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Lunch-time talk on API technical writing

I’ll be speaking at the lunchtime meeting of the Sydney CBD Technical Writers’ Group on Wednesday 6th August. This group is led by Bede Sunter on behalf of the Australian Society for Technical Communication NSW. The session is free of charge, and open to all. You’re invited! (Please bring your own lunch.)

The talk is titled, “API Technical Writing: What, Why, and How“.

Have you ever wondered what API technical writers do, and how they go about it? Perhaps you’d like to move into developer-focused documentation yourself, and need some tips (more)

Location of Technical Authors – new data added to the map

Cherryleaf Technical Authors blog - 8 hours 57 min ago
The Institute of Technical Communicators has kindly provided us with additional data for our Location of Technical Authors map. They’ve supplied us with an anonymised list of the location of...

[[ For the full article, see]] (more)

Reviewing draft DITA content with subject matter experts: 6 essential points - Thu, 07/31/2014 - 10:51

Lately I have been exploring different ways to let subject matter experts review DITA content. In a previous post, I explored using easyDITA to facilitate the review. In this post, I’ll explore OxygenXML’s Webhelp with Feedback output for conducting the reviews.

What makes for a good review process?

By far the best review method I’ve (more)

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Firehead - Thu, 07/31/2014 - 06:30
For once this isn’t the start of one of our ‘interview panic question’ posts. The Firehead blog has just celebrated its 5th birthday. To celebrate we’re looking back at how far we’ve come since we started blogging in the summer of 2009 … Continue reading →

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]] (more)

Derek McCulloch and Anthony Peruzzo on Displaced Persons

Core Dump 2.0 - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 18:52

Next week, Displaced Persons, a graphic novel by Derek McCulloch and Anthony Peruzzo hits the comic stores, with general release later in the month. I mentioned earlier in the month that you could look at a preview of book online. Now you can read a long interview with the author (Derek) and artist (Anthony).

I’m really excited that this book is finally coming out. I was an advance re (more)

Show some respect for invisible illnesses! - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 14:01
Let’s get some respect for people with invisible illnesses here, OK? The Molly’s Fund blog has an explanation about invisible illness that you should go read. That link is courtesy of @pfanderson – thank you! However, that post has two images of things to say and things not to say to someone with an invisible […] 0 (more)

My DITA quick reference guide (QRG) - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 11:18

My DITA quick reference guide, or DITA QRG, is available on my menu bar and here: This DITA QRG consists of my own notes for working with DITA.

My DITA quick reference guide

Why create this quick reference guide? There’s a lot to know about DITA. If you look at the DITA 1.2 spec there are many, many el (more)

Is it ok for technical communicators to experiment on users?

Cherryleaf Technical Authors blog - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 09:44
BBC News is reporting the OKCupid Website has revealed that it experimented on its users. It decided to reveal the tests after the discovery that Facebook had been manipulating the feeds of its...

[[ For the full article, see]] (more)

MIF2GO now free, open source

Core Dump 2.0 - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 18:47

MIF2GO, the fine FrameMaker plug-in to cnvert FrameMaker to Word, is now free and open source following the death of OmniSys founder Jeremy Griffiths. This was posted on several mailing lists today by Carolyn Stallard:

FrameMaker plug-in Mif2Go is available for download, at no charge:

Join the new Mif2Go list:

DITA2Go is available for download:

Join the new (more)

DITA content strategy

Scriptorium blog - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 08:30

How can you implement DITA content strategy? Is DITA itself a content strategy? The answer is a resounding no. DITA is an architecture. DITA and content strategy are related, but “we use DITA” is not a content strategy. The content strategy process goes … Continue reading →

The post DITA content strategy appeared first on Scriptorium Publishing.< (more)

Book Review: The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt - Sun, 07/27/2014 - 12:27

I don’t often review fiction on this site because I made a decision long ago to brand this site as being specifically about tech comm. But a couple of recent posts by my blogging friends (Neil Kaplan and Sarah Maddox) remind me that it’s good to show more than one side of a person. I wouldn’t want you to thin (more)

Hobbies and pastimes of technical writers everywhere

ffeathers - a technical writer's blog - Sun, 07/27/2014 - 00:30

Hallo fellow techcomm folks! Do you have a hobby?

Mine is fairly pedestrian. I like to go walking in the bush. It blows away the cobwebs. Well, actually, I often have to blow away the cobwebs myself. They festoon the pathways in the early morning. It’s best to keep your mouth closed when strolling in the Australian bush, or you’ll find yourself spitting spiders.

Sometimes a bird pops out and does something interesting, and I (more)

Writing documentation in an interactive world: Some thoughts on using easyDITA and OxygenXML - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 03:32

Since moving to DITA, I’ve tried to settle on best practices and determine the authoring method that works best for me. I started out using OxygenXML, which is one of the most popular DITA editors. I like OxygenXML because it’s easy to work with the code. OxygenXML knows when to show you a list of all possible elements or values you can insert in your topic at any time.

For example, if you type <note type=", the editor prompts you with values you can choose from.


Anti-Semite! (This is a language post.)

Save the Semicolon - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 00:01

If you’re at all interested in language, or in English, then you already know that words change meaning. And not only do they change meaning, but sometimes they’re coined to mean something other than what you might expect. For example, if someone calls you a “mouth-breather,” then you should know that you’re being insulted. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but someone thinks that you’re stupid.

Now, there are probably extremely bright people who momentar (more)

SpaceX Falcon 9 ocean landing video

Core Dump 2.0 - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 05:24

Here’s video of the SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage landing in the ocean after the last launch. Good video this time, but they need wipers for the camera lens. I can’t wait to see them bring one back to the Cape.


Technical communication as a brand – The CEO and the technical communicator

Cherryleaf Technical Authors blog - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 02:38
Since I wrote the post on Technical communication as a brand, we’ve been working on an idea we had for promoting the profession. The end result is another story, another free graphic novel...

[[ For the full article, see]] (more)

Planning your content strategy pilot project

Scriptorium blog - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 09:45

Your content strategy is approved. Your tools are in place. Now it’s time to crank up—your pilot project, that is. Consider these tips when mapping out your content strategy pilot project. Your pilot project is a proof of concept—not perfection … Continue reading →

The post Planning your content strategy pilot project appeared first on (more)

Questions From My July 18 STC Webinar on CSS

Hyper/Word Services' Technology Blog - Sun, 07/20/2014 - 16:05
Mary C: Does RoboHelp provide a basic CSS that one can adapt?Yes. When you create a new RH project, RH automatically creates a basic CSS called default.css. You can use this CSS and modify its properties, or (my suggestion) copy it, save the copy with a name that ties it to the project or (better) your company (in order to be able to apply it to multiple projects), and modify its properties.
Ellen C: Is it possible to create unnumbered items in a numbered list in Word?Yes, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to do that the way you would in HTML and CSS (or else I couldn’t find it). To (more)

One small step

Core Dump 2.0 - Sun, 07/20/2014 - 13:35

July 20, 1969.


How we record videos for our online training courses

Cherryleaf Technical Authors blog - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 08:59
We’re just starting to record the video inserts for a new online training course we’re developing. As I’ll presenting at the TCUK 2014 conference on on this topic, I thought...

[[ For the full article, see]] (more)