Thursday, March 21st, 2013
Posted in North West England Area Group
The group met on 7th March for a presentation by Richard Pineger on ‘Exploring the XML of DITA’. Richard introduced the basic ideas behind DITA, then went on to demonstrate how they can be used in practice with the oXygen XML editing tool. We looked at how to create topics of different types, how oXygen helps the author to create valid DITA and how to publish the same content to four different outputs. Richard also demonstrated some of oXygen’s more powerful features, such as it’s Xpath search function – something I will definitely be making use of in future. Finally we looked at source control and how to use subversion to manage DITA content.
Richard demonstrated how it is possible for a lone author, using free or very affordable tools, to author successfully in DITA. The authoring tools (especially oXygen) are getting more user-friendly all the time and it gave me a lot of ideas on how to help my smaller clients, without the budget for a CCMS, begin their DITA journey.
Thursday, March 14th, 2013
Posted in Cambridge Area Group
Show and Tell – 16th April at 19:00.
Are you interested in making video for technical documentation and marketing, come and see how someone does it.
Join us on Tuesday 16th April at a new venue for an insight by Gerry Cavander on how his company does technical documentation.
Gerry will demonstrate the documentation tools used at ThirdLight and the key elements of the documentation design. Perhaps the highlight here is the use of video as an integral part of the tech doc and the marketing collateral. All tech doc and videos are produced in-house by Gerry who believes most Tech / Marcomm writers can and should use this format which still has a long way to go in terms of deployment techniques and scenarios.
For more information about the Intelligent Media Server made by ThirdLight please see their web site.
For more details on the new venue and how to get there and to book your free ticket go to EventBrite.
Tuesday, February 19th, 2013
Posted in North West England Area Group
Our next meeting will be on the 7th March
Title: Exploring the XML of DITA
Speaker: Richard Pineger
Location: MadLab, 36-40 Edge Street, Manchester, M4 1HN
Abstract: The web abounds with reasons to use DITA and information about the benefits of reuse and single-sourcing but, what do you actually DO? This talk dives into the detail to start to fill out the experience part of your exposure to DITA XML.
- The XML editor, map manager, and the topic editor
- xpath search and regular expressions
- Collaborative version control with subversion
- Simple XSL for making repeated changes
Booking: Reserve your place here http://xmldita.eventbrite.co.uk/#
Friday, February 15th, 2013
Posted in Latest News
The Technical Communication UK Conference (TCUK) 2013, hosted by the ISTC, is the flagship annual event for technical communicators in the UK. This year’s conference takes place in Bristol, on 24th- 26th September 2013, and the Call for Proposals is now open. You have until 5th April 2013 to submit your proposal.
Regardless of whether you want to present for the first time or you are a seasoned conference speaker, we want to hear from you. We don’t mind if you are new to technical communication or if you have worked in this field for ever, if you have something to say to other technical communicators then TCUK 2013 is your chance to say it.
Visit the Call for Proposals page for a list of suggested topics and for information on how to submit your proposal.
Thursday, February 14th, 2013
Posted in West of Scotland Area Group
At the February meeting of the West of Scotland area group, we were joined by Dr John Lynn from the Department of Computing, Communication and Interactive Systems, within the School of Engineering & Built Environment, at Glasgow Caledonian University. Dr Lynn wished to gauge technical communicators’ views on a potential new degree course that would include an element of technical writing instruction, and afterwards provided the following meeting report.
“Staff within the School of Engineering and Built Environment have been involved in a ten-year industrial collaboration with the Thales Group (Thales Optronics, Glasgow), during which time they have researched the conversion of paper-based technical publications to that of interactive media. This has evolved from laptop-based solutions and optical media to the development of apps for the iPad and tablet devices. As part of this investigation, the themes of skills development for existing technical authors, and the effective use of multimedia and forms of remote maintenance support (augmented reality systems) were also discussed. Coming from an interactive media development perspective, and not a traditional discipline of technical authorship, the university staff are seeking to engage with practicing technical authors to gauge and shape a possible postgraduate award intended for full and part-time/work-based learning delivery. This would be seen as a course which may also appeal to graduates of various disciplines, and would therefore require an element of technical writing instruction, as well as the development of skills in the use of tools and media capture and preparation.
From the meeting with the West of Scotland group, it was of great value to hear the opinions and experiences of technical authors, and to try and describe the elements of study within a masters programme. However, what is also taken on board is the need for more communication with the wider technical writing community, to gauge the potential uptake of such an academic course, and how such a course could be made attractive to employers (graduate placement / live projects, etc.). We are grateful for access to the meeting in Glasgow, and would like the opportunity to further our planning process and evidence gathering, gratefully accepting any assistance and advice the members of the ISTC could offer. My personal thanks to Katja McLaughlin, for her invitation to submit this feedback.”