DitaExchange Blog

  • Be in Control of Reused and Single-Sourced Components While Writing in Full Documents
    Writing in full documents is preferred by most authors who are not used to component-based content. And with the Sync Components feature in Dx4, this is now possible to do this in a component-based solution – without all the manual work of replicating the changes in components. You can simply use the updated full document to automate the updating of components.But what do you do when parts of the document […]
  • I Want Context!
    I think we have all been there. I know I have certainly asked people to review and comment on a few topics og content components, only to be confronted with the fact that context is needed. Well, even though I have been working with components  for more than 15 years…to be honest, I have been doing updates of components myself and realized that I need more context to do a […]
  • Let’s Help Our Colleagues Who Refuse to Work in XML
    “Looks cool, but couldn’t we just stick to what we have?”“Being able to grab a piece of content like that would be nice, but I don’t have the time to learn this new tool.”“Yes, I’d like to be able to publish a white paper using parts of your updated documentation, but all these tags and attributes? I don’t know…” We have all heard these complaints.  Since DITA XML became an […]
  • Power Up Your Field Agents: Mixing Word and DITA XML Topics to Customize Your Deliverable for the Customer
    I’ve seen it first hand in several companies I have worked for: Field agents or other colleagues that work closely with individual customers come to me in the documentation department and ask me to make sure that their standard product documentation is always up to date. And then, they want to add a little bit of special information for each customer. “Oh, and by the way. In the field agent […]
  • Open DITA: Let’s Make Structured Writing for Everyone
    DITA XML makes advanced content development and management possible, but DITA XML itself is a complex thing. For some, this complexity makes DITA XML inaccessible, and for others, the complexity over time becomes a chaotic cobweb of references and dependencies. Just looking at all these tags and attributes scares some writers off. In a recent survey, we uncovered strong indications that the complexity of DITA XML is hindering the spread of […]
  • Let’s Not Reinvent the Steam Engine: Process Changes with Structured Authoring
    This blog post is about your business processes, particularly those surrounding the ways your content is authored, managed, approved, and published. Think about the way those processes look today: the people involved, the tools you use, and finally the workflow, whether that’s an ad-hoc peer review or a highly formalized set of approval gates and feedback loops. What are some words that you might use to describe those processes today? […]
  • Open DITA: Making DITA Reuse More Accessible
    One of the main drivers in Open DITA is allowing writers with little or no XML skills to benefit from the most important reuse capabilities of the DITA standard. So let’s cherry pick from the rules of the Open DITA manifest and explain how they achieve reuse of your content. But before we get to that, let’s take a step back and consider WHY we want to reuse. Let’s be honest. Reusing […]
  • It’s the Readers, Stupid!
    A few years ago, Steffen Frederiksen gave an interview about structured writing to a Swedish journalist. He talked about consistency, modularity, content reuse and all the other goodies of structured writing. The journalist asked, “But what about the writer? Isn’t it terribly boring, being all modular and consistent?” the answer was – and still is – the following: “When I am trying to make my new cable TV box work, […]
  • Why Use a Content Management Service and Content Automation Hub?
    But that is not all, there are even more options! You can use the same topics and information described above in various other formats, for example by feeding content directly to your mobile apps or chatbot. You are automating your processes though machine-to-machine communication and in this way, error proofing them! Conclusion Using a modern, well-functioning content management service and a proper content automation hub that responds to the demands […]
  • Will the Most Used XML Editor Please Step Forward?
    Who cares about XML editors in the first place? Well, there are many different answers to that question. Ever since XML 1.0 became a W3C Recommendation on February 10, 1998, a lot of people realized that this new standard could be used for cross-platform publishing. The fact that an XML file could be processed by computers, and even transformed into other formats using XSLT stylesheets, was great news. Today, this XML characteristic […]
  • The Value of Structured Content Management in Life Sciences
    Pharma is undergoing tectonic shifts regarding regulations, affecting both costs and processes across the board. Millions are spent every year by organizations seeking to achieve and retain compliance, one of the biggest challenges facing the life sciences industry. As the sheer number of regulatory requirements grows worldwide, the challenge of not only meeting the requirements, but also maintaining consistency and integrity across all submissions becomes ever greater. As a consequence, as […]
  • Starting Small with Structured Content Management
    Getting started with structured content management can be daunting: you’ve been tasked with completely overhauling your organization’s content strategy. There are so many things to consider that deciding where to begin can seem like one of your biggest challenges. There are plenty of clichés appropriate to this situation: the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, don’t try to boil the ocean, and so on. By thinking […]
  • Bot-enabled?
    December 14, 2016 This year at the LavaCon conference in Las Vegas, I followed some very exciting presentations about the very near future role of bots (software robot/intelligent agent) in our efforts to bring exactly the right piece of content to the right person, at the right time. Current prominent bot examples are Microsoft’s Azure Bot Service and IBM’s Watson Virtual Agent. Some excellent presentations also talked about the fact that […]