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Top Authors and Books from My 2017 Reading Challenge

After all the books I read in 2016, I’d planned on reading more non-fiction in 2017. As it turned out, we had a busy year here at Single-Sourcing Solutions and escapist reading was the order of the day. 2017 was the year of binge-reading and my grand total read was…

Is Arbortext DITA Pure DITA? YES!

  Is Arbortext pure DITA?  Yes. Arbortext is pure DITA, pure XML. We are always surprised when we get this question because: Arbortext was the software IBM was using when they developed DITA. Arbortext is part of DITA history The first mention of public DITA support for Arbortext dates back to…

Magnets, buttons, and bookmarks

What’s your favorite giveaway? Mine is a backpack that I got at the very last Arbortext User Conference in 2005. This backpack had perfect balance and is great for bicyclists as well as pedestrians. Even though it’s 13 years old, it’s held up magnificently. I still use it. For years…

What training do I need to use Arbortext well?

Dear Liz I am starting to work with the PTC Arbortext Editor using SGML. I need to know if I can get training on the editor? What would it take to get the training to use it well? Would I need to buy the software? Please help! Wondering in Wichita…

Do you want to be a TC Dojo Master?

If you thought we didn’t pay attention to the survey results, but we have Eliot Kimber in March because someone in the TC Dojo asked for him. They asked for him to talk about keys. After 6 years, 82 sessions, and more than 1770 votes, we’ve opened up a call for TC…

Problems upgrading your Arbortext Styler stylesheets from 6.1 to 7.0?

Quite by accident, we noticed that some stylesheets can have issues when upgrading to 7.0 from 6.1. A day or so ago, Liz was working with some stylesheets that hadn’t been touched since mid 2016 when she published her books. When she opened the stylesheet in 7.0 M080, Styler crashed…

Always be learning

You can learn interesting things that apply directly to you…from a totally different discipline. Recently, I was reading a story about Board Game Designers. I may be a board game geek, but that’s not why the story was interesting. The story was more about UI/UX and things that technical writers…

Vote for TC Dojo 2018 sessions topics

I’m about to start booking the speakers for TC Dojo sessions in 2018. I have two sessions lined up, but I still have 10 to fill. January will be fun. Rather than the same old boring end-of-year trends session, we’re going to get tips on how to keep up! Personally, I’ve never been a…

Get Trained on Arbortext Styler — from someone who cares about you

We’re launching a series of online training sessions designed to facilitate better Stylesheet design using Arbortext Styler. Why? Well, if you saw my outburst on Facebook, you can probably guess the reason. Sadly, this kind of thing happens to us all the time. And the customers just keep coming and coming….

Same mess, different tools – Liz Fraley on the Content Content Podcast

b Post Summary In her interview, Liz Fraley talks in detail about the history of structured authoring and how her opinions have changed over 17 years in the technical writing industry. Last month I had the opportunity to talk with Ed Marsh of the Content Content podcast. I’ve known Ed…

UI/UX for technical communicators is the theme for TC Summer Camp 2017

I sit on the TC Camp board and am sponsoring the Structured Authoring workshop at TC Summer Camp in DC on September 9th. Every year, we ask what topic people want for the morning workshops. So far only one topic has been in the top of the voting for both…

Teaching Martians to make a sandwich–How Technical Writers can improve patient safety

There’s a well-known exercise to experienced technical writers: How do you teach a Martian to make a sandwich. It’s so well known that we talk about it as an exercise in best practices for user experience and modern instructional design. In the last few years, this exercise has become a…

Will I see you this month? It’s Conference Season 2017!

Conference season 2017 started last month and we’re on the road! In fact, I’m two conferences down with two more to go.  I love to meet people in person and hear their stories. The last couple of years I’ve started to prefer local events and have made it a point of attending…

Adepters – What is it and how do I find it?

Are you an Arbortext user? Have you heard the word Adepters and wonder what it means? Adepters is the name of the original Arbortext user mailing list which was launched in 1996. At that time there the web was still new, so this mailing list quickly became the go-to resource for Arbortext customers. Where…

Which TC Dojo level are you?

The TC Dojo is a virtual meeting place for the Technical Communications professional. Whether you are just starting out in the field or you are a well-seasoned expert, everyone can gain valuable learning at the TC Dojo. We called it the a dojo because a dojo (dōjō) is a Japanese…

Do you treat your career like a profession?

b Post Summary There’s only you to hold you accountable, to make sure you meet your business and revenue goals. You can apply the same skills business owners, consultants, and executives use to advance their business to advance your career. Do you treat your career like a profession or do…

Top 3 Things a Presenter (and Booth Staffer) Needs on the Road

It’s conference season and that means many of us who present frequently are on the road at some point in the next few months. For me, the season starts with a 9-day trip that begins at STC Spectrum and ends at STC Conduit. That’s nine days on the road and…

Review: Adobe Technical Communications Suite 2017, UI, UX, and Techcomm

Updated: 29 November 2017 Last month I wrote about an article by Linn Vizard that I saw on the Adobe Creative Cloud blog about the Evolution of Buttons in UX Design.  While I thoroughly enjoyed the article for personal reasons, I highlighted the article because UI and UX have become…

Top Authors and Books from My 2016 Reading Challenge

In 2016, I wrote 3 books and read 237. I haven’t decided whether reading that many books in one year is good or bad. There are some that I don’t really remember reading. I look at the titles or read 5-10 pages and think to myself, “it feels like I…

Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button?

Technical writers are paying more attention to UI/UX because documentation is part of the user experience. Technical writers, who explain user interface elements and design how-to documents for user tasks and procedures, know when a design choice will have repercussions. We can recognize when a design choice is similar to one we’ve encountered…

How many books did you read last year?

Late last year, I saw an article in the Atlantic that talked about the Decline of the American Book Lover. The Pew Research Center reported last week that nearly a quarter of American adults had not read a single book in the past year. As in, they hadn’t cracked a paperback, fired…

3 Things You Need In Your Family Travel Kit

b Post Summary I travel frequently for business and have perfected my pre-packed kits to make travel simple. Family travel is different. These items keep people happy, make travel easy, and, when packed into a single kit, it’s something that you can just pick it up and zip out the door. Last…

Want to see what kind of software docs engineers celebrate?

