Notes from the DITA Best Practices BOF lunch at CMS DITA NA Conference

Tracy Baker and I had a full table and intense discussion on the topics on the minds of the people in attendance. Real time issues and ideas for possible solutions. Topics ranged from reuse strategies to getting started to review processes to getting it all done while still doing your day job. Before we got started, we asked everyone to give us a little information: who are you, what industry do you come from, and what’s on your mind/what brought you to this BOF table. The participants included:

  • Erin (Telecom) who is in unstructured FrameMaker and wants to know how to planning the move to DITA (“it’s exciting and scary”). She’s also interested in contextualized content
  • Eric (Services) says he’s listening in so he can get a better sense of things
  • Cecile (Healthcare, from France) is moving to DITA from XML and she’s wants to talk about reuse strategies given that she expects that her XML modules will become to multiple DITA topics
  • Abbie (Services) is here to learn
  • Liz M (Services, Abbie’s coworker) is also here to learn
  • Bob (Medical Device) is looking for questions
  • Ed (High Tech) is also moving from XML to DITA but he wants to be sure they’re doing it for the right reasons. He’s also got a legacy data concern and seconds the request to talk about reuse strategies.
  • Renee (High Tech) is tasked with fixing a DITA environment. She wants to talk QA, processes, staffing roles
  • Moderator: Tracy Baker from F5, DITA early adopter
  • Moderator: Me, Liz Fraley from Single-Sourcing Solutions and the moderator of the TC Dojo Mastermind sessions.

Tracy Baker is a regular at the DITA NA conference. She’s from F5 and started her road to DITA in 2009. She’s an Information Architect, a writer, a tools person. She wrote the Information Model that F5 still uses today. In fact, only two elements have been added since she wrote it originally. It’s been a long road and it’s only this year, in 2015, that all the documents published for all the products have been 100% DITA. She’s worn a lot of hats but warns that “you can’t wear all the hats. You can try. You will die.”

Together, Tracy and I moderated the discussion and what follows are notes from the conversation. Tidbits, tips, suggestions, and advice for the folks at the table. One-on-one time for them to get their burning questions answered, their comfort levels…well, leveled. Continue reading Notes from the DITA Best Practices BOF lunch at CMS DITA NA Conference

Interview with Bob Thomas, Tagsmiths, DITA tools master

We’re delighted to have had Bob Thomas, from Tagsmiths, join us on the PubWright podcast. Bob started in SGML/XML in the mid-to-early 90s at Lucent. He transformed from a technical writer to data modeler, DTD writer, legacy data conversion specialist, and stylesheet developer. He discusses with us a bit of his history, gives some advice for people just getting started, and discusses qualities, qualifications, and profile of folks doing these kinds of tasks. He talks many of the tools he’s used over the years and what it takes to use them.

Interview with Barry Schaeffer, icon in XML circles

Anyone who’s been in the SGML/XML industry for any length of time knows Barry Shaeffer. Barry is a frequent speaker and contributor on subjects related to information and content management. His work with structured information began in 1979 with SGML, and with XML at its initial publication as a standard in 1996.

He was Founder and President of X.Systems.Inc., a system development and consulting firm specializing in the conception and design of text-based information systems, with industrial, legal/judicial and publishing clients among the Fortune 500, non-profit organizations and government agencies, until it’s acquisition by XyEnterprise in 2008. X.Systems was the first Arbortext partner company.

Continue reading Interview with Barry Schaeffer, icon in XML circles