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.



Authoring Accessible Documentation

The software application you document is accessibility-compliant, but not the documentation you author? Then read on. With software applications implementing accessibility guidelines, it is only natural that their documentation too should be accessible.

Vairagade, Mugdha. Indus (2010). Articles>Documentation>Accessibility


Authoring Eclipse Help Using DITA

This page contains information about how to use DITA for authoring Eclipse Help.

Eclipsepedia (2007). Articles>Documentation>Content Management>DITA


Authoring for Electronic Delivery   (PDF)

Caterpillar is dramatically changing the way technical, product support information is authored. Book paradigms have been replaced by the more granular Information Element (IE) approach. The new integrated environment utilizes Unix based, TCP/IP connected, ECALS compliant tools on multi-tasking author workstations. Research data, in-process work approved IE's and relational indices are distributed to work group servers. Application software tools include a graphics editor and an interactive, context sensitive, SGML text editor. The environment is managed by a robust file management system that provides file tracking, revision control, workflow sensitive tool launching, burden planning and management reporting capabilities.

Hudson, Dave. STC Proceedings (1993). Articles>Documentation>Online>Help


Authoring Tools Do Matter

The authoring tool does matter. Writers are focusing on the wrong set of issues (leading, kerning, print formatting), none of which is actually relevant for the output.

O'Keefe, Sarah S. Palimpsest (2009). Articles>Documentation>Technical Writing>Software


Authoring with Eclipse

The topic of technical publishing is relatively new to the world of Eclipse. One can make the argument that technical publishing is just another collaborative development process involving several people with different backgrounds and skills. This article will show that the Eclipse platform is a viable platform for technical publishing by discussing how to write documents such as an article or a book within Eclipse. In fact, this article was written using Eclipse.

Aniszczyk, Chris and Lawrence Mandel. Eclipse (2005). Articles>Content Management>Documentation>XML


AuthorIT: Resizing Graphics using JavaScript Code

My client wanted screen shots in their CHM, but the screens were very large thus creating problems when printing a topic. With some help from Dave Gash, I got the large screen shots to open at 50% size, with a function for the user to resize them to 100% either all at once or one at a time. The function also toggled back to 50% at the user's discretion. This solved the problem of large screen shots in the online help, while allowing error-free printing to occur.

Bracey, Rhonda. CyberText Consulting (2003). Resources>Documentation>Software>DHTML


AuthorIT: Tips, Articles, Presentations, etc.

Various articles, presentations, tips and hints on using AuthorIT.

Bracey, Rhonda. CyberText Consulting (2004). Resources>Documentation>Software


AuthorIT: What's it All About?   (PDF)

As other Help authoring tools (HATs) fall by the wayside or the scuttlebutt about their demise gets stronger, one HAT that continually gets favourable mention is AuthorIT. Maybe you've heard about it, but don't know what it is or how it is different from traditional HATs. In this article, I cover some of the main features of AuthorIT so you'll have enough information to investigate further.

Bracey, Rhonda. CyberText Consulting (2004). Resources>Documentation>Software


Authority and Audience-Centered Writing Strategies: Sexism in 19th-century Sewing Machine Manuals   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article examines audience-centered writing strategies in two very early sewing machine manuals and considers the interplay between such strategies and sexism in technical writing. It considers the difference between non-sexist and gender-neutral writing, and concludes that avoiding sexism in technical writing is difficult at best—and perhaps impossible—in any society that assigns work (and correspondingly, technologies) for use according to the gender of the user.

Durack, Katherine T. Technical Communication Online (1998). Articles>History>Documentation


Automating Development Tasks for a Large-Scale Help System

Although tools like eHelp's® RoboHELP® Classic can speed up and streamline the process of creating help topics, there are still many repetitive tasks needed to build a WinHelp system that supports a large, integrated application. This article summarizes one of the techniques that Fredrickson Communications used to automate the process of developing online help topics. Once the underlying structure and macros were in place, we were able to generate hundreds of help topics at the rate 15-20 per minute.

Lindsay, Bill. Frederickson Communications (2002). Design>Documentation>Single Sourcing>Adobe RoboHelp


Automating Documentation Generation

The advent of automatic generation tools, that could automatically generate the information was a major step in the creation of more accurate documentation and it held the promise of saving time and money.

Albing, Bill. KeyContent.org (2004). Articles>Documentation


Automating Production with WebWorks AutoMap

WebWorks AutoMap is an extremely useful tool for performing unattended documentation builds. Out of the box, AutoMap can generate reasonable documents. By adding the power of scripting, the results can be amazing.

