Track: Tools & Technology

Many DITA and component content management implementations begin and end with technical communications. But is that all there is? Can you extend the value of DITA to other functional areas such as training and support? Our answer is “Yes.” This presentation takes a look at the opportunities and challenges for cross functional sharing of information with training organizations and helps you look ahead to what’s next in your journey to deliver on the full benefit of shared content.
In this presentation, we will provide a roadmap for success that addresses the following topics:

  • Making the business case
  • Identifying the information design that links your implementation with the business case
  • Evaluating your learning model and content for use with DITA
  • Overcoming such objections from the learning community as we have to use PowerPoint
  • Leveraging the functionality of the DITA learning and training specialization including linking such
  • features as aligning learning objectives and certification questions to content
Autumn Cuellar
Associate Product Manager, Design Science, Inc.

MathML is a well-known and widely-used standard for encoding mathematics within XML workflows, but what you may not know is that MathML is not just a standard that affects your internal workflow, used only for storage and converted to images when you need to present your content to your audience.

MathML is a key part of the digital publishing revolution towards enriched content. Its recent inclusion into the HTML5 and EPUB 3 standards is helping to bring to fruition the promise of interactive content for math-based industries around the world. In this session, attendees will learn how the Math Stack, consisting of MathML, MathJax, HTML5, and EPUB 3, can enhance your math content in this exciting digital publishing era.


Documentation teams are stressing out as their software teams move to iterative development methods like Agile and Continuous Integration. The pace is faster than they are used to, and it requires working as part of the dev team. We see new roles emerging for technical communicators in this environment. We’ll discuss the types of relationships we’ve seen (including in our own company) and how the workflow changes. We’ll discuss the benefits of using DITA for tight collaboration between the software engineering team and the information developers. We would demo integrating DITA with Agile planning tools (Jira), QA (testrails), and release management. Basically this is “Doc First” on steroids, using DITA for creating agile Use Cases, Test Scripts, and topic-oriented documentation delivered in live systems.

Charles Cooper
Vice President, The Rockley Group

We spend our lives interacting with things. For many different reasons; for enjoyment, for education, for relaxation. But for many years, we’ve reduced the interaction level or “flattened out” the experiences we offer our users and focused on getting our content out on paper. And that made sense—as paper was the dominant method of sharing information, we did the best we could with what we had.

However, as technology has become more advanced (and pervasive) we’ve moved to PCs, then laptops and now mobile devices—phones and tablets. And as this mobile technology becomes more powerful we’re starting to do new things with it. We don’t just look at one screen; we look at two or even three at the same time. We watch one screen while referencing another. Text isn’t enough. We expect video, audio, and augmented reality. We’re starting to share information between screens and use and share experiences between our screens and those of our friends.

Join Charles Cooper, VP of The Rockley Group, as he provides examples of new methods of sharing information, interacting with our customers, and guidelines and pointers for implementing these new technologies.

Don Day
Contelligence Group

Adaptive content is a timely consideration for improving user experience on the Web. But Web standards fall short of providing consistent tools to guide content authors and application developers, and the XML standards that can provide that consistency often raise the adoption bar too high. A solution lies in using valid XML template documents to drive the setup of Web content editing forms and applications. We’ll show how to use DITA XML templates to guide the creation of Web content that is easy to maintain and integrate with responsive themes and adaptive Web applications.

Jim Tivy

Jim will explore the use of terminology for authors and readers showing how DITA and DITA enabled tools can exploit terminology to its fullest potential.

In discourse, not all words are created equal. Certain words are central to understanding a subject and other words are not. The organization and consistent use of these important terms, the terminology, is essential to clear communication. Fundamentally, planned and controlled terminology is used by authors in writing and editing, and it is further used by readers searching in glossaries and indexes. Writing tools must make the tasks of authors easy. For example, current DITA writing tools must provide access to terminology lists. Furthermore, search and browse systems in a CMS or online knowledgebase must incorporate terminology to make content quickly findable and understandable for authors and readers.

Technical communication managers often plan how terms will be used in technical communication with an eye to maximizing the value of these terms to both the writers and end customers. This talk lays a framework for understanding where terms are established by the writers and where terms can be used by writers and end customers.

Julie Atkins and Mike McGinnis
Senior Technical Writer, Tridium

Tridium has been looking critically at ways to address the information architect problem and general process issues for content maintenance. They’re concerned about new authors transitioning from a book-paradigm to a topic-paradigm writing style. Information architects are great, but it’s a hard role to hold and harder still for many people to track the real web that gets constructed when content splits into many little topics, which are reused in many different places and contexts. It has been an interesting journey, and they’re trying things that are inside and outside their comfort zones to find something that works best for their team and their content.

