Publish High-Quality, Print-Ready DITA in less than a day

Summary: Everyone says, “Publishing DITA is Hard!” But the truth is you can publish DITA content for ePub and Print output with very little work. The promise that vendors (like us) have been giving for 20 years is real today. I published Arbortext 101 in less than one day for less than $1400 all-in and I’m including software, time, and effort. A 100% indie published book. I did it and so can you. Here’s how.

My first book went live this morning: Arbortext 101. It is also the first book about Arbortext that was not published by PTC.* Arbortext is an extremely simple XML authoring and publishing suite of programs. It’s got an editor, a styling tool, a server-based publishing application, and a content management system. It’s 20 years old this year.

In my career, I’ve used nearly all of the XML/SGML tools out there. I like different tools for different purposes. I’m a big fan of the “right tool for the job” as it were. When I approached the project, I decided that I’d distill the 5000+ pages of technical documentation that gets published with the product into a short book that documents the best practices that we’ve developed over the 15 years as users and customers of Arbortext.

A couple of things happened close together…

Continue reading “Publish High-Quality, Print-Ready DITA in less than a day”

Real-Life Requirements for Advanced Layout from XML Content

Since Arbortext Advanced Print Publisher (APP) was released as an alternative print composition engine in Arbortext 5.4 (June 2009), we’ve been digging into what it can do and why someone would really need it.

We interviewed Simon Taylor from PTC. Simon spends his time “thinking about printing content on pages”. It’s no surprise, given that he’s the Product Manager for APP and Styler at PTC. Simon was part of Advent, the company that originally built APP (named “3B2” at the time), which was acquired by Arbortext in 2005, before their acquisition by PTC.

We were very lucky to speak with him about real-life requirements for advanced layout and why customers are forced to go to a product like APP from formatting languages like FOSI and XSL-FO. He had a lot to say… Continue reading “Real-Life Requirements for Advanced Layout from XML Content”

Interview with Kevin Dietz, Timpani Software, docbook for small teams

This week’s podcast features Kevin Dietz from Timpani Software. Timpani Software develops BuildBeat, a comprehensive automated software build management system, and MergeMagician, an automated merging server designed to work with your existing software configuration management (SCM) system.

It’s my pleasure to present Kevin Dietz so he can share his experience with dynamic publishing systems and the reasons for moving away from traditional publishing tools. Figuring out how to move from proprietary authoring tools to DocBook not only freed his content, but inspired a new product line for Timpani Software.

Enjoy!