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Tech Tips: Quick Word to DITA table conversion

The other day I had to convert a large table from Word to DITA. I started looking at Word XML output and thought about transforming it with XSL (which I have done in the past), but that seemed to be too much trouble for this document. Then I remembered a technique an old SQL coder showed me for loading large amounts of data into a SQL table.  I realized this technique could be readily adapted to DITA.

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Managing technical communicators in an XML environment

To understand how XML changes technical communication, we need to step back and look at how the rise of information technology has changed the content development process. Through the 1970s, most technical communication work had separate writing, layout, and production phases. Authors wrote content, typically in longhand or on typewriters. Typesetters would then rekey the information to transfer it into the publishing system. The dedicated typesetting system would produce camera-ready copy, which was then mechanically reproduced on a printing press.
In a desktop publishing environment, authors could type information directly into a page layout program and set up the document design. This eliminated the inefficient process of re-entering information, and it often shifted the responsibility for document design to technical communicators.

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