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”

Join us at the CMS/DITA conference in Seattle

This year our Liz Fraley will be presenting at the Content Management Strategies/DITA North America conference in Seattle, WA April 28-30, 2014. This has been a good conference over the years and we’re looking forward to it. Here’s what Liz is going to be talking about:

[bq id=”about” type=”simple” author=””Concepts of Library Science” Presentation by Liz Fraley” author_gender=”f” profession=”CEO” company=”Single-Sourcing Solutions”]Have you ever bookmarked a site only to go back later and be unable to find that site in your bookmarks? Have you ever bookmarked a site twice — only to wonder why you tagged it the way you did? Have you wondered how you will find the right content to reuse given hundreds of thousands of content library source files? Have you wondered about effective metadata tagging across your team?

Fraley discusses the foundation of library science and how it can help searchers working with an ever-growing library of content. Learn key strategies that will put you in the best position to execute effectively so you and your team can meet the increasing demands of creating, managing, and distributing content.[/bq]

Interested? Still time to register!

[infobox id=”bonus” title=”Drop by our table for a chance to win” href=”#” button_text=”We’re Exhibiting”]Find the special collateral in the bag that all attendees get. There’s something on there to help you pass the time between sessions. It’s super cute and good fun, too. Plus, when you turn it in at our table, you get a chance to win something fun.[/infobox]

TC Camp 2014 is Next Weekend

TC Camp Exclusive: See Adobe’s TCS5 in person and maybe win a subscription!

TC Camp 2014 is happening at Mission College in Santa Clara on Saturday 25 January 2014.

If you’re in the bay area, this is happening right in your own backyard, why wouldn’t you attend?  If’ you’re within driving distance, I know it may seem a bit far for you, but I know of several people who come up from Southern California to attend.  This is part of why we hold the event on a Saturday. It makes it easier for people who are in the area, or very near by, to attend.

TC Camp is an unconference for content creators, consumers, and the people who support them.

I don’t know if you’ve been to an unconference before, but they are very different from regular conferences. They are not juried. Sessions aren’t presenter-decided topics. Sessions aren’t topics that some expert thinks you should talk about. It’s much more fluid and much more audience decided. All session topics are decided by the attendees on the day of the event. Everyone nominates topics; we vote on them together; and then, those sessions with enough votes get scheduled into the agenda. You can guarantee there is always a session happening that you’re interested in.

Unconferences are all “hallway” – like the hallway conversations you have between session at regular conferences. At an Unconference, you get the chance to work with other people to really wrap your arms around a topic and figure it out as it applies directly to you.

The main unconference (afternoon) is Free. We have an expert panel to kick things off which Scott Abel is moderating.

If you’re interested, there are morning workshops that cost a modest $30. The workshops happen in the morning before the main unconference starts.

There are 6 morning workshops to choose from that will help get the creative juices flowing:

  • Structured Authoring – lessons learned from the pioneers. Tracy Baker (F5), Wendy Shaffer and Amy Bowman (VMWare) will be giving advice for people learning DITA. All three of them were early DITA adopters and learned by fire. They are passing on their lessons learned so you can benefit from their experience.
  • Analytics – learn how to apply and interpret analytics to improve your content. You have a chance to hear from analytics folks (marketing folks) about some of the secrets of SEO and using analytics, it’s a great opportunity.
  • Content Strategy – Strategy from the outside (your customer’s side). Pam Noreault (ACI Worldwide) and Chip Gettinger (SDL) are presenting about thinking strategically about xml publishing projects. It’s lessons learned, but from a manager’s perspective. Pam’s done it twice, and the second time she decided to rearchitect content from the Customer’s Perspective. This is absolutely going to be a great session.
  • Responsive Design – learn how to improve your authoring so your content looks good anywhere. Mike Hamilton, from MadCap Software, will explain and show techniques for authoring and delivering of content that responds to the user needs whether they be handheld, mobile, or full screen PC so that it not only works from a responsive design standpoint, but increases usability and customer satisfaction.
  • Content Quality – improve authoring and publishing efficiency and the experience of your users. Doug Gorman from SimplyXML is talking about how to improve authoring efficiency, publishing efficiency, re-usability, and the experience of your information consumers. His workshop is doctype and tool-independent because these lessons apply universally.
  • Adobe – all about TCS5! This will be the first public showing of TCS5! Max Hoffmann will be here to give the world premiere demo of the product that was released just last week

It’s an amazing experience – energetic, dynamic, and all about the attendees learning from each other.

If you want to see what someone from the SF STC had to say about last year, he wrote up a review here for their December Newsletter:

For more information about this year’s event, the detail page is here:

I hope that we’ll see you there!