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Podcast: XSL, Flash, and Live Blogging -- Interview with Sarah O'Keefe

by Tom Johnson on May 17, 2008 •
categories: bloggingpodcasts

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Duration: 15 min.

In this podcast, Sarah O'Keefe talks about XSL, Flash, and live blogging. XSL (extensible stylesheet language) is a programming language that transforms XML content into a specific format, such as HTML. She explains what you can do with XSL, why it's unique, and how the output is created.

Sarah also presented on Flash. Flash comes easier for people who are visual thinkers, she says. She recommends people learn Adobe Illustrator first, because many of the concepts transfer to Flash. Flash is basically Illustrator with a timeline -- a collection of images that combine to form a motion. Flash can be good for animating conceptual topics you're trying to clarify.

Sarah recently used Flash in a white paper she wrote titled "Friend of Foe: Web 2.0 in Technical Communication." She embedded Flash videos in the PDF to illustrate concepts and engage readers (although some readers didn't realize they were supposed to click the Play button).

Finally, Sarah talks about live blogging -- the process of posting notes and writeups in almost real time from sessions you attend. Why live blog? She says it's fun, keeps your attention, and helps you focus on the main point of the presentation.

She also relates some unexpected experiences of presenters who read her live blogs and confronted her about some of her observations.

Sara's blog is at Palimpsest: http://scriptorium.com/palimpsest/. Her company is called Scriptorium.

Here are a few of Sarah's latest posts from Doc Train:

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer based in the San Francisco Bay area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.

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