Social media is a powerhouse of ever flowing information, tinged with experiences and opinions of many users, across diverse stages of learning, maturity and understanding. A decade ago, when technical writing was struggling to find a stronghold in the Indian IT industry, the greatest impetus came from the use of online groups and mailing lists. Islands of information and individual aspirants conjoined at an online abode, where they shared details of jobs, tools, technical trainings, and challenges. In the absence of established courses and training institutes, most technical writers were learning the intricacies of the usage of authoring tools through chats, forums, and blogs. The online availability of industry-wide authoring standards and trends has helped technical writers to think and write from the perspective of global users, and also come of age, in terms of international competition.
Archive for the 'technical publications' Category
Google Wave is a new tool for communication and collaboration on the web, coming later this year. Google Wave introduces a new platform built around hosted conversations called wave. With the Google Wave APIs, developers can take advantage of this collaborative system by building on the Google Wave platform, and allowing people to communicate and [...]
While WYSIWYG became one of the most commonly used phrases in Technical Publications, it also became a misnomer, for developers and technical writers working with various HATs, and word processors realized that many times what they actually saw in the editor didn’t usually match the results. WYSIWYG was becoming a fallacy and the reality was closer to the description of WYSIOP (What You See is One Possibility).
The 20th century is the age of structured authoring and optimizing information reuse. Interactive media, content and learning management systems, authoring tools, and the need for diverse and multi-output documentation to support the upsurge in application development, as well in consumer-focused mechanizations, have given end-user based technical documentation a professional status.
The planning, collaborating and analyzing responsibilities provide on-the-job training for a documentation manager’s role. It opens one’s perspective to challenges of good documentation, the need and pressure of working with various stakeholders within specified deadlines, collating and analyzing data to generate appropriate metrics, and most importantly, accountability for the quality of a deliverable.
Many people believe that having a technical bent of mind, or college degree, is the key to success in this field. This is only partially true, because the master key of this field is held in the word “writing.” To become a successful technical writer, it is imperative to be a writer, i.e. to have the required dexterity to write and express effectively. With a generous sprinkling of common sense, the power of observation, the desire to experiment and learn, innovate and initiate and ample research and analysis, one can embark upon this career and continue to gain knowledge of the technical bits.
So, when I was asked to make a user guide in MS-Word for a web-application, I did the needful, but also went a step-ahead to offer an online help, which could be integrated into the application. Customers are happy when you offer them a little more than what they accept; and needless to say my customer was glad. The only glitch being nobody wanted to offer me a licensed tool.
The XML processing model is widely supported by a number of vendors. The class-based extension mechanism in DITA translates well to the design features of the XSLT and CSS style sheet languages defined by the World Wide Web Consortium and supported in many transformation tools, editors, and browsers.
The toolkit continues to be the foundation of most publishing of DITA content. Many DITA users use it directly, and some DITA authoring tools and content management tools now integrate parts of the toolkit into their own publishing workflows.
I have often mulled upon the career progression for technical communicators. A technical communicator can always choose to write, review and publish through his/her professional life but there is significant risk of stagnation, because of three reasons: • In the same project/organization or domain the documentation will soon become robust and the documentation repository will [...]