Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie

Subject: Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie
From: kafkascampi <kafkascampi -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: beelia -at- pacbell -dot- net
Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2014 09:34:41 -0800

Robert said "If you're single-sourcing, you're separating design from
content. A
tool that gives you a WYSIWYG view of at least one of your
deliverables while editing is more efficient than one where you're
just looking at text and tags."

Well, you have to use a good XML editor, for sure. I use Syntext Serna,
which has a good built-in XSL/CSS component for WYSIWYG.

And the point about an engineering-centric environment is well taken--I've
always been embedded with the engineers, and I work in a Silicon Valley
cloud software company that favors such approaches.


cheers

Chris


On Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 6:00 PM, beelia <beelia -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

> It's a very long way to go by yourself unless you have a lot of time and a
> supportive engineering team who know what DITA is and what it can do for
> the company. Some engineering-oriented start-ups that are XML-centric will
> encourage and support you to use DITA, but most won't. For a small
> organization, it's usually like swatting a mosquito with an AK-47. Managers
> who want things done quickly and efficiently won't have the patience for it.
>
> The best way to get trained is on the job. If you enjoy information
> architecture and want to go in that direction in your career, by all means
> go the Open Toolkit route. Otherwise, just learn enough by reading the
> books Tony cited to get familiar with the concepts, so you can show a
> hiring manager that you have the chops to learn the job. It gets boring to
> do the same processes day after day, so some doc managers I know are keep
> losing writers who want to do other things.
>
> Most writers who are in DITA organizations use an elaborate framework that
> has already been set up professionally to give good publishing and results,
> especially for localized documentation. In my last company, we had to spend
> months coming up to speed - the processes you have to learn are quite
> intricate. For localization, you have to pre-select every single version of
> every file and support it with all the right components, and it can get
> quite hairy if you are sharing those topics with other writers.
>
> It's not easy. When I finally got my docs localized, I felt like I'd run a
> marathon.
>
> In my current company, the writers don't go the whole way to publishing
> the docs and doing the localizing themselves. It's probably easier, but
> also probably less satisfying. I always want to see a document I've
> written, not just feed content into the CMS's maw.
>
> Fortunately, I still get to use Flare and Lingo, despite the fact that I
> work in a big company. Don't ask me how that happened - I figure it's all
> because I built up good karma in a previous life..:-0
>
> Cheers
>
> Bee
>
>
> On Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 5:10 PM, kafkascampi <kafkascampi -at- gmail -dot- com>wrote:
>
>> About DITA and large companies--I am a lone writer and author all of our
>> docs in DITA (well, some in Docbook). I'd argue that for a small company,
>> the benefits of DITA are still quite valid: Separating design from
>> content,
>> easing translation costs, maximizing reusability, writing for minimalism.
>> And you're ready to build out your doc set in a scalable way when Facebook
>> buys you for 18 billion.
>>
>> Personally, I got started at dita.xml.org, downloading hte Open Toolkit,
>> reading a bunch of stuff about the solution, and then attending a Hackos
>> class on it. Even if you don't end up going that way, it's a good thing to
>> understand a solution that has gained a real foothold in the industry.
>>
>> cheers
>>
>> Chris
>>
>>
>> On Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 10:51 AM, Tony Chung <tonyc -at- tonychung -dot- ca> wrote:
>>
>> > And to add to Robert's insight:
>> >
>> > Most smaller companies who ask for "DITA" in a job description really
>> have
>> > no clue what it is, let alone what it's used for. They also want
>> experts in
>> > the DITA domain who can transfer all their existing processes into their
>> > workflow. But it doesn't work that way. Unless the organization and
>> culture
>> > get behind the concept of topic-based single-source authoring, a DITA
>> > implementation will fail.
>> >
>> > Kind of similar to Agile methodology. If an organization does not
>> embrace
>> > collaboration and user-based scenarios, they can't claim to be Agile.
>> >
>> >
>> > For Hannah, I've heard that some of the easy entries are DITA 101 by the
>> > Rockley Group, Practical DITA by Julio Vasquez, and DITA for
>> Practitioners
>> > by Eliot Kimber. But you really need to find what works for you based on
>> > what you already know.
>> >
>> > Here's a list of some DITA resources:
>> > http://dita.xml.org/resource-directory
>> >
>> > It would be nice to find a version of this list that was scaled toward
>> > level of understanding vs resource format.
>> >
>> > -Tony
>> >
>> >
>> > On Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 9:38 AM, Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com
>> > >wrote:
>> >
>> > >
>> > > You'd be unlikely to need DITA skills outside of a large company.
>> > >
>> > > On Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 5:47 AM, Hannah Drake <hannah -at- formulatrix -dot- com
>> >
>> > > wrote:
>> > > > Bee, good point.
>> > > >
>> > > > Actually, I'm relatively new to the field and have seen various
>> > articles
>> > > > and discussion on DITA but still can't find a good entry point to
>> begin
>> > > to
>> > > > understand what it is. Does anybody have any recommended resources?
>> > > >
>> > > > Thanks in advance.
>> > >
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References:
Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: W. Michael Webster
Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: Gene Kim-Eng
RE: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: McLauchlan, Kevin
Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: Robert Lauriston
Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: Tony Chung
Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: Scott Turner
Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: Scott Turner
Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: beelia
Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: Hannah Drake
Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: Robert Lauriston
Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: Tony Chung
Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: kafkascampi
Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: beelia

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