RE: Collaborative authoring, production, and CMS?

Subject: RE: Collaborative authoring, production, and CMS?
From: Ole Andersen <ora -at- dita-exchange -dot- com>
To: Mike Stockman <mstockman -at- gmail -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 3 Mar 2010 12:35:16 +0100

Hi Mike,



I think you are addressing a very important issue in the global adoption of the DITA standard. Unless we support your thoughts, it will be difficult to implement DITA in a large organization.



There is a lot of good solutions out there. SDL, Astoria, Quark etc. to explore. If you are looking after a solution that extends your SharePoint installation, then you may want to have a look at our solution.



DITA Exchange has been built specifically to address the requirements you mention and to 'de-mystify DITA' in general. Please visit our website or contact me offline for a private webinar if you want more information (other list members can of course join - just send me an offline email).



Answers to your requirements:



1) You are right. SERIAL, email driven, PDF based review and approval cycles are cumbersome. In DITA Exchange 5-10-20-30+ people can collaborate in a PARALLEL workflow on the same publication without conflicting. PDF based review cycles are no longer needed. If you want to browse a few screen shots, you will find them here<http://secure98.dita-exchange.com/sites/CT2/DxProducts/DxDMV/Pages/default.aspx>



2) We consider Microsoft Word a good interface for SME's and Word is the standard authoring interface included in DITA Exchange. DITA Exchange also works fine with XML editors like FrameMaker, XMetaL, oXygen, Arbortext etc.



3) DITA Exchange offers integration to DITA Open Toolkit or an easy-to-configure output engine using *.dot files to style the output (most technical people can handle *.dot files) and we offer an 'on-the-fly' conversion to HTML



4) Since DITA Exchange is a complete XML Content Component Management System, Version control, Check In/Out, Link Management, Where Used, Broken Link Report, Version compare etc. is available out of the box.





Best Regards

>< Content Technologies ApS

Ole Rom Andersen

Director, Co-founder

Katrinebjerg Science Park | Aabogade 15 | DK-8200 Aarhus N | DENMARK | Cell: +45.4044.0553 | Fax: +45.6980.3578 | Skype: olerom | ora -at- dita-exchange -dot- com | http://www.dita-exchange.com |



Read the Microsoft Case Story about the DITA Exchange Word Editor(tm) here

Read the Microsoft Case Story about the DITA Exchange OXML Publishing Engine(tm) here

Download the "Intelligent Content Framework" Microsoft Data Sheet here









-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+ora=dita-exchange -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+ora=dita-exchange -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Mike Stockman
Sent: 24. februar 2010 21:03
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Collaborative authoring, production, and CMS?



In my latest gig, I'm going to be creating several large technical documents

where some developers (3 or 4 people) will be active participants in the

documents as well... I own them, but they'll help with structure, they'll

write some material, review my content, etc. I'm happy with that, but

passing a Word document around the department sounds like my idea of hell,

so I'm in the market for a new tool/workflow.



Here are my criteria:



1) It should be object-oriented (topic-driven), so multiple people can be in

different sections at the same time without stepping on each other, and to

make reorganization easier. Database-driven or file-driven? I don't have an

opinion yet.



2) A relatively simple authoring interface should be available... the

developers should be able to jump in and write or edit without learning a

cryptic new tagging method or a radical new interface.



3) The publishing method is still being defined... could be PDF, could be

HTML, maybe something else. The authoring environment needs to be able to

either spit out multiple formats (as AuthorIT or some wikis do, for example)

or a standard format (HTML or XML that I can transform to what I eventually

need).



4) Revision control of some kind.



Am I missing anything?



So far, my research has led me to:



A) Wikis. MediaWiki (the wiki behind wikipedia), the latest beta of which

spits out some fine looking PDFs, seems like the best so far. Revision

control, topic-oriented, etc. But I'm not sure how that would be for

organizing the information... can you set up collections of topics

hierarchically?



B) Author-It/Author-It Live, which I have some past experience with. The

company's hard to get information from, but I'm sure I'll hear back from

them at some point. Author-It has the advantage of providing a Word-like UI

and being able to publish to many formats, but they're also pricey and the

people holding the purse strings at my company may balk. I may have to

propose it anyway, since it appears to be a decent fit.



C) DITA-based solutions (which seem perfect in structure, topic management,

etc.). But the DITA editors I know about involve too much manual tagging of

content, even with Oxygen or Serna, and I don't think I can expect the

developers to learn that.



So this ended up kind of long, but if anyone has any advice -- unlikely on

this list, but you never know :-) -- I'd appreciate it. If my assumptions

seem off, please say so, since the joy of being a sole writer is that you

always agree with yourself no matter how wrong you may be.



Thanks,

Mike

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^



Use Doc-To-Help's XML-based editor, Microsoft Word, or HTML and

produce desktop, Web, or print deliverables. Just write (or import)

and Doc-To-Help does the rest. Free trial: http://www.doctohelp.com



Explore CAREER options and paths related to Technical Writing,

learn to create SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS documents, and

get tips on FUNCTIONAL SPECIFICATION best practices. Free at:

http://www.ModernAnalyst.com



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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Use Doc-To-Help's XML-based editor, Microsoft Word, or HTML and
produce desktop, Web, or print deliverables. Just write (or import)
and Doc-To-Help does the rest. Free trial: http://www.doctohelp.com

Explore CAREER options and paths related to Technical Writing,
learn to create SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS documents, and
get tips on FUNCTIONAL SPECIFICATION best practices. Free at:
http://www.ModernAnalyst.com

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