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Technical writers often talk about the need to wear many hats in order to complete their projects. In today’s interview, we chat with Matt Lorenzi, a Technical Writer / Illustrator with a keen sense of how to leverage multiple skill sets and turn them into a career. So grab yourself a fresh cup of coffee and enjoy the discussion.
Now, on with the questions!
Q: Many people in the field focus on either technical writing or illustration. (more)
Jerry Pournelle has resumed publishing his computer review column, Chaos Manor Reviews, which was the successor to his influential Byte Magazine column. It’s been on hiatus for about three years, while he recovered from radiation therapy to treat a brain tumour. He’ll still be writing a monthly column, but it’ll be published in weekly installments.
Pournelle has been writing about computers for more than 30 years which brings a perspective to his column that many younger reviewers lack. While I don’t agree with his p (more)
Last week I showed how to integrate a sliding side panel into OxygenXML’s webhelp output. In this post, I show you how to integrate collapsible show/hide sections. As before, I’m using DITA as the structured content, which adds another element of complexity to the setup.Demo
For a demo of the show/hide functionality, see Show/Hide Demo.
In assessing an organization’s requirements, it’s important to identify content strategy burdens. That is, what practices or processes impose burdens on the organization? A content strategy burden might be an external cost, such as additional translation expense, or it might … Continue reading →
Here’s a largely forgotten piece of space exploration history. In 1952, the magazine Colliers assembled a panel of experts to develop a plan for the exploration of space, including trips to the moon and Mars. By modern standards, it was incredibly grandiose, and it probably wouldn’t have been practical, but it was certainly inspirational.
NASA has finally picked the companies that will build capsules to carry astronauts to the International Space Station. Both Boeing and SpaceX have been selected. Having two different vehicles (and launchers) is a good thing.
If you write developer documentation, you know that developers prefer code samples to narrative instruction. The beauty of code samples is that they provide context at a glance. You can see where variables should be declared, functions called, objects initialized, and so forth — all by just looking at the code. Trying to describe the same content narratively just doesn’t connect with users.
The problem is, you can only pepper the code with brief 1-2 line comments as instruction to users. These short signposts might be fine for advanced users, but for those times when you need mor (more)
The novels of Italian author Elena Ferrante are getting a lot of attention, but “Elena Ferrante” doesn’t actually exist. The writer behind the pen name prefers anonymity and shies away from publicity. Creators of corporate content should take a few … Continue reading →
Some may ask why the United States should play this role. Well, no one country is doing enough. We have the expertise and the personnel to tackle this chall (more)
Documenting APIs (application programming interfaces) is one of the most difficult tasks for technical writers. But if you have the talent and some programming knowledge, it can be rewarding, both intellectually and financially. Writers who can document code are in high demand and are paid at the high end of the scale.
The September issue of the STC Intercom is entirely dedicated to API documentation. I had the opportunity to act as guest editor for this issue. As guest editor, I helped select the topics, find the writers, and did some editing on the articles. I also wrote a foreword to the articles. It was a pretty cool experience altogether.