Standard for user assistance?

Sarah O'Keefe / OpinionLeave a Comment

There’s growing interest in establishing a standard for user assistance. Microsoft’s announcement that Vista will not include a new help viewer may be largely responsible. To me, though, there’s a bigger issue. If you have a requirement to deliver cross-browser, cross-platform help, your output choices … Read More

Different weight classes?

Sarah O'Keefe / OpinionLeave a Comment

During the past year, MadCap Software has emerged with the new Flare, a help authoring tool clearly intended to replace RoboHelp. MadCap has several former Blue Sky/eHelp/Macromedia employees. After Macromedia sunsetted RoboHelp, a core group of RoboHelp developers left (or were laid off) to form … Read More

Non-technical problems

Sarah O'Keefe / Opinion2 Comments

Norm Walsh has posted a provocative discussion of DITA and DocBook on his blog (a writeup of a presentation he delivered at the recent DITA 2006 conference). My favorite part, though, is an explanation of a typical consulting sales process. The technical part of an … Read More

Worst Error Message Ever.

Sarah O'Keefe / OpinionLeave a Comment

FrameMaker’s new XSL support is fantastic. It lets me specify that I want HTML Help output from inside FrameMaker. The error messages, however, are less fantastic. If you provide an XSL transformation file with a syntax error, you will probably make the acquaintance of the … Read More

To DITA or not to DITA?

Sarah O'Keefe / Opinion1 Comment

In a recent discussion on the STCCIC-SIG list, Mark Baker of Analecta Communications provided an excellent analysis of DocBook, DITA, and how they are not the same thing as XML. (The discussion is reproduced here with Mark’s permission.) The original question was this: How specifically … Read More

Printing and economics

Sarah O'Keefe / OpinionLeave a Comment

Before the invention of movable type, book publishing was technologically possible, but prohibitively expensive. Printing involved carving the contents of a page onto a wooden block — backwards — and then basically stamping that ink-covered block onto a page. Each wooden block was usable only … Read More