Tuesday Aug 07, 2007

Software tech writers & media specialists: all together

From time to time, such as here, I've blogged about the Information Products Group (IPG). IPG includes technical writers and other media and tool specialists. There are a fair number of IPG members who blog and now you can see all their blogs in on blog, so to speak. Each of these blogs has a blogfeed into a single location. Such an aggregation of blogs, is referred to as a planet, and a new one exists for IPG. The planet is called Software Information since the group provides information about the various software products at Sun. Here's the link to planets.sun.com, which lists all the current official Sun blog planets.

So, if you want to get a sense of the various software products that technical writers and the like are blogging about at Sun, such as Solaris, NetBeans, Application Server, etc, then visit the Software Information planet and you'll see the most current blog entries from various IPG members. In the Software Information planet, in the right column, you'll see a list of the current blogs by IPG members. Actually, I have such a list in my blog, too. If you look in the right column of this blog, you'll see a heading labeled Other Writers & Such. Under that is an expandable folder labeled "+Software Related." Click that entry to get a list of all the blogs maintained by software technical writers and such. If you can click any of those links to visit the respective blog.

Wednesday Jun 06, 2007

Making a more user-friendly blog

Back in my entry Various Bloggers, Various Views: Sun Software, I mentioned that I was working in my group, the Information Products Group (IPG), to make blogging easier and better. Some of that involves working on an internal blog.

Contributing to that internal blog has made it more clear that this external blog could use some improving. I've been working on the improving-this-blog thing for a while. Have you ever noticed that the busiest people in the world can always find the time to tell you about how busy they are? Therefore, I'm not saying I'm busy. I'm just saying that I'm not exactly idle, which means I have NOT improved this blog as quickly as I would have hoped. Anyway, slowly and surely I'm making progress.

The story that I've been trying to get to here is that while working on that internal blog, I came across, again, a blog entry by Jakob Nielsen as follows:

Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes

That blog entry was written October 17, 2005. That's almost two human years ago, which is equivalent to 14 blog years. That was a long time ago. Also, I'm not sure it applies exactly to corporate blogs. That's my way of saying that I don't think that everything that Jakob wrote in that entry applies 100% to this corporate blog in 2007. By the way, some people don't like the idea of companies "encouraging" their employees to blog (I've put the word encouraging in parentheses for reasons I'm not really sure of). About the corporate blog controversy, I like to see every side of an argument, however, in this case, I've decided to make an exception.

Back to Jakob. I first read Jakob's "top ten mistakes" about eight months ago, which was before I started this blog. It convinced me that I wasn't crazy since before that I was looking at blogs saying, "I have no idea what this blog is about. This is ridiculous!" Thusly, after first reading Jakob's "top ten mistakes," I decided to make this blog a little more clear. Which is why I immediately started with an "About This Blog" category. But still, I realize now, that I could have done more. So, now I've added a quick Blog Description at the top. Do you see that up there where it says the following?:

Blog Description: A technical writer of Sun Java SystemTM Access Manager Policy Agent documentation is pretty much blogging about the same thing.

You see, that's suppose to make things more clear. I mean, both quick and clear. Do you feel that? I've also got the photo thing going on now. Here, I'll just add the photo again below, so you don't have to scroll or anything:

I'm not convinced that a picture is as important in a corporate blog as it might be in a non-corporate blog. I've added one, but, somehow pictures can be embarrassing. Anyway, I couldn't get myself to add a regular picture, so I added this one that was taken with a camera phone, and set to some special-effect-thingy option. It either looks like an extremely poor quality picture or like I was in a horrible accident of some sort. All the same, that's better than just having a regular picture of me. A cartoony photo like this one just isn't embarrassing. Or maybe it is, but not to me for some quirky reason.

How about them tags at the bottom of every entry? You know what I'm saying? Tags! Like the ones displayed at the bottom of this entry. You see those, like "daytemplate" and "ipg" and such? Isn't that cool? I like it. Okay, I haven't really made good use of them in this blog yet, but it seems I will some day. I'm still toying with the idea of using a tag cloud in this blog somehow.

In Roller, which is the software we use for blogs here at Sun Microsystems (it's used in lots of other places, too), there's a template called the _day template. One would select Preferences>Templates to get to the _day template and that would only work if one had already customized one's theme. Goodness it seems so complicated now. It seemed so simple when I was doing it.

Like I was saying, if one wants to display tags at the bottom of every entry, one could add the following code in the _day template (this would come after the code used for the comments):

<U>Tags used in this entry</U>: #showEntryTags($entry)

Okay, I think I've explained enough about how I've made this blog better. If I explain any more, at this time, I won't be able to stand it, and probably neither will you.