I see posts on LinkedIn all the time about training in writing API docs or how best to document software systems. Here in Silicon Valley, it’s the hottest sub-discipline in techcomm. In fact, API docs are so popular, they have an API Docs training class on the day before TC Camp in…

The Best USB Headsets for Audio and Web Conferencing

If you work remotely, chances are you spend a lot of time on the phone, on web conferences, and virtual meetings. For you to be productive, the other end of the call has to be able to hear you clearly. There can’t be much in the way of background noise. You’ve…

Subscription licenses are here to stay

Updated: May 2017 The software companies of world has decided the answer to that question is yes. I first heard about subscription licenses from Adobe back in 2013. Then Microsoft followed. For good or bad, whether we like it or not, it’s here to stay. I’ve had a crash course in subscription licensing…

12 tips from UX designers that Techcomm folks should know too

Next to API docs, UI/UX is one of the fastest growing sub-domains in technical writing. Not surprising, because documentation contributes to the user experience and explain how to use a product’s user interface.In May, I spotted an article by Robert Hoekman, Jr. that I’ve now read several times. He called it…

Released: Arbortext 102 Best Practices for Creating Arbortext Styler Stylesheets

Announcing the release of Arbortext 102: Best Practices for Creating Arbortext Styler Stylesheets. The second book in the Arbortext Monster Garage series, Arbortext 102 is the second book about Arbortext and the first book about creating and publishing with Styler. Written in DITA using Arbortext Editor and published with Arbortext Styler,…

How to find the best content management system (or any other tool)

b Post Summary In this article, I hope I can convince you to gather requirements before you buy. It’s the only way to guarantee that you find the best content management system for you. Not for someone else. FOR YOU. Whenever you’re looking to buy more than a simple retail…

What is the best for DITA authoring and publishing tool?

I see this question posted all the time – in newsgroups, in blog comments, in LinkedIn groups. Posting this kind of question will get you one of three classes of answer. And every time, the answers posted are wrong. Most answers come from vendors posting about the tools they represent. It’s what…

Do you have a mentor?

When I first started Single-Sourcing Solutions in 2005, I didn’t know anything. I thought I did, of course. When I look back from where I am today, I can honestly say I didn’t. I was lucky, though. I got connected to a group of local entrepreneurs who would get together…

Tell a good story (It’s the shape of the curve that matters)

Seems like everyone is talking about story telling. Last April, it was the theme at the STC Spectrum conference.  At STC Summit in 2015, Nancy Duarte gave the keynote based on research she did for her book, “Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences,” on the way great speechwriters use emotional trajectory…

Publish High-Quality, Print-Ready DITA in less than a day

b Post Summary Everyone says, “Publishing DITA is Hard!” But the truth is you can publish DITA content for ePub and Print output with very little work. The promise that vendors (like us) have been giving for 20 years is real today. I published Arbortext 101 in less than one day for…

Are you going to camp this summer?

Are you coming to TC Summer Camp? Have you been to TC Camp? TC Camp, the non-profit we launched last year is expanding! The board at TC Camp is taking it to the East Coast next month: It’s TC Summer Camp! TC Summer Camp is an unconference – the only…

XPath and XSLT for Everyone

Anyone working with XML content can benefit from learning XPath. XPath is the way that elements are identified and located inside an XML Document. Want to find the first title in your document? Or the fifth? Or the 2nd one that also has those 3 special notes following it? Stylesheets…

Do you feel lucky?

Last month at STC Summit, someone came by our booth and we got to talking about the TC Dojo. The TC Dojo is a webinar series we started 4 years ago. It works like this: First, we poll the community to find out what they want to learn. Then, we…

Technology that solves the top technical problems for presenters (My Presenter’s Tech Travel Kit)

b Post Summary This post details what is in my Presenter’s Tech Travel Kit. As a frequent presenter, I want to be prepared for any situation and I want it to always work. Ultimately, I’m responsible for solving any technical problems for presenters that arise because of the device I choose to travel with. It’s…

Tips for writing great documentation

I recently read a great article by Taylor Singletary who’s been writing documentation for customer facing products that almost all of us use: LinkedIn, Twitter, and Slack. If you ask him, he says he works in “developer relations.” He wrote up the list of things he does to create great, usable,…

Collaboration – Love it or Hate it?

This month I wanted to find out if you have come to love or hate collaboration in any of it’s forms.  I’m a big experimenter which often means I’m a big collaborator. In January’s TC Dojo, we had Karl Klashinsky do a session on Git, the open source software version…

Paper or ePub?

Did you know that reading on a kindle or other electronic device isn’t the same to your brain as reading on paper? Well, as it turns out: Neuroscience, in fact, has revealed that humans use different parts of the brain when reading from a piece of paper or from a…

How long do you struggle before you ‘Let It Rest’?

Here at Single-Sourcing Solutions, we often find ourselves on the leading edge of working with new features or on the back side of working with old features to wrangle them into doing what our customers need them to do today. Over the years, we’ve developed a policy. If you’re working…

Conference notes from: World IA Day 2016

Last month I went to World IA Day 2016 in Seattle. I’m based in San Francisco, which also hosted World IA Day event, but every now and again it’s good to get out of your little corner of the world and see what is going on elsewhere. I have a very…

Inclusive vs Exclusive Language and Corporate Culture

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA.gov) website recently published an article about how they customized a Slack bot to gently correct people who use the word “guys”. The GSA has a big job and a big audience and they wanted to make sure that the people writing content for that audience were aware…

Do you experiment?

Last month Tom Johnson of the I’d Rather be Writing blog interviewed me about why I started TC Camp. He wanted to know why I started something that was so obviously energy and resource intensive? It’s true that I have a lot of things going on. Single-Sourcing Solutions is 11…

Thanks to all those who joined Guru D and the Cult of DITA at Lavacon

At Lavacon last month I gave two presentations: one traditional and one…Not. We all know that I like to experiment right? TC Camp, TC Dojo, TC Mastermind groups are my most successful and well known. This time, I decided I would write up three skits and let the stories convey the lessons…

We all solve the same problems

We’ve all been in that position where we are trying to work something out and wish we had someone to bounce ideas off of. Someone who knew us, what we were going through, who had expertise that was the same as ours. Only different. Someone we could leverage in real…

DITA 1.3 available with Arbortext 7.0 release

Arbortext 7.0 includes support for DITA 1.3—no plugins or additional modules required. With the release of Arbortext 7.0, all DITA 1.x documents are supported by the Arbortext suite of products. Arbortext has had support for DITA since 2004, when it was originally being designed by IBM. Although DITA 1.3 Draft Specification…

Arbortext Styler 7.0 includes Stylesheet IDE

APP became available to anyone who wanted to do high-quality print output about midway through the 5.4 release stream. Since 6.0 we’ve been encouraging people creating new stylesheets to use APP as their main rendering engine over FOSI. It’s new technology for many of us, but it’s so powerful that…

Released: Arbortext Version 7.0

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

New Forums available to Mastermind Members

When we checked in with our TC Dojo Mastermind members, they asked us for a place where they could collaborate with each other outside the regular meetings. Until this point, we had a wiki where everyone could collaborate, but it just wasn’t meeting their needs.  So, earlier this week we stood up…

Which do you want to be? A technician or a craftsman?

We usually talk about Style in terms of content structure and layout, but this time I wanted to talk with you about our style. Specifically, our style of service. I was recently on a mentoring team call with one of our newer customers and they said something that really struck…

What happens when you skimp on documentation?

