Upcoming presentation in downtown San Francisco: Publishing strategies for API documentation

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I’m giving the following presentation to the San Francisco STC Chapter on October 15: Publishing strategies for API documentation Most of the common tools for publishing help material fall short when it comes to API documentation. Much API documentation (such as for Java, C++, or .NET APIs) is generated from comments in the source code. Continue Reading »

Thirteen life hacks

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The other day I ran across a post detailing 46 brilliant life hacks. Since then I’ve been mulling over a few of my own life hacks and wanted to share them here. The following are a few tips that have worked for me. They are totally random, covering “life” in general, but I’ll share them Continue Reading »

Author in DITA, publish with WordPress

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If you’ve been following my posts lately, you’ve seen me explore the tools question numerous times. In this post, I’ll explore combining structured authoring with web publishing on WordPress. In a nutshell, here’s the main idea: structured authoring tools are great for authoring content. Web platforms are great for publishing content. My plan is to Continue Reading »

Woes of conditional text and topichead elements (DITA best practices)

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When authoring in DITA, there are a couple of best (or worst) practices that I wasn’t aware of. The first is with conditional text; the second is with topichead elements: Cautions with conditional text Noz Urbina has written two excellent articles about the dangers of going overboard with conditional text. When Conditional Content Goes Wild: Continue Reading »

Benefits of tool diversity, part II

In my previous post, Is tool fragmentation a good thing?, I lamented the trend toward tool fragmentation in the tech comm community, noting several disadvantages that fragmentation brings: fragmentation of community and knowledge sharing increased overhead of learning new tools frustration with HR departments who expect strong knowledge of their chosen tool (among hundreds) I Continue Reading »

Is tool fragmentation in tech comm a good thing?

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One of the attendees from Alan Houser‘s recent presentation at InfodevDEC meetup in Virginia the other night noted the following: #techcomm trends/hypes, from @arh: There's no one technology that a majority of people are using. @infodevdc — John Collins (@jrc_collins) August 4, 2014 Juxtapose this tweet about Alan’s presentation with the recent WritersUA Tools Survey Continue Reading »