How do I Pick the Right Tool for Me?

So many tools to choose from! So many messages from so many vendors.  Everyone saying they are the right one! One size does not fit all and one solution is not right for everyone! How could it?! How do you find the right one for you?

You need to be able to evaluate tools from a balanced, objective point of view. In this session, Liz Fraley will share strategies, benchmarks, and questions that she’s used (and seen used) over the years, so you will have something in your back pocket to help you choose the tool that’s best for you, your company, and your situation.

The truth is, no one really knows how to go through the tool selection process. They don’t always know where the biases or holes are or what to ask to find the hidden motivations. And the first thing everyone does is post a variant of this question on a mailing list, group, or in an email: “What is the best…” That question is great for retail products, but not so great when you’re looking at complex products that have a lot of moving parts, require teams to implement and enterprise support to purchase.

People always ask, “Liz, how do I choose?” She’s helped teams choose tools for small companies, big companies, and been on selection committees at giant global enterprises. There’s no one answer that’s the right answer for everyone. It depends on staff, resources, skills, and even company culture.

NOTE: Liz doesn’t mention any products in this presentation. This is the inside scoop about how sales works, how to work with them, and what you need to know to deploy/purchase something that requires more than just you to do.

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This session was also presented live at:

  • CM Strategies 2014
  • Lavacon 2014
  • STC Sacramento 2014
  • STC Summit 2016

DITA Keys and Conkeys

In this webinar, we tackle the DITA feature keyrefs and conkeyrefs. The keyref and conkeyref mechanisms allow you to easily switch variable content.

We will show how keys and key references are referenced by DITA maps; how processing is evaluated; how to combine keys with maps for easier manageability; and how to use conkey references instead of conref to simplify reuse and manage your content.

After that, we will talk about how keys and conkeys work, how they are resolved in the processing pipeline and how levels of map can help manage variable content.

Examples will be used to demonstrate how everything works using Arbortext.

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Where Source Development Meets Documentation or, Efficiency is in the Tools

Presentation to CMS/DITA NA 2005

With only a small amount of custom tools, Juniper Networks has managed to do convert documents to multiple formats from one initial set of XML source documents and a single publishing workflow using PTC’s Arbortext Epic Editor and E3 Publishing Server. These tools have included post-processing add-ons to create .PDB and .LIT binary files and source files that are aggregated directly into the software source code for their proprietary routing platforms.

Recycling content is not a new concept. What is new here is the common back-end structure in XML form and the fact that more than one set of tools, including small, mission-critical custom tools that are explicitly focused on the specific needs of a given project. There is no longer any need for one tool to address all of the needs of every company that purchases a license. Instead we have a community of tools that is easy to expand or customize without long term lock in or breaking of the model.

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