In the TC Dojo last week we found out: Your company is at risk of debilitating lawsuits that, in the worst case, can put you out of business. Joe Devney, forensic linguist, editor, non-fiction writer, and previous STC chapter chair shared stories of companies who delivered insufficient, poorly-written documentation or who failed…

The Adepters email list is ending – here’s where to go…

In 1995 Arbortext started the adepters mailing list for users and staff to communicate. It was primarily a place where staff handled issues and questions about the Arbortext Adept editor. The mailing list was called adepters: a combination of the product name “Adept” and “users.” When PTC acquired Arbortext, that…

Conference notes from: DITA Best Practices BOF lunch at CMS DITA NA 2015

Tracy Baker and I had a full table and intense discussion on the topics on the minds of the people in attendance. Real time issues and ideas for possible solutions. Topics ranged from reuse strategies to getting started to review processes to getting it all done while still doing your day job. Before…

How to Document your Stylesheets

by Karie You’re working on a big project or a book using DITA, but your boss asks you to change the style of the font at the last minute. This was something you had set months prior and you don’t remember how you did it or how to change it…

Review: Adobe TCS5 and FrameMaker 12

This summer I had a chance to sit down with FrameMaker 12, released at the end of last year. I’d been anxious to get some real time with the product after seeing Maxwell Hoffmann do the first public demo of it at TC Camp in January. In fact, several happy…

Need Help? Check out our YouTube Channels

Last week we launched three YouTube channels to make our videos more accessible and more generally available for everyone out there. Over the next few weeks we’ll be launching the iTunes channel again: Interviews with people doing interesting things with Arbortext, XML, and Content Strategy. But that’s the next project… For…

TC Camp 2014 is Next Weekend

TC Camp Exclusive: See Adobe’s TCS5 in person and maybe win a subscription! TC Camp 2014 is happening at Mission College in Santa Clara on Saturday 25 January 2014. If you’re in the bay area, this is happening right in your own backyard, why wouldn’t you attend?  If you’re within…

Released: Arbortext Version 6.0 M100

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Released: Arbortext Version 6.1

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

MadCap’s Creativity Captures Attention

Like most people, I try to keep up to date with what is going on out there in the world of software tools for Technical Communicators. We all have a million things to do in our busy day, and it’s not always easy to do, but we try to make…

TC Dojo has expanded!

Due to popular request we have added an Arbortext specific TC Dojo each month. We wanted to keep the topics covered in the Open Session varied and not specific to any particular tool set. However, we have a large enough interest in Arbortext tools that we decided to launch a second Dojo to focus on PTC’s Arbortext tool…

TC Dojo Mastermind Sessions starting Monday

At Single-Sourcing Solutions, our customers know we enjoy helping them invest in themselves and their future when they take on a new project and new technology. What struck us most these last few years is that we’d find ourselves on a call with one customer and thinking how much they…

Released: Arbortext Version 6.0 M090

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Welcome to the TC Dojo

We took what we learned from the popular Arbortext Monster Garage virtual meeting series and the overwhelming requests we received from the first annual TC Camp held in Santa Clara in January 2013 and blended them together. The result — a new twist on the typical web session. What is…

Released: Arbortext Version 6.0 M080

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Review: A Fresh Look at Adobe FrameMaker (Version 11)

I started supporting XML-oriented technical publications teams in the late 1990s. I’ve used nearly all the XML authoring tools out there, and I use several different ones on a regular basis every day for different purposes. Over the last month I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time with Adobe’s…

Released: Arbortext Version 6.0 M070

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Released: Arbortext Advanced Print Publisher (APP) Version 11 M030

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

5 Tips for keeping your content flexible

Whether you’re translating or not, some practices can make it easier for you to future-proof your content. There are five basic tips that localization experts agree on: Tip #1: Use numbers for your call-outs and have a legend table. There are two benefits to this “old school” method. If you…

How do authors find content for reuse?

Your customers can find content, but can your content creation team? DITA content explodes. How do you manage it? A lot of customers have been asking us recently about how they’re going to manage content that explodes into lots and lots of little topics and content fragments. Authors wonder if…

Announcing TC Camp

Join us in Sunnyvale, CA in January for the first annual TC Camp. The first unconference for content creators, strategists, publishers, and the people who support them.   TC Camp is an Unconference focused on Technical Communications issues, skills, challenges, and the various applications used by technical communicators.TC Camp is a vendor-neutral…

Released: Arbortext Version 6.0 M060

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Released: Arbortext Version 5.4 M150

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Try PTC eLearning Free

Updated: 2013 – the free trial is no longer available If you don’t already have a license for PTC’s eLearning library, you can try out the service for free for 30-days. We always recommend that our customers get at least one copy. It’s inexpensive, and gives you hundreds of hours…

Released: Arbortext Version 5.4 M140

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Everyone is talking content strategy, but what is it?

Content strategy differs from corporate communications strategy. Content strategy is far more than your web content or social media content or any of those things that come strictly out of the corporate marketing group. It is far more than “corporate communications.” Tactics are the actions you take to make your…

Where to get Arbortext help?

There are more and more community places where you can find help showing up all the time. Every day, it seems as though yet another place pops up: LinkedIn discussions, Stack Overflow, Quora, every vendor has their own community. There’s a lot of information out there. And a lot of…

Released: Arbortext Version 6.0 M050

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Released: Arbortext Version 6.0 M040

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Released: Arbortext Version 5.4 M120

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Released: Arbortext Advanced Print Publisher (APP) V11 M010

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Common Questions: Workflow

This week’s topic: Workflow Here are some highlights of Workflow features supported in Windchill: Arbortext Content Manager supports standard workflows as well as sophisticated capabilities for routing change information to the correct process participants. Arbortext Content Manager provides tools to support the creation of processes that are unique or dictated…

Good content strategy is like a well organized pantry

When you think about content management and content strategy, you start thinking about content components that can be assembled, disassembled, and reassembled into the many output formats and output channels your customers require. It stops being a question of simply “Content Management” but management at the component level. Those who…

Released: Arbortext Version 6.0 M030

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Podcast Posted: Interview with Barry Schaeffer

This month’s interview is with a legend in the industry: Barry Schaeffer. Anyone who’s been in the SGML/XML industry for any length of time knows Barry Schaeffer. Barry is a frequent speaker and contributor on subjects related to information and content management. His work with structured information began in 1979…

Released: Arbortext Version 6.0 M020

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

What characteristics do you need in an XML publishing system?

I took a trip through the wayback machine and found an old article that had been published on Arbortext.com. Reading through it, I found a lot of key points that are still very relevant today. No single product is for every situation, but these guidelines are generally good advice. We…

Technology, People, and Successful Projects

I was reminded recently of Rebekka Anderson’s presentation at DITA North America a couple of years ago. Her conclusions mirrored what we see every day: Technology is only 1/3 of the things that you need to consider when looking to solve and implement something like dynamic publishing or DITA successfully….

