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Content operations Podcast Podcast transcript Tools XML

Balancing CMS and CCMS implementation (podcast, part 1)

In episode 142 of The Content Strategy Experts Podcast, Gretyl Kinsey and Christine Cuellar discuss balancing the implementation of a content management system (CMS), and component content management system (CCMS). This is part one of a two-part podcast.

“When you have two types of content produced by your organization and different groups in charge of that, and maybe they’re in two different systems, that it’s really important to get those groups working together so that they can understand that those priorities don’t need to be competing, they just need to be balanced.”

— Gretyl Kinsey

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Content operations DITA Podcast Podcast transcript XML

What is LearningDITA? (podcast)

In episode 141 of The Content Strategy Experts Podcast, Alan Pringle and Christine Cuellar discuss the story behind LearningDITA, the free DITA training created by the Scriptorium team.

What we are trying to do with this site is give people a free resource where they can go and, at their own pace, learn about what DITA is and how it can apply to their content and their content processes. It’s a way to take some of the technical mystique out of it, to bring it down and help you learn what it is and how it works.

– Alan Pringle

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Content operations XML

Replatforming structured content

Scriptorium is doing a lot of replatforming projects. We have customers with existing structured content—custom XML, DocBook, and DITA—who need to move their content operations from their existing CCMS to a new system.

These transitions, even DITA to DITA, require a solid business justification. Replatforming structured content is annoying and expensive. Most often, the organization’s needs have changed, and the current platform is no longer a good fit.

Note: This post focuses on transitions into DITA. There are surely DITA to not-DITA projects out there, but they are not in our current portfolio.

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Content strategy White papers XML

Structured authoring and XML

Coauthored by Sarah O’Keefe and Alan Pringle

First published in 2001.

Structured authoring and XML represent a significant paradigm shift in content creation. Implementing structured authoring with XML allows organizations to enforce content organization requirements. The addition of hierarchy and metadata to content improves reuse and content management. These benefits, however, must be weighed against the effort required to implement a structured authoring approach. The business case is compelling for larger writing organizations; they will be the first to adopt structured authoring. Over time, improvements in available tools will reduce the cost of implementing structured authoring and make it affordable for smaller organizations.

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Before XML, improve DTP

Thinking about migrating unstructured content to XML? Take a hard look at your existing desktop publishing workflow. The maturity of your DTP process will have a big impact on a move to XML.

Following a template-based DTP workflow is not just about implementing best-practice processes. Templates make a potential move to XML less expensive and painful.

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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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Content strategy XML

XML: The death of creativity in technical writing?

Originally published in STC Intercom, February 2010

I spend a lot of time giving presentations on XML, structured authoring, and related technologies. The most common negative reaction, varied only in the level of hostility, is “Why are you stifling my creativity?”

Does XML really mean the Death of Creativity for technical communicators? And does creativity even belong in technical content?

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Handling XSL:FO’s memory issue with large page counts

Formatting Object (FO) processors (FOP, in particular) often fail with memory errors when processing very large documents for PDF output. Typically in XSL:FO, the body of a document is contained in a single fo:page-sequence element. When FO documents are converted to PDF output, the FO processor holds an entire fo:page-sequence in memory to perform pagination adjustments over the span of the sequence. Very large page counts can result in memory overflows or Java heap space errors.

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Managing implementation of structured authoring

An updated version of this white paper is in Content Strategy 101. Read the entire book free online, or download the free EPUB edition.

Moving a desktop publishing–based workgroup into structured authoring requires authors to master new concepts, such as hierarchical content organization, information chunking with elements, and metadata labeling with attributes. In addition to these technical challenges, the implementation itself presents significant difficulties. This paper describes Scriptorium Publishing’s methodology for implementing structured authoring environments. This document is intended primarily as a roadmap for our clients, but it could be used as a starting point for any implementation.

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The ABCs of XML

STC Intercom, September/October 2009

XML is rapidly becoming part of the required knowledge for technical communicators. This article discusses the three most important reasons that you should consider XML: automation, baseline architecture, and consistency.

Download the PDF PDF file (144K)

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