, destined to maintain its own independent track indefinitely?

The interesting thing about innovation is that, although developing technologies underperform mainstream technologies as they evolve, eventually their trajectory overtakes the mainstream technology. Think of examples with Netflix and Blockbuster, Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica, or even reaching farther back, with the telephone and the telegraph.

The same story may take place with static site generators on the web, such as Jekyll. These platforms, originally designed as blogging tools for hackers, have the potential to let technical writers -- particularly those working in developer documentation spaces -- leverage them for tech comm publishing. In fact, most of what you can do with DITA, you can also do with Jekyll.

In this presentation, Tom will first provide a context for innovation and describe the divide between web and tech comm tools. Then he'll then demonstrate how Jekyll, a static site generator, works. Finally, he'll compare the major features of DITA against Jekyll and evaluate the two models.

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical communication — Swagger, agile, trends, learning, plain language, quick reference guides, tech comm careers, academics, and more. I'm interested in simplifying complexity, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture and findability, and more. If you're a technical writer of any kind (progressional, transitioning, student), be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here. You can also contact me with questions.