Manage your product content like you manage development

Meet compliance and regulatory challenges Medical device manufacturers are facing some very tough challenges today including demand for innovation, complying with strict environmental and regulatory requirements, and shrinking price premiums, not to mention intense competition which demands faster times-to-market. The world’s most respected medical device manufacturers are attacking these problems…

Released: Arbortext 5.4 M100

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

What’s New in Arbortext 6.0?

We’ve already posted the details to the release feed, but I want to talk about the big features coming to Editor and Styler the 6.0 release. I admit this is little bit of a tour with a focus on the improvements to DITA support. This release has a lot of changes…

Released: Arbortext 6.0 M010

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Common Questions: Automation in Arbortext

This week’s topic: Out of the box automation in Arbortext We’re purposefully scoping this subject down for this post. We’re answering questions about what automation features come OOTB in Arbortext. If we didn’t limit this discussion, we could easily write 1000+ pages. Arbortext ships a mountain of documentation and sample…

Common Questions: Source Control

This week’s topic: Source Control Source Control is a big topic. To date, the best article I’ve ever read on branching strategy was a best practices article by Perforce (circa 2003). Today, we’re not talking about that, we’re talking about all the features source control supported in Arbortext Content Manager…

Common Questions: Change Markup

This week’s topic: Change Tracking & Change Markup Change markup has historically been something that you had to implement yourself in XML publishing. Arbortext supports typical change markup behavior in the standard document types, and with a small amount of configuration for custom doctypes. All of the standard change markup…

Released: Arbortext Print Publisher Version 10 M090

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Common Questions: Bursting

This week’s topic: Bursting We start talking about something we call “bursting” when we get questions like the following: Can a writer or translator work just on paragraph chunks while an editor can see entire sections? This question is nearly always followed by this question: Can this level of granularity be…

Released: Arbortext 6.0

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Looking to upgrade your Arbortext install?

When you’re looking to upgrade your Arbortext install from one release to another, you want to get all the information you can about the differences between your version and a random other version. And you want to do a test deployment before rolling it out to everyone in your organization….

Common Questions: Arbortext Content Manager (Windchill)

This week’s topic: Arbortext Content Manager Today, we’re answering some of the more common and general questions about Arbortext Content Manager (ACM). When it comes to DITA, the need for component content management comes sooner rather than later. It’s very easy to get hundreds and thousands of topics very quickly….

Common Questions: XML and Standards Support

This week’s topic: XML and Standards support in Arbortext With the most recent release of Arbortext there’s a lot to talk about with respect to standards and XML technology support in Arbortext. Arbortext has been part of the W3C since the early 1990s and still maintains seats on nearly XML-related…

What is the DITA Resource Manager?

by Karie Arbortext Editor has direct, built-in access to Arbortext Content Manager (Windchill) through the Object Browser and the Resource Manager. The Resource Manager makes reusing content objects more efficient for DITA writers. The Resource Manager is a dockable window that acts as a central location for finding data to be…

Common Questions: Language Support in Arbortext

This week’s topic: Language support in Arbortext XML publishing systems makes translation less expensive all-around. The biggest cost of translating content produced in traditional tools is the DTP that must be done on the content once it’s been translated. Some languages switch orientation (R to L rather than L to…

Released: Arbortext 5.3 M220

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

How do I reuse content stored in Windchill?

by Karie One of the many advantages of storing content in XML is the ability to reuse it. The best way to ensure proper reuse is to store XML content in a component content management system like Arbortext Content Manager (aka Windchill).Arbortext Content Manager is completely integrated with Arbortext Editor…

Connecting Experts to Get Products to Market Faster

Updated 2/3/11: SocialLink is only available in the full Arbortext PDMLink (Windchill) For many companies, the product development process now crosses organizational and national boundaries, making it more difficult than ever for team members to interact. Arbortext PDMLink (Windchill) SocialLink meets these challenges by combining social computing with rich product content from…

Licensing changes coming to Arbortext 6.0

Arbortext 6.0 and Arbortext Advanced Print Publisher 10.0 are coming soon. With this release, comes a big change to how licensing is managed in the Arbortext product line. Arbortext licensing will be changing to FlexLM. This is the same licensing model that the other PTC products use. When you upgrade, you’ll need…

Can I use Arbortext with the DITA OT?

We get a lot of questions about whether you can use Arbortext with the Open Toolkit. The answer is, “Yes, of course,” but any further details are difficult unless you know what the questioner means by that. “Arbortext” is a portfolio of products that includes an editor, multiple publishing engines…

Arbortext Content Manager Patch (SUP3) Available

PTC has addressed several newly identified security vulnerabilities for supported versions of Arbortext Content Manger (aka Windchill).  These vulnerabilities affect all current maintenance releases of all Windchill Solution Products including: Arbortext PDMLink Windchill ProjectLink Pro/INTRALINK FlexPLM Arbortext Content Manager Best practices say to always install security patches promptly. For details,…

Arbortext 6.0 release is right around the corner

With the 6.0 release of Arbortext coming up very soon, we’ve been seeing a lot of questions about features, changes, and upgrading best practices. We thought we’d gather up all the prevailing advice and remind everyone about keeping up with releases and how to get through an upgrade with as…

Common Questions: Customization

This week’s topic: Customization Last year we discovered that something we think everyone knows about Arbortext is almost totally unknown. It was a weird thing to discover because, for most of us, this “thing” was a major influencer in our decision to become Arbortext customers in the first place. I’m…

Get Dirty in the Arbortext Monster Garage

Inspired by the popular “Monster Garage” television show on the Discovery Channel, today we’re launching a new webinar series: “Arbortext Monster Garage.” On the TV show, a team of people with mechanical, fabricating, or modifying expertise gathers together to modify a vehicle into a “monster machine.”  In our new webinar series,…

Released: Arbortext 5.4 M080

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Released: Arbortext Advanced Print Publisher (APP) V10 M080

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Common Questions: BOMs

This week’s topic: BOMs As organizations start to see returns from XML implementations in technical publications, training, and support, they start to see how it can benefit even more departments across the organizations. One of the places that organizations look at first is to BOMs. BOM documents are highly structured….

Common Questions: Reviewing XML Content

This week’s topic: Reviewing XML Content in Arbortext The question of reviewing content is a complex one. Every year, at the annual PTC user conference, this topic gets discussion. No one agrees on how the review process should work or what should be captured or even who’s responsible for what….

What is the best way to learn Arbortext?

