Re: Future skills

Subject: Re: Future skills
From: "David Castro, The Tech Writer" <thetechwriter -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Mark Baker <mbaker -at- omnimark -dot- com>, TECHWR-L Mailing List <TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 19:28:48 -0800 (PST)

Mark Baker said:

> I listed the following as skills of the future:
>
> Text programming (my pick for hot career field of the future)
> Modular content development
> Rule based dynamic presentation design
> Database design/administration
> Editing (which means editing for adherence to the rules of the system)

I sure hope you're right! This is the part of developing online help that I
really enjoy. I've written various text-manipulating programs. One was similar
to a grep tool; it found the right place in over 6,300 HTML documents to place
some markup that added a navigation bar to the topic. I just finished one that
took a couple of hours to write that automatically generates the
context-sensitive WebHelp topics that we need for the screen-level help for our
product.

I realize that these are more basic than what you were probably thinking about,
but I've dealt with the higher-level stuff, too. I used the conditional text
feature of FrameMaker when writing a tutorial for our product that was used for
both ODBC and AS/400 implementations. And, I have started learning how to
develop Active Server Pages (ASP), which I may at some time be able to use with
our Application Service Provider (the other ASP) software to provide the right
help based on what a user is *doing*, rather than just on what screen they
happen to be on.

It's fun stuff, when you can mix technologies with our help, in ways that help
our users. We writers definitely have the best of both worlds!

-David Castro
techwrtr -at- crl -dot- com
thetechwriter -at- yahoo -dot- com
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