DITA for Print

Book Review: Get “DITA for Print” Before You Start Customizing

I picked up my signed copy of DITA for Print: A DITA Open Toolkit Workbook at LavaCon 2013. After flipping through a few chapters, I quickly realized that I would have saved an enormous amount of time and frustration if I had had Leigh White’s book before I struggled through figuring this process out on my own, as such, I decided to start over again from scratch and do things right. Continue reading ...

Product Documentation as Conversation

Book Review: Conversation and Community — The Social Web for Documentation

Anne Gentle has been involved in creating documentation in wikis for awhile now. In the 2009 first edition of Conversation and Community: The Social Web for Documentation, she offered her experiments as a practical guide to persuading management to bring users into your documentation projects. In the expanded second edition, Gentle adds the experiences of other technical communicators to make the case for taking advantage of passionate users to create the best possible docs for your software. Continue reading ...

Prepare for a Challenging Content Management Swim

Alan Porter has an extensive background in technical communications, so I was thrilled when I learned his recently published book, The Content Pool, spoke to the exact topic I was struggling with at work, knowledge and content management and providing an ROI to senior executives. I was eager to get started, but I struggled with the book’s length and unfriendliness to someone on the job trying to get the gist and apply/implement it. Continue reading ...

A Friendlier, Breezier and Technical Writing Style Reference

One thing caught my eye right away with the Fourth Edition of the “Microsoft Manual of Style: Your everyday guide to usage, terminology, and style for professional technical communications,” (2012) by Microsoft Press. What was it? It was the title—slightly changed from that of the Third Edition. The Third Edition proclaims that it is the “Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications: Your everyday guide to usage, terminology, and style for professional technical communications.” Continue reading ...

Book Review: Insider’s Guide to Technical Writing

The Insider’s Guide to Technical Writing, by Krista Van Laan, was inspired by The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Technical Writing,” which she co-authored with Catherine Julian and published via Alpha Books in 2001. The Idiot’s Guide drew fire from those who were disenchanted by the phrase “complete idiot” in the title. Several names were up for discussion on the TechWhirl email discussion list last summer. The Insider’s Guide won, and rightly so. Continue reading ...