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Alternatives to Formatting XML Editors for Creating Structured Information

XML editors have traditionally been modeled after the first SGML editor written in 1985, a long time before creating, managing, and distributing structured information was well understood. Now, nearly 20 years later, there are more choices for users interested in creating structured information. Specifically, this presentation discusses alternatives that include Web-based distributed collaborative XML document creation, "tag-free" tools, non-formatting structured editors, and even using common office tools in creating your XML documents.

Daldt, Dale. IDEAlliance (2004). Articles>Software>Information Design>XML


Appreciating Libxslt

The two most well-known XSLT processors are probably the Apache project's Xalan (available in both a Java and C++ version) and the Java-based Saxon, which was written by XSLT 2.0 specification editor Michael Kay. If those are the only two XSLT processors you currently use, it's worth checking out Daniel Veillard's libxslt.

DuCharme, Bob. XML.com (2005). Articles>Information Design>Software>XSL


Creating XML Trees with the XmlTextWriter and XmlDocument Objects

So you know all about reading and parsing XML files, and even checking if they're well-formed and valid. Now, take a step into more advanced territory with this expose of two objects that let you dynamically create well-formed XML documents in your ASP.NET scripts.

ASP Free (2004). Articles>Information Design>Software>XML


Detecting JBIG2 Compression

How can I tell if JBIG2 compression was used on my PDF file?

Rosenthol, Leonard. PDFzone (2004). Articles>Information Design>Software>Adobe Acrobat


DITA Tools 1 (Planning)

The IBM Information Architecture Workbench is an Eclipse-based freeware that I find marvellously handy for organising my thoughts and then committing those thoughts to DITA files. With it, I can model my ditamaps, generate DITA stub files* for the ditamap nodes, and edit the DITA files. Plus, if I draw a line from File A to File B, it gets registered in the ditamap's relationship table. All pretty neat and clean. It shows me, visually, how my topics are arranged in my book (and lets me move around files with a drag-and-drop action). It also shows me orphan files - those nodes that I created but did not link anywhere. And, I can edit the DITA attributes very easily in the Properties view.

Basu, Anindita. Writing Technically (2010). Articles>Information Design>Software>DITA


DITA Tools 2 (Authoring)

I am very comfortable with using Notepad to write in DITA. But there are times when I forget if a particular DITA tag can be used at a particular place. For example, I regularly forget if <prereq> should precede <context> or follow. At such times, an XML editor that also validates your tags as you type comes in handy. XMLmind XML Editor is one such tool and comes bundled with the DITA DTDs and schemas. Its personal edition is free to use for non-commercial purposes and is, thus, great if you want a WYSIWYG DITA editor for your learning and other personal stuff.

Basu, Anindita. Writing Technically (2010). Articles>Information Design>Software>DITA


DocBook and DITA Editors: Is Their Future Online?

Thanks to my Google News Alert service, I recently discovered some on-demand XML Editors supporing DITA. While Salesforce democratized software on-demand in the CRM market, I am still perplexed on the future of on-demand pure play software. So let's see first what makes on-demand software, also known as Saas (Software as a Service), so attractive nowadays. I see five compelling reasons.

Talbot, Fabrice. LiveTechDocs (2008). Articles>Information Design>Software>DITA


Grokker, o la Navegación Visual

La aparición de navegadores cada vez más visuales y mejor estructurados como Vivísimo, Grokker o TouchGraph está empezando a agitar un mundo que parecía estático. Pparece que el referente en este campo está aún más allá del horizonte, pero cada día estamos más cerca.

Dursteler, Juan Carlos. InfoVis (2004). (Spanish) Articles>Information Design>Software


Introducing WinANT

I decided to simplify the DITA publishing process for myself by building a Windows interface to Ant. Ant was developed to allow programmers to write a simple build file in an XML format, and then process that XML file with the Ant build software.

Self, Tony. HyperWrite (2007). Articles>Information Design>Software>XML


A Lesson in Templates for Adobe Acrobat

Although Templates have been around since version 3 of Acrobat there was never any really useful supporting information or technical documentation to make use of them. Version 5 and 6 of Acrobat changed all that making it possible to take full control of Templates to create truly dynamic PDF documents.

Wraight, Dave. PlanetPDF (2004). Articles>Information Design>Software>Adobe Acrobat


Modifying DITA Open Toolkit Build Files for CSH

This procedure is used to modify the DITA Open Toolkit build files to allow an external map file reference and alias strings to be added to the HTML Help Project file before building, as part of the transformation to Microsoft HTML Help (CHM) format.

Self, Tony. HyperWrite (2008). Articles>Information Design>Software>DITA


Overcoming Objections to XML-Based Authoring Systems

During a recent development effort, one of our clients was alarmed at the conversion costs of the proposed XML-based content management system compared to the existing MS Word-based process. This was just one instance of an alarming trend of balking at XML-based systems in favor of using public web folders, indexed by some full-text search engine, as part of a local intranet. In the short run, these edit, drop, and index solutions have some appealing features, including low development and conversion costs. But they are short-lived systems that either wither from lack of functionality or rapidly outgrow their design.

Buehling, Brian. XML.com (2001). Articles>Information Design>Software>XML


Three Visio Tips: Special Deliverables

No column on information architecture deliverables would be complete without at least some mention of tools. Dan Brown offers three tips on using Visio, Microsoft's diagramming application, that should make your life easier and more efficient.

Brown, Dan. Boxes and Arrows (2002). Articles>Information Design>Software>Visio


Toggling Shapes in Visio

This article will expand upon the Visio techniques presented in the last Special Deliverable and will build on them, showing how to create a widget that can be toggled between two states.

Brown, Dan. Boxes and Arrows (2005). Articles>Information Design>Software>Visio


Top Five Best Database Management Tools

For a database administrator, DBM (database management) tools make tasks related to maintaining relational databases efficient and fast. Prior to the popularity of these tools, most DBA’s had to use the command line to create, edit, and delete databases. In this article, we present to you the top five most popular/most voted for database management tools.

Gube, Jacob. Six Revisions (2009). Articles>Information Design>Software>Databases


Visio Glue: Not For Sniffing

Spend any time with Visio and you'll find yourself wondering how glue works. In the real world, it's pretty straightforward: put glue between two things and they'll stick. Although glue is used for sticking shapes together in Visio, the metaphor ends there.

Brown, Dan. Boxes and Arrows (2005). Articles>Information Design>Software>Visio


Wireframe Annotations in Visio

Few information architects tap the full power of Visio. For the IA, Visio is a means to an end—a mechanism for capturing some ideas on paper before they are transformed into graphics, HTML, and code.

Brown, Dan. Boxes and Arrows (2004). Articles>Information Design>Software>Visio


XML Authoring for Those Who Don't Like Markup

Advances in word processing technology now enable people to author simple documents in an interface they are familiar with. They no longer need to know a lot about markup, the schema in use, or be distracted by other concerns than writing what they want to write. This simpler interface, built upon a Microsoft "Smart Doc" solution provides support for authors who are focused on the content they are writing rather than the markup that describes it. At the same time, the author is producing valid XML that can be routed for review and approval, used for multi-channel delivery, or reused by other authors in the enterprise. Several scenarios of how such an authoring/management system could be used to solve business challenges are described.

Parsons, Jon. IDEAlliance (2005). Articles>Information Design>Software>XML

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