Archives

What should be in a Year-End Review?

The end of the year is a time for us all to look ourselves over critically in the mirror and review our performance:“In December, I want to look back at the year and answer two questions:1. how did we do? and2. what do we want to do better next year?”~…

Top Books for Children and New Parents

My niece is having a baby and as I realized that I have a list of carefully curated books that I give to new parents. The last couple of years I’ve written about my reading lists, and I write a lot about requirements. When I looked at my curated list…

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. What does it mean to be “pure DITA”? DITA is an architecture and a method for writing, not a…

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, we do. In fact, we have Eliot Kimber in March because someone in the TC Dojo asked for him. To be specific, they asked for him to talk about keys.After 6 years, 82 sessions, and more than 1770 votes, we’ve…

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 Session Topics

Periodically, throughout the year, I look at the TC Dojo survey to see what topics and speakers are most in demand by techcomm professionals. Those topics are used to decide upcoming TC Dojo sessions. In 2018, soft-skills started appearing somewhere in the top 5 most requested topics. This is great…

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…

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…

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

Updated: 2018-07 – I found an even better booth bag. 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…

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…

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

Update: October 2018 My Plantronics headset died last week and the Logitech stopped charging. I went to get another, but I can’t even find the Plantronics anymore.  Looks like I will have to find replacements. In a pinch, while I was headsetless, I tried using the Blue Yeti for calls,…

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…

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…

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 Kit)

b Post Summary Updated: 2018-07 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…

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…

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…

Liz Fraley on Single Sourcing on the 10-Minute Tech Comm Podcast

Summary: Liz Fraley of single-sourcing.com talks about how companies can successfully make the shift to single sourcing on the 10 Minute Tech Comm podcast When you’re first approaching single sourcing project and designing your information architecture, it can be daunting just to get started. In this podcast, I talk about…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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….

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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….

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…

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…

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

For the last decade I have made a regular habit of speaking at or attending the DITA NA/CMS conference. This is one conference that provides the opportunity for perspective. As you attend, year over year, you start to see trends over time, changes in presentation themes, popularity of topics, and…

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,…

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…

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…

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,…

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….

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…