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.




SOAP is a protocol for exchanging XML-based messages over a computer network, normally using HTTP. SOAP forms the foundation layer of the Web services stack, providing a basic messaging framework that more abstract layers can build on. SOAP can be used to facilitate a Service-Oriented architectural pattern.

Wikipedia (2006). Articles>Information Design>XML>SOAP


Some Thoughts about SOAP versus REST on Security

REST is the underlying architecture of the World Wide Web and its two core specifications, URIs and HTTP. It has been proposed that instead of using new-from-scratch Web Services technologies we can get much more bang for our buck by understanding the full generality of what we've got. A community has arisen around this idea and we spend our time proving that what the Web already has is better than what is being developed. This page addresses the security weaknesses of the SOAP approach.

Prescod.net. Design>Web Design>Standards>XML


Specializing Topic Types in DITA

The Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) provides a way for documentation authors and architects to create collections of typed topics that can be easily assembled into various delivery contexts. Topic specialization is the process by which authors and architects can define topic types, while maintaining compatibility with existing style sheets, transforms, and processes. The new topic types are defined as an extension, or delta, relative to an existing topic type, thereby reducing the work necessary to define and maintain the new type.

Priestley, Michael. IBM (2001). Articles>Information Design>XML>DITA


Standards with a Future

About ten years ago, a handful of highly specialised consultants were trying with missionary zeal to establish SGML as the basic format in technical communication; today, the XML-standard is no longer something that can be dispensed with, and is, in fact, even mandatory in many projects. This article takes a look in hindsight at the beginnings of SGML and XML, and the current developments and standards around XML, and also hazards a guess at what the years to come might hold in store.

Rath, Hans Holger. tekom (2006). Articles>Information Design>Standards>XML


Standards-Based Publishing with XML, XSLT, XHTML and XSL-FO   (members only)

XML, the Extensible Markup Language recommendation by the W3C, separates content from processing. When you author XML, you describe your information semantically using a computer readable and human readable syntax. The syntax of XML is elements and attributes. We call this semantic markup.

Arbury, Autumn. tekom (2005). Articles>Information Design>XML>Semantic


The Steepest Part of the Learning Curve is Right at the Start

Microsoft has a lot of information on their sites about these products. Unfortunately, I can never find it. I usually only know it’s there when I stumble on it months after I really needed to know it. The steepest part of the learning curve is at the start. Likewise with another program I use occasionally—DITA. DITA is an xml schema used for writing documentation.

Technical Writer (2008). Articles>Documentation>XML>DITA


Strategies in Re-Purposing Graphics for Interactive Intelligent Delivery

In the domain of aerospace/defense, a products life cycle may likely span up to 30 years. The amount of technical data required to manufacture, operate, and maintain those products is immense. The graphic representation of that data facilitates the communication of operational and maintenance instructions. This paper outlines issues with creating, authoring, revising, and delivering intelligence with graphics and the associated meta-data.

Woolsey, Jeremiah and Martin Jackson. XML Europe (2001). Articles>Information Design>XML>Metadata


Streamlining Content Creation and Publishing with XMetaL and DITA   (PDF)

To streamline the product documentation process, many technical publication teams are moving to Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA). Learn best practices for applying this information model, and hands-on techniques for improved content creation and publishing with JustSystems XMetaL.

Silver, Jerry. Intercom (2007). Articles>Content Management>XML>DITA


Striving for Success in DITA Conversion - A Quick Reference

Planning your conversion is always helpful, and should be part of your overall content strategy review.

Urbina, Noz. Data Conversion Laboratory (2008). Articles>Content Management>XML>DITA


Structure Of An XML Document Tutorials

The structure of an XML document can be defined by two standards. The first standard is the XML specification, which defines the default rules for building all XML documents. Any XML document that meets the basic rules as defined by the XML specification is called a well-formed XML document. An XML document can be checked to determine whether it is well formed—that is, whether the document has the correct structure (syntax).

BrainBell (2007). Articles>Information Design>XML


Structure View Enhancement in FrameMaker 9

The Structure View allows for real-time validation of the structured element content while editing. It discourages the author from violating the constraint rules set by the EDD or XML schema which was earlier possible only while saving or exporting the document. The Structure View is now capable of pointing the constraint error for integer and float data constraints. The content will turn Red indicating that the content does not satisfy the data type constraint.

