Re: [RMX:NL] Re: Request for comments on my Structured Writing series

Subject: Re: [RMX:NL] Re: Request for comments on my Structured Writing series
From: Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L Writing <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 19 May 2016 10:49:37 -0700

I knew it was chapter 11. I didn't understand that the book was aimed
at people developing and implementing an overall "content strategy."
Part 1 does not make that clear, nor does the title "Understanding and
Mastering Structured Writing." Skimming the other parts doesn't give
me a sense that that's what the book is about. My main impression is
that it has a lot of dubious theories and few facts to back them up.

What job would reading it help someone do? That's not clear to me at all.

On Thu, May 19, 2016 at 6:12 AM, Slager Timothy J
<Timothy -dot- Slager -at- dematic -dot- com> wrote:
> I get the feeling that Robert and Julie aren't acknowledging that this is chapter 11. If the chapter is taken in isolation, their comments are valid. But they seem less valid in the context of the rest of the articles. I haven't read all of the articles and it has been awhile since I read them, but each chapter builds on or adds to the previous ones.
> The newbie picking up this book would have had the benefit of 10 chapters of very well written explanations about structured writing before getting to this chapter. As a long-time technical writer whose experience, unfortunately, has mostly been limited to "unstructured" writing, I found the articles helpful. Mark explains basic concepts in ways that make more sense than most other articles I have read. (Plus, his writing is exemplary.)
> tims
> -----Original Message-----
> From: techwr-l-bounces+timothy -dot- slager=dematic -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+timothy -dot- slager=dematic -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Julie Stickler
> Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2016 3:30 PM
> To: Robert Lauriston
> Cc: TECHWR-L Writing
> Subject: [RMX:NL] Re: Request for comments on my Structured Writing series
> Who is the audience for this book, developers? Because I agree with Robert, I've been single sourcing via tools for over a decade now, so I'm not really all that concerned with the algorithms used to transform my
> source into different media. Your article feels way too technical to me
> (and I'm the sort of nerd who likes getting into the code).
> If I were a newbie technical writing picking up this book to learn about single sourcing, you would have scared me off entirely with this approach.
> Single sourcing really not all that hard to do (at least it hasn't been for me). Especially if you never got too attached to the idea of writing linear documents. I was trained to "chunk" right off the bat in school, which makes assembly and re-use much easier concepts to adopt than if I'd spent decades writing book format manuals.
> On Wed, May 18, 2016 at 2:35 PM, Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
> wrote:
>> It feels very dated, like it was written in the 90s, when structured
>> writing and single-sourcing were new concepts rather than standard
>> practices embodied in off-the-shelf tools that have been evolving for
>> 20 years.
>> Thus the presentation seems backward to me. We're not starting from
>> zero. People single-source using off-the-shelf tools, in some cases
>> enhanced with custom code that has been in place for a while. Most of
>> us write in a WYSIWYG editor in Flare / FrameMaker/ Oxygen /
>> Confluence / whatever, then generate web help, PDF, static web site
>> pages, etc. from templates. It's interesting to know what's going on
>> under the hood (and essential if you're developing templates or custom
>> code), but starting the piece with such a low-level explanation
>> exaggerates its importance over more crucial considerations, such as
>> total cost of ownership.
>> On Wed, May 18, 2016 at 10:56 AM, <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com> wrote:
>> > TechWhirl magazine has just published the latest in my series on
>> structured
>> > writing (, which is
>> > scheduled to become a book from XML Press. A big reason for
>> > serializing
>> the
>> > book on TechWhirl first is to get feedback that will help me improve
>> > the book. I'd be really grateful if anyone who is interested would
>> > be
>> willing to
>> > read the latest article or any others in the series and give me some
>> > feedback, either on the site or to me personally (mbaker at analecta
>> > dot com).
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Request for comments on my Structured Writing series: From: mbaker
Re: Request for comments on my Structured Writing series: From: Robert Lauriston
Re: Request for comments on my Structured Writing series: From: Julie Stickler
RE: [RMX:NL] Re: Request for comments on my Structured Writing series: From: Slager Timothy J

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