Jim Tivy, CTO of Bluestream explored the use of terminology for authors and readers showing how DITA and DITA enabled tools can exploit terminology to its fullest potential. He also demoed the support for terminology in the upcoming version of XDocs CMS from Bluestream.
In discourse, not all words are created equal: certain words are central to understanding a subject and other words are not. The organization and consistent use of these important terms, the terminology, is essential to clear communication. Fundamentally, planned and controlled terminology is used by authors in writing and editing, and it is further used by readers searching in glossaries and indexes. Writing tools must make the tasks of authors easy. For example, current DITA writing tools must provide access to terminology lists. Furthermore, search and browse systems in a CMS or online Knowledgebase must incorporate terminology to make content quickly findable and understandable for authors and readers.
Jim described the fundamental concepts of a thesaurus, and how those concepts can be used with DITA content and tools. He demoed an exciting new UI in XDocs that allows for faceted browsing of content (select a folder and filter on selected terms). He also showed us how the terminology database can be populated (manual entry and harvesting from data in the DITA files).
>>> VIDEO TO COME SOON.
Don Day, Co-Founder of ContelligenceGroup.com and Co-Chair of the OASIS DITA Technical Committee (and all around good guy) gave us a though provoking presentation on the options for producing adaptive content from DITA source. Here's the meeting teaser ..
What do shortdescs and conditional processing have to do with Adaptive Content, that trending phrase in Web content circles? As with comedy, it's all in the timing and delivery. Don will give his perspectives on the popular Adaptive Content conversation and show how DITA has always been adaptive (depending on timing and delivery), followed by discussion and hilarity.
- Presentation slides (click Start Slideshow)
A recording of the meeting is available in two parts. The first 48 minutes is the main presentation, and the remaining 33 minutes is the discussion that followed.
If you attended this meeting, I encourage you to add comments and include any notes you took as well as any additional comments or observations you'd like to offer. Otherwise, we'd appreciate hearing your thoughts or experiences with adaptive content and DITA.
Don Smith, Senior Vice President for Crowell Solutions, presented an in-depth look at their application called RocketSled™. RocketSled is a full-featured XML editor that runs inside of Microsoft Word. It allows you to author and create XML documents in Word as well as convert from Word to XML, offering round-tripping of files from Word to DITA.
He also presented DITA InMap editing. This is a feature of RocketSled which allows you to edit topic content directly from the DITA map, providing a more linear, multi-topic, authoring experience.
Compared to other Word-based XML editors I've seen, this solution seemed quite robust and feature rich. It provides access to all of the DITA attributes and elements (DITA 1.2 model), and would be fairly easy for the novice or occasional author to jump in and produce well structured content. (Of course, it does help if the author is reasonably familiar with the DITA model and topic-based authoring.) Although the current implementation supports the DITA 1.2 "model," it does not yet support all of the features of that model (specifically, the various referencing features). We were told that these will be available soon.
I can see the InMap editing feature being quite popular, and the import, export, round-tripping looked to be very well thought out. As long as the DITA files produced by RocketSled are valid DITA (which I have no reason to think they are not), it should play nicely with other editors, and could fill that void as an authoring tool for those who want to provide content but don't want to deal with the overhead of more full-featured DITA editors.
I look forward to seeing this tool again after completing the integration of the DITA 1.2 feature set.
For more information on RocketSled, visit the Crowell Solutions Blog:
Converting Word to XML - Introducing RocketSled 2 XML
We've decided to move to a mostly virtual format for the meetings, since it's been hard to get enough "real" people to attend, but lots of "virtual" interest. Along with this change, we're going to move the meetings to a new week of the month and day of the week. The new day is the Third Monday of the month (unless that's a holiday, and we'll use the second Monday).
Since the third Monday in February is President's Day, we'll have this month's meeting on February 11.
More information will be posted when it's available, but if you're interested in presenting or guiding a discussion on your favorite DITA topic, please contact me.
We had a great time at Pedro's for our Year-end Social! It's always nice to be able to get together with other SVDIGgers to talk about DITA as well as other things.
Happy New Year!
Yikes .. one more canceled meeting due to low RSVPs. We may need to switch this group to "virtual" meetings? See you all next month at the Social!
Sorry .. the October meeting was canceled as well. See you all next month!
Simon Bate, Senior Technical Consultant at Scriptorium was in town teaching a class on DITA and we were lucky to have him come and share tips and information on XSL-FO and the DITA-OT. The large crowd in house as well as a good number of remote attendees kept him busy with questions. Based on the feedback I've received, everyone left with some good information.
Simon started with an overview of XSL-FO, discussing the basic concepts as well as its strengths and weaknesses. He then explained how to develop a "plugin for the plugin" to allow you to easily (well, that may depend) create customizations to the DITA-OT PDF2 plugin.
If you took notes or have some comments, please feel free to add them to this page!
2012-08-FO-for-SVDIG.pdf - Simon's presentation slides.