A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Extreme documentation is an agile methodology for developing documentation in small to medium-sized teams in the face of vague or rapidly changing requirements.



DocBook Basics and References

DocBook provides a system for writing structured documents using SGML or XML. It is particularly well-suited to books and papers about computer hardware and software, though it is by no means limited to them.

dpawson.co.uk. Books>Documentation>XML>DocBook


DocBook Conversions with XFC

There are a number of tools available for transforming DocBook XML documents to various formats. All of these tools have strengths, as well as some noticeable weaknesses and drawbacks. This article looks at the benefits of using the XMLmind FO Converter, a graphical, highly configurable, and cross-platform application designed to transform DocBook XML files to any supported output format.

Nesbitt, Scott. InformIT (2005). Articles>Documentation>Standards>DocBook


DocBook Demystification Howto

This howto attempts to clear the fog and mystery surrounding the DocBook markup system and the tools that go with it. It is aimed at authors of technical documentation for open-source projects hosted on Linux, but should be useful for people composing other kinds on other Unixes as well.

Raymond, Eric S. tldp.org. Articles>Documentation>XML>DocBook


DocBook for the Masses

Having new DocBook standards in place may do little to push adoption. An important factor in driving user adoption is the availability of software that implements the standard. It would be interesting to see whether big software companies would jump on the bandwagon...Unless the open-source community comes to the rescue!

Talbot, Fabrice. LiveTechDocs (2008). Articles>Documentation>XML>DocBook


Docbook Frequently Asked Questions

This is a collation of some Frequently Asked questions regarding Docbook. The initial focus will be on the XML version of the DTD, and the XSLT based stylesheets.

dpawson.co.uk (2005). Articles>Documentation>Standards>DocBook


DocBook or DITA?

XML is the future. You hear it at every conference you go to, in every magazine you pick up, in every article you read on-line. For technical writers, right now that future comes down to two products—DocBook or DITA. But what exactly are they, and which one should you choose? They are schemas for creating XML.

Technical Writer (2006). Articles>Documentation>DocBook>DITA


The DocBook Project

DocBook is an XML vocabulary that is particularly well suited to books and papers about computer hardware and software.

SourceForge (2003). Resources>Documentation>Open Source>DocBook


DocBook to DITA Conversion Automation - Improving the Yield?

With DITA implementations on the rise, and an entrenched DocBook community already in place, the resulting market interest has spurred interest in automated DocBook to DITA conversion. So I would expect offerings of automated DocBook to DITA conversion scripts to emerge in the next 6-10 months. This article addresses the real questions, "What should I expect from automated tools?" and "Will they work for me?" from the viewpoint of live experience with numerous DocBook to DITA conversions. The answers to these questions are not usually obvious.

Vaysbukh, Mikhail. DCL (2008). Articles>Documentation>DocBook>DITA


DocBook versus DITA: Will the Real Standard Please Stand Up?

More than a decade ago DocBook became the standard for the few brave souls forging ahead in XML publications. DocBook offered a cheaper and more efficient way to publish to multiple formats. Single-sourcing became a reality for hardware and software companies. However, in recent years, many in technical documentation publications have proclaimed DITA as the standard for XML documentation. DITA offered architecture in which to create and publish structured content. Are these two seemingly rival standards really that different? This article from Teresa Mulvihill answers this question with comparative examples, and allows you, the audience, to decide for yourselves.

Mulvihill, Teresa. Data Conversion Laboratory (2008). Articles>Documentation>DocBook>DITA


DocBook Wiki   (Word)

DocBook is officially available as a [WWW] Document Type Definition (DTD) for both XML and SGML. It is unofficially available in other forms as well.

Docbook.org (2003). Resources>Documentation>XML>DocBook


DocBook XSL Repository

These are XSL stylesheets for the DocBook DTD and its derivatives (Simplified DocBook, etc.) to generate PDF/print documents or Web/HTML content.

