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 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!

Interview with Keith McGinnis, Review Publishing

About a year ago, I did some stylesheet work for Keith McGinnis at Review Publishing. Review Publishing produces a weekly free newspaper and online news media portal. They were on their way to supporting all five of their local weekly papers and becoming a major media source and were looking for assistance automating a subset of their data sharing between the print and online content sources. This simple stylesheet project gave me a glimpse into a truly innovative media company.

This week’s podcast is an interview with Keith McGinnis. Continue reading “Interview with Keith McGinnis, Review Publishing”