This was a question on LinkedIn. When it comes to learning, there are a lot of options. You’ll want to choose the way that you learn best in order for the training to be most effective for you. Get the books The Arbortext Monster Garage book series is for anyone…

Gilbane Boston 2010: Content assets permeate every aspect of an organization

We’re headed to Boston, MA for the Gilbane Conference tomorrow. We’re looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. After more than a decade in the industry, we’re looking forward to sharing stories, lessons learned, and thoughts about content strategy, management, and delivery! We’ve got two presentations. One’s a…

How much does Arbortext cost?

by Dave There’s a lot of confusion, bad information, old information about Arbortext floating around out there. There’s an assumption that Arbortext is only for the Fortune 100 and that it’s completely out of reach for small to medium businesses. In reality, the assumption is that Arbortext is too expensive…

Common Questions: Arbortext Editor

This week’s topic: Arbortext Editor Something that a lot of people don’t realize, but that Arbortext customers cherish, is that every part of the Arbortext Editor UIr—everything you can do in the Editor—is reachable through the extensive, well-documented, API. After the huge success of last month’s webinar, we’ve decided that we’re going…

Given enough time and resources, Sharepoint can make anything happen

Recently I was preparing my talk for the Gilbane Boston conference coming up in December. I’m presenting along-side two people I respect a lot: Barry Schaeffer and Doug Gorman. I’ve known Barry for years and years. He’s the former President of X-Systems, a company that was an Arbortext partner from…

Common Questions: Publishing

This week’s topic: Publishing! When it comes to “publishing content” in Arbortext, you’re talking about a big subject. There’s Arbortext Publishing Engine (PE), which produces multi-channel output.  There’s Arbortext Digital Media Publisher (DMP), a component of Publishing Engine which enables you to distribute content on multiple types of digital media and to web applications. There’s Arbortext Advanced…

Released: Arbortext 5.3 M210 (and more)

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Is your business OK with OTK?

I love DIY projects! I find them truly irresistible. I relish each and every facet of them. From concept to completion, there is nothing I don’t enjoy. For me, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing something I created being brought to fruition. Perhaps it is the influence from my…

Learning: The never ending path of inspiration

I love talking to people, finding out what they’ve done, and why they made the choices they did. For me it comes as second nature to always inquire. When I was first starting out in the field of information architecture I attended lots of conferences. I always find them to…

There is no I in Team

No doubt you have heard all the clichéd phrases; “There is no I in Team”, “There is safety in numbers”, “One is the loneliest number”, “No man is an island”, “Life is not lived in a vacuum”, etc….. Ever stop to think of why these phrases came about? As with…

Released: Arbortext Advanced Print Publisher 9.1 M180

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Common Questions: Data Merge

This week’s topic: Data Merge Data Merge is an interesting way to jump start your documents.  It’s also a great way to keep your content accurate and up-to-date while reducing the amount of work that you need to do to maintain it both short- and long-term. Our sales team loves…

How to solve your data merge challenges

By Dave Have you ever had a need to copy information from a database report, spreadsheet or any other source into a document such as a price list or specification document only to find that once you copied the information the source of your content changed? Or even worse, you…

How can I learn Arbortext Editor?

If you’re new and looking for some tutorials and ways to get better using the tool, try the Tutorial in the Help Center! The Help center is the application containing all the documentation. The Help Center comes standard with Arbortext Editor (starting with 5.4 F000).  You can launch the Help…

Call for Presentations PTC User Conference 2011

It’s that time again! In fact, earlier than last year… The call for presentations is out for PlanetPTC Live. That means it’s time for us to encourage everyone to submit good presentations and to encourage user attendance at the conference. Here’s some words of encouragement from a long-time Arbortext Community…

Released: Arbortext 5.4 M070

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Released: Arbortext Advanced Print Publisher Version 10 M070

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Conference notes from: Lavacon 2010

This morning we presented on “Discovering the Hidden Treasure in your Product Information” at Lavacon 2010. It’s still in progress as this post is being written. It’s been an interesting conference thus far. This is the first time we’ve attended Lavacon, so we weren’t really sure what to expect. Lavacon is…

Improve your documentation process and achieve 46% higher product revenues

Best-in-class companies achieve 46% higher product revenues by improving information delivery. Over the last several years, now that all the pieces needed for dynamic information product delivery are under one roof, PTC has been working on an application that erases the boundaries between the mix-and-match components that have traditionally made…

Windchill Security Vulnerability Identified–Customers encouraged to install patch

An email went out to all Windchill customers alerting them to install a security patch from PTC.  A copy of the email that went out to customers as well as additional details on this issue can be found below. Customer Announcement September 23, 2010 PTC has identified a security issue…

What’s all the DITA buzz about?

You’re in a staff meeting and the documentation manager is giving a report of the advances his team has achieved using a new technology. He mentions that the team has gone through a lot of effort and pain to implement something called the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA). He talks…

New System Requirements for Arbortext S1000D 4.4

As a result of new third-party provider requirements, the following versions of the Microsoft product range will no longer be supported after the release of the Arbortext Aerospace & Defense 4.4, scheduled for release in calendar Q4 2010: Client Operating System: Windows 2000 Browser Platform: Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) The…

Podcast Posted: Interview with Bob Thomas, Tagsmiths

This month’s interview on the PubWright podcast is Bob Thomas, from Tagsmiths. Bob started in SGML/XML in the mid-to-early 90s at Lucent. He transformed from a technical writer to data modeler, DTD writer, legacy data conversion specialist, and stylesheet developer. He discusses with us a bit of his history, gives…

DITA is Hard

There’s a trope that says, if you want to do good content delivery, you have to advocate for methodology, not tools. (This is often said in despair by someone dealing with a team of writers determined to find a way to use FrameMaker to make pizza crust.) To that end,…

Common Questions: File Format Support

This week’s topic: File Formats Questions about file formats range from what any particular product supports (editing, illustration, publishing, cms) to what formats can be converted by the Arbortext tools. Today, we’re talking about both of these and where each falls into the bigger picture. Question: Supported formats in CMS…

Common Questions About Arbortext

Arbortext is not simply an XML editor, illustration tool, or component content management system. It’s a big-picture solution that includes all the pieces required for creation, management, and publishing of enterprise content. In fact, Arbortext is the only out-of-the-box, end-to-end solution. We have all heard horror stories from publication groups…

How to find the PTC Product Calendar

Last updated: September 2017 Please Note: The PTC website changes frequently and the specifics of this article may not be completely representative at any given time. That said, the Product Calendar is always on the Support Site and available to customers. You may need to adjust the steps a bit…

Released: Arbortext 5.3 M200

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Podcast posted: Interview with Todd Nowlan, “Benefits of XML and single-sourcing”

When we were getting ready for the CMS DITA/NA 2010, we reached out to long-time Arbortext customers to find out where they were now, what they did originally, and how they got from point A to point B. Just what did it take to make a successful single-sourcing implementation happen….

Want to keep track of the latest release?