Thursday Apr 26, 2007

Various Bloggers, Various Views: Sun Software

I am involved in an effort to facilitate blogging at Sun, especially for my group, the Information Products Group (IPG).

Basically, IPG is involved in putting together information products. The group is made up of many subgroups, including technical writers and other media and tool specialists.

We've tried to get all of us IPG members to add our blog info to tables so we can all tell who in IPG is blogging. I'm adding those tables to this blog entry, so now everyone can tell who in IPG is blogging and what they're blogging about. I suspect even more IPG members blog, but not everyone has added their info.

Take a look. What you'll find in these blogs is a lot of interesting ways of communicating about various Sun software products.



BLOGGERS in the INFORMATION PRODUCTS GROUP

What follows are two lists of sun blogs that are maintained by Information Product Group (IPG) members, both individual blogs & group blogs.


INDIVIDUALS

Blogger

Blog Name & Link

Blog Description

Barkodar, Sherry

99 Sec Demo and News

I try to make and expose NetBeansEntPack related docs, Simple, Short, and Cool.

NetBeans Enterprise Pack 99 Sec Demo, showing what can be done with the NetBeans Enterprise Pack tools in 99 Second. It help readers get to the point fast.

99 Sec Sun News is a summary of the latest Sun News. And More 99 Sec.

I also post my tutorial drafts/cookbooks which I get a lot of hits and feedback

Craig, Mark

Margin Notes

More about Directory Server and OpenDS: a public, searchbotted spot on the web serving as the virtual margin of directory documentation.

Before my time, people sent the docs out in binders, then shipped replacement and errata pages. This is an attempt to reproduce that to some extent.

Davies, Paul

A Technical Writer Writes

A blog about technical writing, working in the open, project Glassfish, and anything else that catches my interest.

Domenichini, John

Identity Writer

Mostly Sun, Mostly product: Access Manager and Policy Agent.

My blog is about Identity Management Software from Sun Microsystems and from a technical writer's point of view. There's a strong focus on Policy Agent software (which I write about) and Access Manager software.

Evans, Ian

Verso

Concentric circles: the tech industry, technical writing, Java EE & GlassFish, our tutorials, frog pictures, colophons.

Franklin, Chris

Frank Dog Blog

N1 SPS product info currently, Sun Connection product info going forward. Plus music reviews, baseball ramblings, ruminations on new authoring strategies, and whatever else comes to mind.

Kasper, Paul

Paul@Sun: Musings about my life at Sun

Random thoughts about my journey into the Web 2.0 world and information architecture in general.

Keith, Brian

Dox Tox

Sun Cluster documentation, Solaris documentation, documentation in general, and whatever else happens to appear in my crosshairs.

Olson, Michelle

OpenSolaris Docs

OpenSolaris documentation community, Silicon Valley OpenSolaris User Group, concerts in San Francisco.

Sciallo, Joseph

Factotum

Reporting on all that's relevant in the Comms Suite blogsphere, from news, Comms 101, upcoming releases, tips and tricks, and behind-the-scenes admissions of what's really going on.

Sriram, Anjana

Anjana Sriram's Weblog

Mostly Sun, my experiences as a program manager but there's a reasonable chance that my blog would include personal thoughts and my interests.

Subramaniam, Ragunath

Ragunath Subramaniam's Blog

My blog discusses about Tips'n'Tricks for Web Server, Sun Tech Days experiences and all about my screencast.

Teger, Michael

Technical Writing Gossip

Information on Access Manager, Federation Manager, and OpenSSO with some links to a few of my favorite things.

Vaidyanathan, Vasanth

Vasanth Vaidyanathan's Blog

This blog focuses on no particular topic. Just random thoughts!

Weber, Sue

Openly Blogging

I initially began to blog as program manager for Open Solaris documentation. I have since moved on to support the the SOA-BI writing teams and related projects. I blog about program management, software infrastucture, open source, and life/work issues.

Wielenga, Geertjan

Geertjan's Blog

Mainly focused on whatever new thing I have learned about Java programming, mostly in relation to NetBeans IDE and the NetBeans Platform. Occasionally random ruminations of a haphazard and unfocused nature.



GROUPS

Key Member(s)

Blog Name & Link

Blog Description

Lang, Hanan and Davies, Paul

Application Server Docs

Gather and discuss information about the Application Server.

Peters, Frank and Fischer, Uwe

OpenOffice.org TNT

Tips'n'Tricks for OpenOffice.org and StarOffice. Stuff you don't find in the docs (yet).

Zakhour, Sharon

The Java Tutorials' Weblog

News and information about the Java SE Tutorials, which can be found at http://java.sun.com/docs/books/tutorial/


There it is! See anything you like?


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