In this presentation, you will hear about one team’s journey to develop strategies to author documentation in a DITA world, methodologies for improving reuse visibility to ease the burden on the authoring team, and how they have not only engineered their content, but also their processes and collaboration methods to successfully take the entire team into a new dynamic publishing world. You’ll get practical advice that you can use right away.

Kristen Cokeley and Liz Fraley
Medtronic, Single Sourcing Solutions

Medtronic ENT deployed a brand-new DITA solution, employing all the traditional strategies and best practices for DITA such as specializing only where absolutely necessary and adopting minimalist approach to topic-based authoring. As a global organization, they had a lot of resources to draw upon when architecting their design.

In addition to all the standard reasons and benefits that DITA brings, they had two specific goals. First, they wanted to take control of content that had a complex organizational responsibility and ownership matrix. Several content components which have multiple uses in both customer documentation and federal filing; and, the authoring and ownership of this content belongs to different organizations in the enterprise at different times during the product lifecycle.

Second, they wanted to avoid customization wherever possible. Other divisions hadn’t managed to avoid building software tools or doing heavy customizations. Rather than developing extensive customizations to their content management system or to the tools that join different organizations and parts of the process, they applied methodologies from the disciplines of library science, change management, and process management. This approach not only had significant cost savings at implementation time, but it secured their system against lengthy and complicated upgrade cycles going forward as well.

In this presentation, they’ll describe their metadata content strategy for efficient content retrieval and the content management system that provided mechanisms out-of-the box to apply methodologies from these disciplines bodies of work to rigidly control their content and provide guarantees that met the stringent regulations that govern medical device companies like theirs.


Looking to convert your legacy content to DITA? Traditional best practices suggest that you need to clearly understand beforehand what content you want to convert, and when. And the more time you can spend preparing your content upfront, the more straightforward the conversion process will be. However, even the best laid plans can quickly become de-railed as the inconsistencies and peculiarities of your existing documents become apparent during the conversion process. We will consider these issues and show just how quick, easy and affordable conversion to DITA can be using the Migrate cloud conversion service, placing documentation teams in full control of the conversion process.

Marta Rauch
Principal Information Developer, Oracle

Join Google Glass explorer Marta Rauch for a look at Google Glass and its current features, apps, and user experience. Learn how Glass is being used in the fields of medicine, sports, news, and education, and get a glimpse of use cases for enterprise and gamification.

Neil Perlin
Hyper/Word Services

The latest versions of help authoring tools like Flare and RoboHelp have moved far beyond their online help roots to become powerful multichannel authoring tools that can single-source output to ebooks, web apps, HTML5-based web apps, and even native Apple and Android apps. The mechanics of moving traditional help projects to mobile are surprisingly simple. It’s in interface design, information design, and content features that things can get messy.

In this session, you’ll learn about:

  • The three main types of mobile supported by help authoring tools and the importance of defining your specific mobile outputs.
  • The main interface differences between traditional online help and different types of mobile.
  • Content analysis to determine what help authoring tool features work, may work, and won’t work in different mobile outputs.
  • Time permitting, we’ll also take a look at the emerging set of GUI tools that can convert a traditional web site to mobile form and the problems that can arise with legacy content.

Anonymous case study on how migrating to DITA helped a major insurance company to make their policies and procedures easier to use and more readily accessible to their agents. DITA not only supported multichannel delivery to PDF (for Print and Download) as well as a live content server to step through procedures in an interactive interface that includes text to speech, keeping agents focused on their tasks on-line. The key message is that using structured content helped improve search precision and recall – returning relevant portions of large reference documents – even including rows from massive tables. ROI was focused on call center call diversion. The goal was to make Agents independent so the support and underwriting call centers could focus on hard questions and helping to grow business – not answer dumb questions like How To questions about entering data in the system to get a quote.


People want the same experience with technical documentation that they have on Facebook, Google, Amazon, or Twitter. It must be fast, fun, and efficient. But the reality is far from that. While authoring solutions have greatly evolved over the last ten years, their publishing counterparts are still stuck in a static “flat and fat” HTML or PDF based document generation model delivering a poor user experience.

By switching from this print-oriented view to a new topics- web- and user-centric approach, organizations have a tremendous opportunity to leverage their documentation, provide new features and improve their customer relationship.

After having gone through the analysis of what is wrong with publishing technical documentation today, see how to create a new user experience using Antidot Fluid Topics — taking full advantage of the structured documentation approach to integrate the principles of dynamic semantic publishing.