A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Soltys, Keith

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Review: Book Reviews in Technical Communication

This page provides links to book reviews related to technical communication. I am looking for book reviews to publish. Please email me if you have a review that you would like to see published here. Note that this is a non-commercial site -- I don't pay for reviews.

Soltys, Keith. IRTC. Articles>Reviews>TC


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.

Soltys, Keith. TechWhirl.com (2012). Articles>Publishing>Online>eBooks


Cascading Style Sheets - An Overview

The commercialisation of the Web led to demands for advanced formatting control. Netscape and Internet Explorer quickly became the dominant Web browsers. Each had different ways of handling advanced formatting. Cascading Style Sheets are an attempt to return to structural markup by separating format from content.

Soltys, Keith. IRTC (2001). Design>Web Design>CSS


Review: DITA Open Toolkit GUI

I just spent some time playing with this tool and find it a clean, quick alternative to the more complex Echidna/WinANT tool. DITAOT-GUI provides a simple interface, allowing users to select a map, DITAVAL filter, output location and output type. It bypasses the need to create a build file but therefore does not allow the use of parameters and properties to specify additional aspects of the build.

Soltys, Keith. Core Dump (2010). Articles>Reviews>Software>DITA


Do Technical Writers Need Certification?

Personally, I’d rather see it done as a series of courses and tests covering major areas of the profession. Basing it on a portfolio immediately cuts out a large portion of the writing community who produce proprietary material. Most writers would probably be better off pursuing an advanced degree like an MA from a university that offers a technical communication program.

Soltys, Keith. Core Dump (2010). Careers>Certification>Technical Writing


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.

Soltys, Keith. Techwhirl.com (2011). Articles>Documentation>Standards>eBooks


Internet Resources for Technical Communicators

This page contains links to Internet resources for technical writers (or if you prefer, technical communicators).

Soltys, Keith. IRTC. Resources>Directories>Online


Interview with Creator of EServer TC Library

Back in 1194, when I started my Internet Resources for Technical Communicators site, and for a very brief period of time (maybe six months), I was able to list most of the technical communication resources available on the Internet. (My site was, I am told, one of the first 10,000 web sites). But I quickly gave up on the idea of trying to index all of the available resources – I didn’t have the time or the technical capability. Fortunately, other people have been able to do that and we now have the EServer TC Library, which has the goal “to provide tech comm practitioners, students, teachers and managers a comprehensive single location from which to find and access the complete body of knowledge in our field.”

Soltys, Keith. Core Dump (2008). Articles>Interviews>TC>Online


IRTC Copyright and Intellectual Property

This page is a list of links to sites that contain information about copyright.

Soltys, Keith. IRTC (2001). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright


IRTC Desktop Publishing and Graphics

This is a list of resources related to desktop publishing and graphics. I'm including things like icons and wallpaper in the graphics category.

Soltys, Keith. IRTC (2001). Design>Document Design>Graphic Design


IRTC Downloads

This page provides links to files that people have provided to me to host for downloading. I am looking for files to add to this section, for example, collections of useful macros, templates, or useful utilities. Please email me if you have something you would like to see published here.

Soltys, Keith. IRTC. Resources>Software>TC


IRTC Language Resources

This is a list of resources related to language, including online reference tools like dictionaries and style guides.

Soltys, Keith. IRTC. Reference>Style Guides


IRTC Web Publishing

This page is for resources related to Web design and publishing, and for more advanced topics, such as, CGI, Perl, Javascript, and Java. Links related specifically to the HTML language used to produce WWW documents and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are on the HTML page.

Soltys, Keith. IRTC. Design>Web Design


Multiple-File Search and Replace Utilities in Windows

This is a review of some multiple-file search and replace utilities for the Windows operating system. One limitation in Windows is the lack of a good search and replace utility. I've often needed to do a search or search and replace across multiple files. While Windows does have a decent Find utility, it doesn't search and replace. I've found a couple of programs that address this limitation.

Soltys, Keith. IRTC (2001). Resources>Software>Editing


Online Help and Documentation

The following list is for resources related to the production of online help and for discussion of online communication in general. The Online Help section was originally for Windows Help only, but can now be taken to include other forms of online help, such as HTML Help and JavaHelp.

Soltys, Keith. IRTC. Resources>Documentation>Online


PowerPoint Frustrates Student

I'm not a fan of PowerPoint. I've sat through too many deadly dull presentations by people who didn't know how to make a presentation interesting. So it saddens me to find out that universities have been infected by the PowerPoint virus. At least the students will be prepared for the real world when they graduate.

Soltys, Keith. Core Dump (2009). Articles>Presentations>Software

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