Over the years, we’ve had questions from customers asking about the latest release. What’s in it? Should they upgrade? Was my bug fixed? Is the enhancement I requested in there? It can be hard to convince yourself to read the release notes. After all, it’s locked in a PDF. You…

How to find out whether a version of Arbortext is supported on a particular OS version

This is the one of the most-asked questions on the PTC forums. If you want to know whether any particular version of Arbortext is supported on any particular version of Windows, check the Software Compatibility Matrix. How to Find the Software Compatibility Matrix Here’s how to find this document and…

How to turn off Arbortext Processing Instructions

This is the second-most asked question. It’s one of the most common questions we get. It’s so common, there’s a post about it on the Arbortext Code Archive. Problem On save, Arbortext Editor adds processing instructions, like <?Pub  Caret?>. How do I remove processing instructions (PIs) ? Solution Turning off the…

Released: Arbortext 5.4 M060

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Released: Arbortext Advanced Print Publisher Version 10 M060

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Released: Arbortext S1000D version 4.3 M050

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Adepters Code Archive Expands to Include IsoDraw Macro Code Contributions

Today, the Adepters Code Archive expanded to include IsoDraw code for the first time. Thanks to Trevor Hendricks from Kohler, last month’s speaker for the Arbortext PTC/User Group.  Trevor Hendricks is the master of all things IsoDraw at Kohler — and everywhere else. Everyone in the IsoDraw community looks to…

Conference notes from: PTC User 2010 – Arbortext Edition

Every year, the PTC/User Conference improves for Arbortext users. This was the first year we had to turn presenters away. It was also the first year we didn’t have to extend the submission deadline because there were so many great presentation submitted. All Software is designed with particular usage in…

Released: Arbortext 5.3 M190

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Podcast posted: Regina Roman, FrameMaker expert turned XML fan

In this podcast, I interview Regina Roman.  No matter how long you know someone or who you think they are, you always learn something new about them. Regina is a 20-year FrameMaker veteran, but her experience as a technical writer goes even farther back. A year or so ago, she did her…

Released: Arbortext Advanced Print Publisher 9.1 M170

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Conference notes from: PTC User 2010 – The Paradigm is Shifting

by Eric From attending the recent PTC User Conference, it appears we are in the midst of a paradigm shift and it will be every bit as significant as the move from desktop publishing to structured content management: From book publishing to dynamic content delivery.  Think about where we have…

Conference notes from: PTC User 2010

by Dave While at the PTC/User World event this year, I had the opportunity to attend a few sessions. There were 4 in particular that I wanted to talk about:  Arbortext Roadmap and Strategy, Product Information Delivery System, Virtual Parts Catalog, and PTC University use of Arbortext. You can see…

Released: Arbortext 5.4 M050

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Released: Arbortext Advanced Print Publisher Version 10 M050

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Arbortext IsoDraw and Windows 7

As of the M030 release, IsoDraw 7.1 is fully supported on Windows 7. There are no issues revising IsoDraw illustrations created in any of the earlier versions using IsoDraw 7.1. You can also save backward if required; however, we always recommend saving in the current version. If you’ve got active…

Conference notes from: Content Management Strategies/DITA North America 2010

For the last decade I have made a regular habit to speak at or at least attend the CMS conference. I think I only missed one year. It gives me an interesting perspective because I can see trends over time, changes in presentation themes, popularity of topics, and the changing…

Podcast Posted: Interview with Michael Hahn, XML and SGML expert

Michael Hahn is the principal at Alphabetical by Author. He has almost twenty years’ experience with markup language (SGML and XML) development and implementation. He has managed analysis session meetings and prepared reports for a wide variety of information types for manufacturers, scientific and professional organizations, commercial publishers, defense contractors,…

PTC Arbortext Educational Webcast: PTC University eLearning Library

When people buy Arbortext, we always recommend getting at least one license to the Arbortext eLearning library. It’s considered a software license, so you can get one at any time. The eLearning library is a huge library of video content and training materials for all of the products in the…

Released: Arbortext 5.3 M180

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Released: Windchill 9.1 M050

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Advisory Line Can Get You Through a Tough Spot

Today we’re excited to announce the launch of the Single-Sourcing Solutions Advisory Line. The Advisory Line is designed to help resolve issues for customers who are facing tight time lines or who may have limited resources. We wanted to provide our customers with a scalable solution that would fit their…

Podcast Posted: Simon Taylor, Requirements for Advanced Layout from XML Content

Since Arbortext Advanced Print Publisher (APP) was released as an alternative print composition engine in Arbortext 5.4 (June 2009), we’ve been digging into what it can do and why someone would really need it. In this week’s podcast, we interviewed Simon Taylor from PTC. Simon spends his time “thinking about…

Wondering whether single sourcing really works?

Next week I’ll be speaking at the DITA North America/Content Management Strategies conference happening in Santa Clara, CA. It’s been small the last couple of years, but all conferences have been down in overall attendance. I’ve presented at this conference many times.  For me, it has always been a conference not to…

Released: Arbortext 5.4 M040

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Released: Arbortext Advanced Print Publisher Version 10 M040

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Grow your skills: Arbortext and DITA

In a tough market, you need to stay ahead the pack. The best way to do that is to make sure your skills are in demand. One of the highest demanded skills in the publications arena is Arbortext. We are offering this one day session for you to learn what it…

Show Me the Demo!

That’s the cry of the aspiring information architect. Unfortunately, success isn’t about the technology A techpubs department is a techpubs department and one is not so unlike another. At a certain level that’s true, but the devil’s in the details as we all know. I’ve found, over the years, after…

Podcast Posted: Interview with Kevin Dietz, Timpani Software

This week’s podcast features Kevin Dietz from Timpani Software. Timpani Software develops BuildBeat, a comprehensive automated software build management system, and MergeMagician, an automated merging server designed to work with your existing software configuration management (SCM) system. He uses DocBook and XML to automate his publishing. In the interview, Kevin…

How to Create a Button in Arbortext Digital Media Publisher

Here’s a snippet from the PTC Express newsletter. You never know how well something will get saved and archived, so we’ve reproduced it here. Generally, we post code to the Adepters Code Archive. However, this article went out from the PTC Express news letter and it’s getting some attention in…

Documentation, Medical Devices, and the FDA

This month the implementation date for MDD directive (2007/47/EC) comes due. There are a number of issues that require action by manufacturers (changes to the Essential Requirements, clearer requirements for clinical evaluation, changes to the QA of third parties) and the Notified Bodies ( higher requirements for auditing Technical Files)….

