Sunday Nov 04, 2007

Wikis, Docs, and the Reuse Proposition

Wiki systems make it easy to edit documents online. That makes them terrific for document collaboration. But current Wiki formats don't allow the kind of reuse that the DITA document format was designed for. But it may be possible to implement some of DITA's best features using a clever combination of JavaScript, CSS, and an extensible Wiki. I suspect it can be done most easily using a Ruby-based Wiki like MediaCloth.[Read More]

Tuesday Oct 02, 2007

Build-to-Order Docs--Today!

Not long ago, I blogged on the subject of build-to-order documentation. A few weeks later, along comes a system that is doing it. Today! It doesn't work in exactly the way I envisioned, but it's working and available, with no waiting. Now I know how hard it is to be a science fiction writer. You write about the most far-fetched thing you can think of, and the next week someone's announcing it.[Read More]

Friday Sep 14, 2007

Building a Bridge: DITA, DocBook, and ODF

We can make documents in one format appear as though they were authored in a different format, maintain single-sourcing, and do it all in a way that is transparent to the user. [Read More]

Wednesday Sep 05, 2007

Automated Code-Inclusions in DITA

When I was writing in HTML, I had a system that could easily transform a body of code into a sequence of versions that let the user experiment with the program and see how it works at each stage of the process. As a further benefit, it also produce HTML showing added code in bold and deleted code in strikethrough font. The big advantage was the ability to changed code in early versions in ways that made later versions easier (or possible). I could then re-generate all of the intermediate versions before doing the final writeup. That system saved a lot of work, but I still had to cut and paste the code fragments. Using DITA, I won't even have to do that--I can simply transclude the code fragment right into the document.
[Read More]

Friday Aug 31, 2007

Build-to-Order Documents with DITA

It is entirely possible to deliver custom, on-demand documentation that is precisely suited to a user's needs. It can be done today, using web-interface strategies and the right document format. This post shows how such a system could be implemented with the DITA format, and shows why it would be an ideal document-delivery system for programmers.

[Read More]

Wednesday Aug 15, 2007

Using JRuby for DITA builds

There are serious advantages to using JRuby for DITA builds. I first wrote about the idea in Doing DITA Builds Better.
That post mentioned Rake's advantage for sophisticated dependency
detection, but didn't say much about how to achieve that goal. This one outlines a development progression. In the process, it hopefully
elucidates the kinds of benefits that can be achieved.

[Read More]

Monday Aug 13, 2007

Online Document Collaboration

We could collaborate online to edit structured documentation formats
like DITA. How cool would that be? And what problems do we need to
solve to make it happen? 

[Read More]

DITA: One Cool Document Format

What's cool about the DITA standard for XML document structuring.

[Read More]

DITA, XDocs, and Online Collaboration with the Open Source Community

What I've been doing lately: The DITA format, the XDocs CMS, and online document collaboration systems.

[Read More]

Tuesday Jul 31, 2007

XDocs: One Cool CMS

I've been playing with the XDocs CMS system. I'm pretty impressed. It
definitely gets 4 ice cubes for cool. Maybe even 5.  (I'll update this post from time to time as my experience grows.)

[Read More]

Wednesday Jul 18, 2007

Enabling Collaborative Design-and-Decision Discussions, Online

We can enable online, collaborative discussions, and do a better job of tracking the designs and decisions they reach.

[Read More]

Thursday Jul 12, 2007

Doing DITA Builds Better

Enabling incremental builds for DITA...

[Read More]
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