A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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The Extensible Markup Language (XML) is an open, general-purpose specification for creating markup languages. Its primary purpose is to help information systems share structured data, particularly via the Internet, and it is used both to encode documents and to serialize data. It is used in a wide variety of technical communication document formats, including Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, XHTML, DITA, DocBook, and RSS, among others.



Implementing XML: A Writer's Perspective   (PDF)

In the cover article for Intercom's special issue on XML and HTML, Conlin discusses how the implementation of XML affects writers of documentation.

Conlin, Karen E. Intercom (2002). Articles>Documentation>XML


The Implications of Single Sourcing for Technical Communicators   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Surveys four books that examine methods of single sourcing, including publishing tools, XML, and content management systems. Reviews articles describing the roles of writers and editors, the tool set and its implementation, and ways to make dynamic content more effective

Williams, Joe D. Technical Communication Online (2003). Articles>Content Management>Single Sourcing>XML


Improving an XML Feed Display Through CSS and XSLT

XML feeds, though useful, are boring to look at in a browser because they are simple XML files. It's possible though to make them easier on the eye, and in this article we'll look at two ways of doing that. First, we'll use simple CSS properties to format each XML node, and then we'll use a little more complex but much more powerful XSL transformation.

xefteri.com (2005). Articles>Web Design>XML>XSL


Improving Relationships in Relationship Tables

While topic relationships can be stored in the topics themselves, as products evolve and user interfaces change, a topic that was required for release 1.0 of a product may no longer be needed in release 2.3. If related topics are maintained at the topic level, removing a topic that is no longer part of the system may involve modifying the related topics of a dozen different DITA files.

Binder, Zachary. XML.org (2008). Articles>Information Design>XML>DITA


Review: Information Architecture With XML: A Management Strategy

Despite the plethora of books positioning Extensible Markup Language (XML) as the next software programming language for IT gurus to master, the XML specification is not a programming language. Instead, it is a set of strategically important data standards that, when implemented from a tactical point of view, can provide organizations with value unsurpassed by many of the technologies that have come before it.

Abel, Scott. STC Hoosier (2003). Articles>Reviews>Information Design>XML


Information Models and XML   (PDF)

The defining feature of XML is the ability to specify your own tags. Learn about what to look for in an XML information model and what a technical communicator can contribute to an XML documentation team.

Baril, France. Intercom (2006). Articles>Information Design>XML


Inline XML

I was sitting at my desk a few days ago, whiling away the time and I suddenly wondered why HTML includes a <code> tag, and a <var> tag, and yet it takes marking up code no further than that. It’d be understandable to have just the <code> tag, but if they’re going to have a <var> tag, shouldn’t they have more programming tags?

Cannon, Lachlan. List Apart, A (2002). Design>Web Design>XML


Integrating Messaging and Databases to Implement Service Architectures

There has been much debate over two quite different approaches to implementing XML services. The "web services" approach leverages a rather large and not yet stabilized stack of formats and protocols built on top of SOAP that promise secure, reliable operations; the "REST" or "Plain old XML over HTTP" approach keeps the basic formats and operations quite simple, but puts the burden for any security or end-to-end reliability on the application developer rather than the computing infrastructure. This presentation considers a third approach which complements many of the ideas in both WS and REST but uses an XML-capable DBMS as the messaging hub or service broker. This makes it feasible to support asynchronous, loosely coupled communications between service requesters and providers.

Champion, Michael. IDEAlliance (2005). Articles>Information Design>Databases>XML


Integrating Partner Information Using XML and XSL

Having learned that two of these database companies already used single-source files for their error messages, BMC Software integrated the information about the error messages from the database companies. We accomplished our goal by negotiating with our partner companies for the source files of the error message information. This session discusses how we took those source files and modified them to create simple XML files, then transformed them into HTML using XSL transforms within a BMC Software product.

Gentle, Anne. WritersUA (2006). Articles>Documentation>XML>Case Studies


Integrating Partner Information Using XML and XSL   (PDF)

BMC Software Inc., a company that writes utility tools for database administrators, wanted to reuse the error messages from partner database companies. Having learned that two of these database companies already used single-source files for their error messages, BMC Software integrated the information about the error messages from the database companies. We accomplished our goal by negotiating with our partner companies for the source files of the error message information. This session discusses how we took those source files and modified them to create simple XML files, then transformed them into HTML using XSL transforms within a product.

Gentle, Anne. STC Proceedings (2004). Articles>Information Design>XML>XSL


Introducing SOAP

SOAP or Simple Object Access Protocol has become a standard mechanism in the world of Web Services. Now what exactly does this mean? And how can I make use of it inside Acrobat?

Wraight, Dave. PlanetPDF (2004). Design>Information Design>XML>SOAP


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


Introducing XML Internationalization

One key benefit of XML is the fact that it was designed for international use. But do you really understand the concepts of internationalization and localization? This article explains what they are, how they work, and why you want to use them.