Released: Arbortext Advanced Print Publisher Version 9.1 M160

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Dynamic product information delivery systems reduce translation costs

Recently, I was privileged to talk with a customer that implemented Arbortext in 1999: Greg Johnson at Medtronic. Greg heads up what his executives have told him is “the most successful project Medtronic had ever done.”  In this interview, Greg talks about how dynamic information delivery systems can really drive…

Podcast posted: Interview with Chris Western, tformat

This week I interviewed Chris Western from tformat, a PTC partner focused on training and services for the Arbortext Advanced Print Publisher (APP) (formerly known as 3B2). Chris was hired at Advent, the original developers of 3B2 as a writer to document the product and it’s usage. In his tenure,…

Arbortext bootcamp coming up

In a tough market, you need to stay ahead the pack. The best way to do that is to make sure your skills are in demand. One of the highest demanded skills in the publications industry is Arbortext. No one who has Arbortext skills has been out of work in…

Green Your Product Information

Greening your product? What about your product information? We see it all the time and I’m sure you do as well. Companies are on the move with initiatives to “green” their operations and their products. It’s not just the big fortune 500 companies either, the push for green is being driven—and…

PTC Announces Discontinued Linux/Solaris Support

PTC will discontinue Arbortext Publishing Engine support on the Linux and Solaris operating systems with the release of Arbortext 6.­0. As of the 6.0 release, PTC is planning to support the Windows platform only. Description Having reviewed customer product downloads and technical support submissions over the past four years, PTC…

Podcast posted: Interview with Chris Makler, Aplia

This week’s podcast features Chris Makler from Aplia. Aplia is part of Cengage Learning. Chris works on a team that has built an interesting application on top of Arbortext Editor. They’re using a lot of different technology to create an educational application for teaching economics. Customization is a tricky subject….

It’s just like riding a bike

Recently I have been having several conversations with people about the importance of training and with the Winter Olympics going on right now, this seemed like the perfect time for this post. Remember the first time you rode a bike? The first time you get on a bike, you’re not…

Released: Arbortext 5.4 M30

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Released: Arbortext Advanced Print Publisher Version 10 M30

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Podcast posted: Interview with Todd Hicks, Wolters Kluwer

This week I interviewed Todd Hicks from Wolters Kluwer.  I’ve been looking forward to this podcast for a long time. Todd Hicks has been an Arbortext community member for a long time. Todd has presented at Arbortext User Group and at PTC/User conferences. He started out supporting a division of…

Will you join us in community service?

Just before the holidays, I saw the following in Forbes: Recent research conducted by Washington, D.C.-based Corporation for National & Community Service reveals that charitable work literally makes the heart grow stronger. Individuals with coronary artery disease who participate in volunteer activities after suffering a heart attack report a reduction…

Benefits of dynamic product information delivery for life sciences

I was fortunate enough to reconnect to an old friend. I reached out to Greg Johnson from Medtronic and had an amazing conversation about their dynamic information delivery system and the benefits it has to Medical Devices and Life Sciences companies. Over the years, Medtronic has increased their investment in their…

Podcast Posted: Interview with Robin Sloan, PTC

DITA may have begun with IBM, but it is now controlled by Oasis. PTC/Arbortext was the only vendor invited to be a charter member of the Oasis DITA Technical Committee. IBM was using Arbortext when they developed DITA, in fact. PTC has a fully-functional, enterprise-level DITA solution: Arbortext Editor, Publishing Engine, and…

Last Chance: Have you submitted an abstract for PTCUser 2010?

There’s still some time to get your presentation ideas in. The conference has improved year-over-year since AUGI became PTC/User due in large part to the folks who present and participate. Every year has been better than the last. More people submitted presentations than the year before which was more than…

Podcast Posted: Interview with Keith McGinnis, Review Publishing

This week’s podcast is an interview with Keith McGinnis. About a year ago, I did some stylesheet work for Keith McGinnis at Review Publishing. Review Publishing produces a weekly free newspaper and online news media portal. They were on their way to supporting all five of their local weekly papers…

SharePoint vs Content Management

We’ve had a lot of questions lately about whether SharePoint constitutes content management for technical publications and dynamic information delivery. There was also a paper published by the Aberdeen Group about Securing Unstructured Data that made the point, none too gently: Companies face a significant challenge with respect to safeguarding…

Podcast Posted: Interview with Berry Braster, TedoPress

This week’s podcast is an interview with Berry Braster from Tedopres. If you’ve been a part of the Arbortext community for any length of time, you’ve seen Berry and you know about The Book. When I say “The Book” and “Tedopress” in the same breath, everyone knows which book I…

Podcast Posted: Interview with Gareth Oakes, GPSL

Early in 2005, Arbortext acquired Advent, the makers of 3B2 publishing software. That year at the annual AUGI conference, the greater Arbortext community got their first look at the capabilities that 3B2 brought to the publishing table. For the most part, we were stunned. A lot of the things we’d…

LinkedIn, Vendors, and Open Source

This week, I participated in a stimulating and lively discussion on LinkedIn.  Here’s the question that was asked: What’s the best toolkit or set of tools for use by a team of content creators to automate the process of getting content from differing sources and file types (text docs, media, graphics)…

Podcast Posted: Interview with Suzanne Napoleon

This morning we posted an interview with Suzanne Napoleon. Suzanne is perhaps the best known FOSI expert in the Arbortext community. If you ask around, it would be hard to find someone who hasn’t something from her. She has been the voice of FOSI for at least 15 years on the…

Videos from Arbortext User Meetings posted

The Arbortext User Group meetings have been going very well. Attendees have strong interactions with the presenters because attendance tends to be small. Saturday morning meetings facilitate better interaction. Only those who are actively engaged in the topic attend and speakers tend to speak more freely and engage everyone more…

Podcast Posted: Interview with Rajal Shah, Juniper Networks

This month’s podcast guest is Rajal Shah from Juniper Networks. Rajal Shah is the Director of Document Engineering in the Foundation Technologies group at Juniper Networks. FT is the corporate R&D Group at Juniper Networks. His group is responsible for vision of a unified documentation and publishing approach across all…

PTC forms new Arbortext business unit

Update: November 2017 More changes at PTC. Over the last year, the Arbortext product line got absorbed into Servigistics and then moved again into the Windchill product line and business unit. Despite all the changes the last couple of years, some familiar names remain in charge of the products: Pushpinder…

Podcast Posted: Interview with Doug Wade

This month we’re launching our PubWright Podcast: Voices from the Arbortext Community. Our first guest is Doug Wade. Doug is a Software Engineer employed by a large aerospace company in Southern California. He has been working with Structured Content for over 10 years. Doug has been involved in Arbortext projects and Technical Writing…

Collaboration is Key to Success

Last month, BusinessWeek published an article, “Mega Mergers Can’t Cure the Pharmaceutical Industry,” about how the Pharmaceutical Industry has been changing their strategy from a strictly competitive one to a more collaborative one because they can keep costs down by collaborating with each other and producing tangible for themselves and their…

Why life sciences companies should move out of traditional publishing tools

I answered a question recently: What IF you were CEO of a (i) big pharma, (ii) medical device and (iii) health service organization (hospital, HMO, etc.)? What changes would you have made and why? There is no question lots of companies in the pharma., medical device and health service (hospital,…

What do you do with an English degree?

