Traditionally, stylized DITA output has been clunky and code-editor driven. But it doesn’t have to be that way. See how one tool is taking features from other user experiences and bringing them in to a world that has been neglected.

You can create styling libraries like you create content libraries. Change it once and change it everywhere. Design faster. Implement faster. Save yourself time and bring value to your company.

In this TC Dojo, get a look at Styler and learn how you can make appealing DITA output in minutes.

Dojo Master

Liz Fraley, Single-Sourcing Solutions, is a serial entrepreneur. She’s founded two companies, sits on the boards of three non-profits, and is constantly coming up with new ways to share knowledge in the technical communications and content industries. She has worked in high-tech and government sectors, at companies of all different sizes (from startups to huge enterprises). She advocates approaches that directly improve organizational efficiency, productivity, and interoperability. If you ask her, she’ll say she’s happiest when those around her are successful.

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Recorded: 10 September 2018

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Questions and Feedback

These questions and comments were received during the webinar:

  • Q: Can Styler do 2 page layout as shown in the Tschichold examples?
    • A: First, it’s up to us, as page designers, to figure out the layout – of the single page and the page spread. Second, yes, APP can handle page-spread layouts. In Styler, it’s done through an attached APP template – because you want to control how the content splits and that’s highly unique and requires the more complex layout capability of APP.
  • Q: Is there a market for consultants in this arena? What is the title? I will check it out on Amazon.
    • A: We like to think so. The book about Styler is Arbortext 102.
  • Q: I appreciate the compromise comment, and specifically this tip: “Does your design promote comprehension that much better than before?” A good mantra to break out during our style discussions.
    • A: I totally agree!
  • Q: We don’t worry about PDF, we are mainly concerned with HTML output. We find that output (using DITA-OT plus oXygen WebHelp) looks horrid, so much so that we stopped using the tags because we simply couldn’t get the CSS to do the work for us. And the output was not just bad, but confusing and dare I say unreadable. We are fascinated that it *ever* passed any sort of usability test or user satisfaction.
    • A: I didn’t cover web output but that’s because I ran out of time. But in Styler it’s no different. Web (chunked and single-page) output is supported OOTB, and overriding/changing styling works the same way as it does for Print.
  • Q: Not so much a question, but I’ll be curious as to whether oXygen offers such a styler. Our choice of oXygen over Arbortext was largely cost-based, and this may be an example as to why the price difference.
    • A: I can’t say what they will do, right now they depend on the OT for publishing (as so many other vendors do). APP has been publishing content for decades, so they can focus on performance and user experience rather than basic features.
    • A: As far as pricing goes, the tool-cost of Arbortext is competitive with everyone else. (Don’t let anyone tell you different!) In addition, Arbortext’s time-effort cost is lower than the OT. Don’t just compare apples to apples. Be sure to also compare oranges to oranges. In fact, compare the full fruit salad. There’s the Tool cost, the Rendering Cost, and Implementation Cost. Scriptorium has said that an OT implementation costs over $150K (circa 2010) (slide #13) not including tool cost. That free tool has hidden costs attached to it.
  • Q: Thanks for that dense information and Greetings from Germany!
  • Q: Great presentation. Thank you!
  • Q: Thanks!
    • You’re welcome!

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Key concepts

dita, html web output, page layout and print publishing, productivity, stylesheets, techcomm tools

Filed under

TC Dojo