Sunday, November 19, 2006

My colleague Mark Buffery has written a review of the XML and Structured Authoring course that he and Cathy Wain completed in October. You can see Mark's report on the web site of the UK chapter of the STC, the Society for Technical Communication.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Alan Houser, co-author of the "XML Weekend Crash Course" book and a leading Adobe-certified FrameMaker trainer and XML guru is currently running a week of specialised training courses at our office in Stockport. And this evening we spent an enjoyable hour with me showing Alan how XML entity conversions are controlled in the Trados translation memory system. Over the past three years, Alan has taught me a lot about XML and about the intricacies of Structured FrameMaker, so it was nice to be able to share some knowledge in return.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The DITA Europe 2006 conference in Frankfurt-am-Main was a big success. I went with my collague Cathy Wain, and we had a good time. There were over 100 delegates from across Europe. JoAnn Hackos and her colleagues Jennifer Linton and Kylene Bruski from Comtech Services did a super job of organising it and ensuring the conference ran smoothly. Jen and Kylene, by the way, are the authors of Introduction to DITA: A Basic User Guide to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture

For me, the most interesting session was Andrzej Zydron's presentation on DITA and Translation Best Practices. Although his presentation was focused on DITA, much of the material he presented relates to the translation XML in general. This presentation shared with us the recommended "best practices" drawn up by the OASIS DITA Translation Subcommittee. Much of it is common sense, such as putting index entries at the start of sentences or paragraphs. We also got into a fascinating discussion about the use of variables and entities in XML documentation. This is actually the modern-day equivalent of a problem that I outlined some years ago relating to the use of variables in software that is intended for localisation - you can read about that here. Andrzej and I don't always agree on everything, but our discussions are always fascinating, thought-provoking and enjoyable.

Finally, I had the pleasure of spending some time with Ian Larner from IBM. Ian is keen to set up a UK DITA users' group, which sounds like an exciting development. Follow this link for details of how to contact Ian.