SourceForge (2005). Resources>Documentation>XSL>DocBook


DocBook XSL: The Complete Guide

DocBook is a collection of standards and tools for technical publishing. DocBook was originally created by a consortium of software companies as a standard for computer documentation. But the basic 'book' features of DocBook can be used for other kinds of content, so it has been adapted to many purposes.

Stayton, Bob. Sagehill (2005). Books>Documentation>XSL>DocBook


DocBook: An Introduction for Technical Writers   (PDF)

A set of slides that gives a brief introduction to DocBook and why it is useful for technical writers. Also available in PDF format.

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2002). Presentations>Documentation>Standards>DocBook


DocBook: The Definitive Guide   (Word)

This book is designed to be the clear, concise, normative reference to the DocBook DTD. This book is the official documentation for the DocBook DTD.

Walsh, Norman and Leonard Muellner. Docbook.org (2003). Books>Documentation>XML>DocBook


Docs Aren't Code

In the world of development, the need to track bug reports and enhancement requests are a given. But they're not generally required for documentation, in the way they are for code Quite the reverse. For documentation, bug reports and enhancement requests provide little benefit, and generally impede progress. This post compares documentation and code, showing why bug reports and enhancement requests are so vital to the code base, and at the same time why those reasons simply do not apply to documentation.

Armstrong, Eric. Sun Microsystems (2008). Articles>Documentation>Programming>Technical Writing


Docs in the Real World

In two recent consulting projects, we worked with online documentation developers who wanted to understand the problems users encountered and how their documentation helped solve those problems. To find out, we went and observed users in their own work environments. Although the clients and their software differ significantly, we found similar issues.

User Interface Engineering (1998). Articles>Usability>Documentation


Document Design: A Brief Primer   (PDF)

Today's documentation must be designed with information retrieval as its key objective. When information is organized and mapped into a consistent, logical structure that uses retrievability aids such as labels that facilitate scanning, blocks of information, advance organizers for the information, keywords, meaningful indexes, and a hierarchical organization, readers can quickly locate and use the information that they need.

Flanders, Melanie G. STC Proceedings (1997). Articles>Documentation>Document Design>User Centered Design


A Document Management Case Study: QLD Dept of Housing   (PDF)

How a new spin on document management software helped revolutionise customer service at the Queensland Department of Housing.

Hambly, Natalie. Cherryleaf (2003). Articles>Documentation>Software>Government


Document to the Question: Understanding What Users Ask and Where They Look for the Answers   (PowerPoint)

The user's idea of the problem is often very different than the help or program designer's. The online help topics often reflect the designer's viewpoint, not the user's.

STC India (2003). Articles>Documentation>User Centered Design>Help


Documentation and Agile Software Development

What’s it like doing documentation as part of an Agile software development team? Why is it a better way of working? I mull this over these and other questions with Graham Campbell.

Christie, Alistair and Graham Campbell. ITauthor (2008). Articles>Documentation>Agile>Podcasts


Documentation and Training Productivity Benchmarks   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Investigates how computer-industry companies create end-user documentation and training materials, and how they measure productivity. Describes results of interviews of eleven managers of publications or training departments.

Barr, John P. 'Jack' and Stephanie Rosenbaum. Technical Communication Online (2003). Articles>Documentation>Assessment


Documentation as Flash Cards

Here is a nice use of flash cards as a way of providing user documentation. Traditionally, these type of documents have looked great but taken a lot of time and effort to produce. However, with more and more technical documentation content stored as re-usable chunks of information in XML-based Content Management Systems, it’s a lot easier to do.

Pratt, Ellis. Cherryleaf (2009). Articles>Documentation>User Experience


Documentation Collaboration Service

Collaboration happens when multiple people work simultaneously towards a common goal. Collaboration software are tools which try to make working together easier and more productive. There are hundreds of methodologies and approaches out there to collaboration. We want to bring the focus on one particular dimension: open vs. structured collaboration.

Live Tech Docs (2009). Articles>Documentation>Content Management>Open Source


Documentation Confuses More Than it Clarifies

Vendors could make life for the user a lot easier if manual writers were familiar with the product.

Computing Canada (1999). Articles>Documentation



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