Content Production (Publishing)

TechWhirl articles on how to effectively prepare your content for distribution.

Rethinking content

Rethinking Content from Paper to Tablets, Mobile Screens and ePubs

Obviously the world has changed for those who engage in content creation, and Maxwell Hoffman believes it's time technical communicators began rethinking content creation. He devoted his LavaCon 2012 presentation to showing how to break authoring habits associated with traditional computer screens and paper. Continue reading ...

Trends in Publishing E-Books: Impressions from Four LavaCon Sessions

E-books are not a new, or even recent, phenomenon. I encountered my first e-book no later than 1994 (although it might have been earlier) with Project Gutenberg, which was started by Michael Hart in 1971 when he started typing classic texts into his mainframe computer terminal. But the role of e-books has changed drastically in the past few years, and now more e-books are sold than hardcover books. Continue reading ...

Pulling Help Authoring Content into Native Apps

As a consultant in the world of help authoring and documentation for more than 20n years, Neil Perlin knows a thing or two about help authoring. This session at LavaCon 2012 focused on bringing content produced via help authoring into native apps, with eye towards understand the distinction between web apps and native apps. Continue reading ...

Adobe FrameMaker 11 Review (Full): The Good, the Bad, and the Structured Author

FrameMaker is as close to an industry standard tool that we technical communicators have. FrameMaker isn’t for everyone in every circumstance, but absolute cost should be the last factor to consider; value for your money should be the first. I can honestly tell you that I have four different versions of FrameMaker installed on my machine, and I see the value in every upgrade. Continue reading ...

top 12 technical communication articles 2

Building E-Books: A Tool Overview for Technical Writers

As e-books become another option for publishing technical content, writers are faced with more choices among the tools to produce them. In my previous articles on e-book readers and formats, I noted the similarities between e-book formats and the online help formats that technical writers have been using for many years. In this article, I’ll look at some of the tools you can use to create EPUB books, the most common e-book format. I’ll also show how you can convert an EPUB to Amazon’s Kindle format. Continue reading ...

EPUB and eBooks: Formats, Setup, Production Workflows and Foreign Language Text Lessons from WritersUA

eBooks are a hot topic for technical writers and user assistance professionals right now, and WritersUA 2012 featured three sessions about eBooks and electronic publishing: EPUB: Putting It All Together, by Scott Prentice; eBook Production Workflows, by Joshua Tallent; and The Current State of Foreign Language Text in eBooks, also by Joshua Tallent Continue reading ...

Session Summary: Using Adobe Captivate to Enhance Your eLearning and Help Files

Joe Ganci of Dazzletech knows the importance of capturing a user’s attention, especially when writing help that affects a user’s safety. Joe holds a degree in Computer Science and is a published author, having written several books, research papers and many articles about eLearning. He is widely considered a guru for his expertise in eLearning development and teaches classes and seminars at commercial companies, government facilities, leading universities and at many industry conferences, where he has often served as keynote speaker. At his WritersUA session on enhancing eLearning and Help with Captivate, Joe showed us some great effects in Adobe Captivate that can be used to hook the user and transmit information more effectively. Continue reading ...

E-Book Formats

Most technical writers understand online help formats and have worked with at least one over the years. Help file format have evolved from man pages (manual pages in UNIX in the early 1970’s) and HLP files through CHM files and the plethora of HTML-based formats that we have now. E-Book formats are similar in many respects to the common online help formats, but with one crucial difference; they’re designed to work on the small screens of today’s e-readers and tablets. Continue reading ...