Bate, Simon. Carolina Communique (2006). Articles>Documentation>Software>Word Processing


Avoid the SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley) Documentation Nightmare With These Five Tips

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act has been called the most comprehensive reform of corporate law since the Securities Exchange Act was passed in 1934. The effects of SOX are far reaching. Its provisions govern actions by management, audit committees, and boards of directors of public companies. Like it or not, Sarbanes-Oxley is here to stay. Its impact on IT departments is major and growing. The reaction of many IT groups is to document everything in sight in an attempt to cover themselves. In the end, this can be counter-productive, expensive and wasteful.

D'Amico, Vin. IT World Canada (2006). Articles>Documentation>Regulatory Writing


Balancing Act: Keeping Your Screen Movies Small and Beautiful

Screen recordings are a valuable tool for enhancing training, tutorials, manuals and websites. Companies use this technique to produce streaming and downloadable content. The recording tools are readily available and affordable. In this article, we explore some techniques, tips and tricks for recording sound, mouse movement and happenings from your screen to an AVI file. We will talk in both general terms and use specific examples. The examples pertain to HyperCam, a downloadable screen recording application from Hyperionics Technology. Like most screen recording applications, HyperCam captures the action from your Windows screen -- including cursor movements and sound -- and saves it to an AVI movie file.

Rice, William H. IV. WilliamRice.com (2002). Design>Documentation>Multimedia>Screencasting


Balancing Paper and Online: Integrating CD-ROM into Document Libraries   (PDF)

A panel of industry experts provides an overview of the CD-ROM publishing process—and its business issues, for technical communicators who are responsible for implementing CD-ROM publishing in their organizations. The panel will also discuss guidelines for integrating print and CD-ROM documents into a complete user support library, while still gaining the economies of CD-ROM publishing.

Gale, John, Stephanie L. Rosenbaum and Pamela Sansbury. STC Proceedings (1995). Articles>Documentation>CD ROM


Barriers and Approaches to Reviewing Documentation

This article discusses some important issues in implementing a software documentation review process. If you are part of a small development organization and have few reviewer resources available, you may have to improvise techniques for providing the services and procedures suggested here.

Boston Broadside (1997). Articles>Documentation>Editing>Collaboration


Baselining Documentation on a Wiki

The dynamic nature of wikis can cause a few headaches when you need to baseline documentation that's on a wiki to correspond with the release of your product. This blog post looks at some ways in which you can try baselining wiki content.

DMN Communications (2008). Articles>Documentation>Technical Writing>Wikis


Basic WinHelp for Beginners   (PDF)

The first time you create a Windows Help file can be very confusing. This paper should help reduce confusion by explaining the basic WinHelp concepts and components, and then walking you through the procedure.

Van Sant, Carol J. STC Proceedings (1996). Articles>Documentation>Online>Help


Beginning a Documentation Project

Starting a documentation project is like opening a box filled with puzzle pieces and trying to figure out if you have all the right pieces for the right picture without knowing how many pieces make up the puzzle and what the picture looks like.

Taylor, Vicki M. Suite101 (2001). Articles>Documentation


Behind the Scenes: Marketing Documentation Services through Leadership

When you think of marketing, do press releases, brochures, presentations, direct mail, and web sites come to mind? Those pieces are certainly parts of the puzzle.But a lot must go on behind the curtain to make those on-stage pieces worthwhile. These often hidden goings-on are the leadership techniques of a successful documentation manager. The result is a documentation department that warrants the effort expended on marketing. After all, marketing succeeds only if services are reliable, communication channels are open, and products meet expectations.

Edgerton, Rebecca J. TechCom Manager (2004). Articles>Management>Documentation>Marketing


Behringer Multitrack Audio Mixer

Introduces how to perform multimedia audio mixing and editing using a Behringer multitrack mixer.

Pratt, Andrew and Dave Long. Studio for New Media (2004). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>Audio


Benefits of Using a Professional to Write User Documentation

Studies have shown organisations value the following benefits: overall organisation, the sales team, and documentation meets the customer's requirements.

Cherryleaf (2003). Articles>Writing>Professionalism>Documentation


Best Practice Flare: High Definition PDF

Having introduced the concept of high definition PDF's output straight from Flare's source files with minimal post-production, we can now start to dig into the technologies that are used to produce it.

Tech Write Tips (2006). Articles>Documentation>Software>Madcap Flare


Best Practices for Agile/Lean Documentation

Documentation is an important part of agile software development projects, but unlike traditionalists who often see documentation as a risk reduction strategy, agilists typically see documentation as a strategy which increases overall project risk and therefore strive to be as efficient as possible when it comes to documentation. Agilists write documentation when that's the best way to achieve the relevant goals, but there often proves to be better ways to achieve those goals than writing static documentation. This article summarizes common "best practices" which agilists have adopted with respect to documentation.

Ambler, Scott W. Agile Modeling (2001). Resources>Documentation>Agile



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