Recently my alumni association asked me the following question: One of the most frequent questions we get from students in the English Department is, “So, once I get my degree in English, then what do I do?”  We hear if from panicked seniors facing down their last semester at college,…

Ken Holman in Northern CA

Update 2017 Ken’s class, “Practical Transformation Using XSLT and XPath,” is now on Udemy and the entire course is available for less than $50. I’ve been a fan of his and part of his overflow network for a very long time. We believe XSLT and XPath are for everyone. If…

Conference notes from: PTC User 2009 – Pictures

This year the photographer got a lot of good pictures of the annual Arbortext Wii Party.  Like last year, the Arbortext Wii party was a big hit. This year, doubles Wii tennis was the main attraction. Ellen Headrick (Jeppeson) and James Sulak (Jones McClure) won enough matches that were challenged…

Released: Arbortext 5.4

Here’s a short summary of SPRs and enhancements added to the product release. Many SPRs and enhancements are part of the release. We highly recommend you log in to the support site and read the release notes. If you have an active maintenance contract you can download the new version…

Conference notes from: PTC User 2009 – Arbortext Edition

For the first year since Arbortext was acquired by PTC and AUGI became PTC/User, we had so many presentations submitted that we had to turn several presentations away or schedule them as possible alternates should something happen to one of the selected presenters on their way to the conference.  In…

Conference notes from: PTC User 2009 – Innovation and Management

The annual PTC/User conference always has a Management track. Typically, they send out a questionnaire to the attendees in advance of the show, to gather enough information to assure that the sessions are relevant and valuable. This year, the questions were interesting enough that I wanted to share them—and our…

Growing Arbortext craftsmen

Update (2012) PTC and PTC/User have made many changes in structure and ownership of the annual conference. The Arbortext User Group we started remains. All the videos they could recover from their meetings have now been posted to a YouTube channel. Their website remains, and they’ve added a WordPress blog…

Podcast of Content Management Strategies Presentation

Thursday, 18 September 2008, I was at the Intermountain Chapter of the STC. I spoke about “Repurposing Content for Multichannel Publishing”, the presentation I gave at the Content Management Strategies conference earlier this year. Tom Johnson, one of the members, kindly taped and posted a podcast of the presentation. Accompanying…

Go single vendor or go toolbox? (build vs buy)

Summary: Do you build or buy? What’s the true cost of integrating different product from different vendors? What are the ramifications for integration and process flow? And how do you make that determination?   Recently I’ve had the opportunity to think about my first single-sourcing project and the way we…

Resources for Single-Sourcing Projects

Update: 2016 Since this list was put together, we’ve published several books about Arbortext that are available on Amazon in print and ePub. The books cover everything about configuring, authoring, styling, publishing, and managing content in Arbortext. Arbortext 101 (Configuration) Arbortext 102 (Stylesheets) Resources for anyone getting started with a…

Starting an Arbortext User Group

We’re doing our best to restart the Arbortext User group. We are preparing to launch this organization in coordination with the national PTC/User organization. When Arbortext was acquired by PTC, a lot of things changed for existing Arbortext customers. We were used to speaking directly with Project Management and with Developers…

Keep the Control in Your Hands

Although I’m writing about S1000D, the same philosophy applies for transferring DITA, Docbook, and XSL/XSL-FO knowledge to your staff. Our goal is to provide expertise to help customers grow to proficiency. We find that companies rarely need an expert on-staff. Expertise is expensive, especially when used for tasks that go…

Helping Arbortext Customers Get Started

Regardless of your choice of doctype, we know that writers and publishers need the right tools to be successful. We help people learn to take charge of their xml publishing projects. After the acquisition of Arbortext by PTC, we saw an steady increase of new customers having problems implementing Arbortext…

The Single-Sourcing Triangle

Single sourcing is a simple idea that requires a very complex implementation. Single sourcing is a methodology, not a technology. XML is a technology, not a methodology. Bringing the two together is not obvious or well-defined. Traditionally, the literature is full of information about single sourcing from a theoretical perspective. For…

Application-specific XML tools development

Did you know you can auto-generate content in more than one direction? You can auto-generate content… …FOR Documentation Documentation for technical manuals can be generated directly from the product source code or other engineering systems. Technical requirements and product specifications can be found in source control repositories in varying formats….

Revision management for content components

Where Source Development Meets Documentation In traditional publishing environments, source control is minimal if it exists at all, and often follows the lock-modify-unlock model that prevents simultaneous, collaborative, content authoring. Single-sourcing environments require content management (source control) to manage the reusable content stored in topology-specific libraries (including images). Independent Change Tracking…

Full-Gamut Single-Sourcing

You can sit back and relax, we’re here to help. Single sourcing is a simple idea that requires a very complex implementation. By leveraging XML technologies and single-sourcing methodologies, our experts have deep experience developing the systems necessary to support every member of your technical publications team. Source, Architecture, Help,…

Content Reuse Guidelines and Thresholds

A truly excellent post on content reuse guidelines and thresholds was posted today to the stc-single-sourcing mailing list. Julie Kumasaka asked: “Does anyone use a guideline or has anyone come across a guideline recommending what percentage (or some other measure) of text from two sources should be the same to…

PTC Technical Committee Meetings 2007

Update: 2017 The technical committees for all PTC products except Arbortext are still being run by PTC/User. Arbortext products meetings are by invite-only. Technical Committee Meeting Roundup: January 2007 I recently joined the Technical Committee for the PTC Arbortext product line. The technical committee is a customer-focused mini-conference where the attendees…

How to Evaluate a Vendor

Unless you’ve done a full discovery process, generic vendor-provided survey/ROI reports are fairly meaningless. One of the ways that I’ve found to really learn about a product is to try to get enough funding to take one of the vendor’s low-level training classes. It’s a lot cheaper than buying a…

Avoiding Vendor Lock-in

The goal of object-oriented tool development is to avoid vendor lock-in. Lock-in is not determined by the cost of the application but by the method of its implementation. The level of integrated customization determines the level of vendor lock-in. One-of-a-kind software (fully custom or “one-off” software) is necessary when no…

Tight-vs-Loose Integration

Updated: 2017 I started working with XML and single-sourcing systems in 1999. Although both SGML and XML had been around a long time, vendors were still figuring out a lot about how the overall process should work because every implementation was different: DocBook did both too much and too little…

Single-Sourcing is a Software Project (not a Documentation Project)

But only if you do it wrong. If you decide to build software, understanding the staffing requirements is essential. It is your responsibility to create a production quality single-sourcing system because you’re putting it into a mission-critical path at your company. Staffing skill requirements depend on two things: understanding the…

Efficiency is in the Tools

I started off doing mostly XML and XSL development but have started working more in the advisory space—helping companies figure out what they want to do and what they can do. Believe it or not, I often find myself trying to explain to people why they should not pursue a…

Who We Are and What We Do

Our customers want to do it themselves but they don’t want to do it alone. At Single-Sourcing Solutions, Inc., we teach customers to do what we do. We focus on acting as mentors or as part-time resources to assist implementers while they’re getting started. We help in-house teams learn to…