Silberman, Hernan. IBM (2007). Articles>Information Design>XML>International


Introduction to DITA Conditional Publishing

Conditional processing is a way to determine which content is published at any one time. There are a number of attributes available on most DITA elements. Basically, you use the metadata to filter the content. For example, let’s assume you are writing the installation guide for a software application. You may store all the instructions for Linux, Windows and Mac OS in one file.

Maddox, Sarah. ffeathers (2010). Articles>Information Design>XML>DITA


Introduction to DITA References

DITA is quickly becoming the dominant XML schema for topic-oriented authoring. DITA is a highly practical way of moving to XML authoring in general and granular content reuse in particular. DITA distinguishes itself from predecessor standards by explicitly rejecting the book paradigm in favour of a topic-oriented model.

Prescod, Paul. IDEAlliance (2004). Articles>Information Design>XML>DITA


An Introduction to Extensible Stylesheet Language   (PDF)

Introduces the three technologies that comprise the Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) family of specifications as defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Hodge, Drew W. Intercom (2004). Articles>Information Design>XML>XSL


Introduction to OMG's Unified Modeling Language (UML)

Large enterprise applications - the ones that execute core business applications, and keep a company going - must be more than just a bunch of code modules. They must be structured in a way that enables scalability, security, and robust execution under stressful conditions, and their structure - frequently referred to as their architecture - must be defined clearly enough that maintenance programmers can (quickly!) find and fix a bug that shows up long after the original authors have moved on to other projects. That is, these programs must be designed to work perfectly in many areas, and business functionality is not the only one (although it certainly is the essential core). Of course a well-designed architecture benefits any program, and not just the largest ones as we've singled out here. We mentioned large applications first because structure is a way of dealing with complexity, so the benefits of structure (and of modeling and design, as we'll demonstrate) compound as application size grows large. Another benefit of structure is that it enables code reuse: Design time is the easiest time to structure an application as a collection of self-contained modules or components. Eventually, enterprises build up a library of models of components, each one representing an implementation stored in a library of code modules. When another application needs the same functionality, the designer can quickly import its module from the library. At coding time, the developer can just as quickly import the code module into the application.

UML Resource Page (2005). Articles>Information Design>XML>UML


Introduction to RDFa: Part 2

RDFa (“Resource Description Framework in attributes”) is having its five minutes of fame: Google is beginning to process RDFa and Microformats as it indexes websites, using the parsed data to enhance the display of search results with “rich snippets.”

Birbeck, Mark. List Apart, A (2009). Articles>Web Design>Standards>XML


Introduction to Relations in XML Schema

This is the first article in a series concentrating on implementing relations for designing robust XML schema definitions.

Chaterjee, Jagadish. Dev Articles (2006). Articles>Information Design>Databases>XML


An Introduction to RELAX NG

RELAX NG is not a capitalized misspelling of something you probably get to do all too rarely as a busy programmer and web designer. If you use XML to any great degree, you'll want to take a close look at it. It can help make your life as a web developer easier, allowing you to relax a little more.

McCullough, Peyton. Dev Articles (2008). Articles>Web Design>Information Design>XML


Introduction to RSS

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is an XML format for news headlines. With RSS-enabled feeds, other web sites can easily include your content in their sites. And other applications (besides web browsers) can be used to view your content.

Duffy, Scott. XGuru (2003). Articles>Web Design>XML>RSS


Introduction to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)

The Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) is an XML-based, end-to-end architecture for authoring, producing, and delivering technical information. This architecture consists of a set of design principles for creating 'information-typed' modules at a topic level and for using that content in delivery modes such as online help and product support portals on the Web. This document is a roadmap for DITA: what it is and how it applies to technical documentation.

IBM (2001). Articles>Information Design>XML>DITA


Introduction to the oXygen 11 XML Editor

I want to introduce you to authoring the oXygen XML editor. This article focuses on Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) support.

Loring, Sheila. Carolina Communique (2010). Articles>Software>DITA>XML


Introduction to XML

XML, the Extensible Markup Language, has gone from the latest buzzword to an entrenched eBusiness technology in record time. This newly revised tutorial discusses what XML is, why it was developed, and how it's shaping the future of electronic commerce. It also covers a variety of important XML programming interfaces and standards, and ends with two case studies showing how companies are using XML to solve business problems.

Tidwell, Doug. IBM (2002). Resources>Education>Information Design>XML


Introduction to XML Document Object Model

Learn about XML and the hierarchical structure of the Document Object Model. Nodes, NodeLists, NameNodeMaps, as well as properties such as parentNodes, childNodes, nodeNames, and nodeValues are explored, explained and code is given.

Gokul, Gayathri. ASP Free (2002). Articles>Information Design>XML



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