I promise to get back to DITA content auditing soon, but I just need to share with you a new site launched by our Therapy Everywhere division. Transitions Counseling, based in Dallas and Plano, provides face to face and online counseling for students moving into adult life, and for older adults transitioning into retirement.
Did you know that some dentists offer mercury free practices? That laser dentistry can make some dental procedures pain-free? If you need dental care in Brooklyn, you might want to check out Dr. Steve Eisenberg’s dental practice in Sheepshead Bay, recently launched by our GoMDweb division, with online solutions for dentists and physicians,
Ongoing content audits, or – as we prefer to call it – markup mentoring bridges the gap from your DITA plan to your DITA implementation. Semantic markup mentoring will increase the effectiveness of your DITA content, reduce long term maintenance costs for content, and enable support for the fullest range of current and future publishing needs.
In the information architecture stage a lot of thought is given to a range of factors, including:
- what topic types should be used (machine industry tasks or strict task topic types, for example),
- what specializations may be needed (<sku>?, troubleshooting topic?),
- selecting semantically appropriate tags (<menucascade> and <uicontrol>),
- choosing elements that will enable fastest content creation and best presentation (<dl>, <table>, within an image, <title> or <desc>, nesting <ul> within <p), and more),
- enabling reuse (through appropriate use of variables, keyref, conref and more)
- applying conditions to enable focused content limited to “need to know”, without destroying writer productivity
- developing a related information approach using relationship tables and other mechanisms
- planning for minimizing translation cost and enabling pain free translation
Markup mentoring will help you and your writers successfully bridge from information architecture to robust semantically correct markup. The bottom line: we recommend markup mentoring to get the best results from your DITA implementation.
This is not strictly DITA, but it’s just so cool. Our GoMDweb division continues to grow and this month posted sites for two new types of health care providers.
Dr. Marc Krauss practices in Long Island, providing both psychological counseling and testing for students. With offices in Cedarhurst, NY, Dr. Krauss also provides online therapy. … Find out more about Dr. Marc Krauss. (If you’re a health care provider. click here if you want to know how you can start to provide online therapy.)
Dr. N. Alan Toporovsky delivers personal and attentive dental care to people confined to their homes or in-patient facilities. The Homeward Bound Dentist makes dental house calls in New York City, Long Island and Lower Hudson Valley. Click here to learn more or to make an appointment for home or in-residence dental care.
Are you using the machine industry task? If so, I would love to hear from you.
We are recommending that a customer adopt the machine industry task as their standard task topic. We have considered some of the implications for efficiency for those tasks where not all of the tags are needed, but are still convinced that having the extra
We are proud to have become an <oXygen/> XML Training Partner, as well as an authorized <oXygen/> XML reseller.
With a track record of successful DITA training using <oXygen/> XML, Method M can get your team up and running effectively in a surprisingly short team. Considering adopting <oXygen/> XML Author or <oXygen/> XML Editor? Drop us a line and we’ll be happy to help.
- The training was customized to reflect the client’s documentation products and included substantial hands-on application using real production documents.
- One of the outcomes of the training was a firm grasp on what specializations are required and what customization to publishing are needed.
- All of the training materials were developed and delivered by Method M consultants. Method M provides consulting services in information architecture, DITA, content management, and eLearning.
Stimulated by a discussion in the DITA Metrics group on LinkedIn about the value of information architects, here is a quote from Frank Lloyd Wright:
“…go as far away as possible from home to build your first buildings. The physician can bury his mistakes,—but the architect can only advise his client to plant vines.” (From a lecture published in 1931, To the Young Man in Architecture. Thanks to the Quote Investigator.)
So, if you are moving jobs soon, changing careers or getting ready to move out of town under an assumed identity, don’t worry about implementing DITA without an information architect. But if you plan on sticking around for a while and living with the consequences of your implementation, get an architect!
When the content of your conref needs to change — as in for different audiences or for different products — conditions enable your conref to adapt!
You should, however, consider using conkeyref (for large reusable chunks) or using keyref (for smaller reusable chunks, such as a product name or other string that fits neatly in a <ph> element).
Keys make extentsive content reuse easier to maintain and enable sophisticated conditional processing (profiling) of content.
Without using keys, extensive use of related links, cross references and conrefsthese features results in a loss of portability; meaning, it makes it difficult to move, rename, break up or combine topics. When a topic is moved, every reference to the topic will need to be updated to reflect the new location of the content.
To enable reuse and portability, use the “keyref” feature. Keyref provides an indirect addressing mechanism. You can use either topicref elements or keydef elements to define keys in a DITA map. Topics can be given a symbolic name (keys attribute) that points to a topic file path (href attribute). Future references to such topics are made using a key reference (keyrefattribute). At a later point in time, if the topic is relocated, the path needs to be updated only in the map where it is defined. All other references will automatically pick up the new location.
The “keyref” feature also enables sophisticated conditional processing (profiling) of content. Without keys, attribute-based conditional processing (such as product,platform, and audience) is a powerful feature that enables content reuse, but in a large set of a documents, content can become difficult to maintain due to the number of variables. Keyrefs simplify authoring and production of conditional content.
In future posts, more of the nitty gritty on using keyrefs.
Who isn’t going mobile now for content delivery? Supplying content for desktops is like manufacturing typewriter ribbons. Even our family favorite for bedtime stories, The Adventures of Shainy and Brainy, is now available in Kindle from Amazon.
OK, I may have exaggerated. Paper isn’t going away totally. But if you want to be in front of your customers, then you need to get available on smartphones, tablets and eReaders. You may need to support a proprietary format for Kindle or you might choose the HTML 5 route (our preference where feasible), but you need to move ahead. Call us to discuss if you like!
Your company may already have a documentation center that helps customers use your products. You may also have white papers that help customers understand your solutions.
Have you gone to the next level, creating evangelists who will promote you to their colleagues and customers? If so, please comment or write to us. We would love to hear from you!