Adobe (2009). Articles>Information Design>XML>Adobe FrameMaker


Structured Authoring

The site is about Structured Authoring. That is a broad subject, but will focus on SGML and XML and the implementation. Tools used to author, manage, communicate and deploy data usually in the maintenance from some small widget to a large weapon system. Covering Mil-Stds and S1000D.

Wade, Douglas Paul. Structured Authoring (2009). Resources>Documentation>XML>Blogs


Structured Authoring and XML   (PDF)

Implementing structured authoring with XML allows organizations to create better content. The addition of hierarchy and metadata to content improves reuse and content management. These benefits, however, must be weighed against the time and money required to implement a structured authoring approach. The business case is compelling for larger writing organizations; they will be the first to adopt structured authoring. Over time, improvements in available tools will reduce the cost of implementing structured authoring and make it affordable for smaller organizations.

O'Keefe, Sarah S. Scriptorium (2002). Design>Publishing>Information Design>XML


Structured Authoring and XML: Part One

Implementing structured authoring with XML allows organizations to create better content. The addition of hierarchy and metadata to content improves reuse and content management. These benefits, however, must be weighed against the time and money required to implement a structured authoring approach. The business case is compelling for larger writing organizations; they will be the first to adopt structured authoring. Over time, improvements in available tools will reduce the cost of implementing structured authoring and make it affordable for smaller organizations.

O'Keefe, Sarah S. Carolina Communique (2003). Articles>Documentation>Information Design>XML


Structured Authoring and XML: Part Three

Not every content-creation group will benefit from structured authoring and XML. Sometimes, the expense of implementation outweighs the benefits realized, especially in smaller groups with less total page count.

O'Keefe, Sarah S. Carolina Communique (2004). Articles>Documentation>Information Design>XML


Structured Authoring and XML: Part Two

In a structured authoring environment, authors create documents by assembling elements and text in an order permitted by the structure definition document. You might think of structured authoring as being similar to template-based authoring with a strict template. Authors do not assign formatting; the formatting is automatically assigned based on the structure of the document. Formatting may differ for different output media.

O'Keefe, Sarah S. Carolina Communique (2003). Articles>Documentation>Information Design>XML


Structured Authoring for Everyone

Structured authoring isn't just for technical writers. Just about any department in an organization can benefit from it. This article looks at one way of bringing structured authoring to the masses: by adopting the authoring concepts used in an obscure word processor called Yeah Write.

DMN Communications (2009). Articles>Information Design>Technical Writing>XML


Structured Authoring for Everyone

While the concepts of structured authoring are more than just slightly useful for technical writing, they can be beneficial for just about any writing task within an organization. But how do you bring XML-based structured authoring to the masses? Perhaps by taking a cue from a word processor called Yeah Write.

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2009). Articles>Documentation>XML>Technical Writing


Structuring Your Documents for Maximum Reuse   (PDF)

A major topic among information development managers these days is single sourcing--writing information once and using it many times. Structured documents are critical for single sourcing. So, let's explore: what we mean by structuring documents; why structuring is useful; some of the concerns that writers have about structuring documents.

Redish, Janice C. 'Ginny'. Center for Information-Development Management (2005). Articles>Content Management>Information Design>XML


A Study of the Adoption and Usage of XML Schema - Its Design and Results

There is an obvious need to understand the current adoption and the current usage of XML Schema by the IT industry. That is, XML standardization bodies, XML tool providers, and IT decision makers need to know about the current position of XML Schema on the 'adoption curve'; they would like to know who is using XML Schema, what it is used for, and how users reflect on their usage. All sorts of more detailed questions arise: Is XML Schema usage observably increasing? Who is authoring schemas? (Developers? DBA's? Analysts? Who else?) Who is consuming schemas? What tools are used to author and consume schemas? What other meta-data languages are used in the same corporation? The study at hand covered these and some more questions. The goal was to gather broad information on XML Schema adoption and usage, leaving room for studies that dive into more detailed subtopics. There were 2,000 solicited participants of the study with 59 completed responses. The presentation (paper) does not just present the results of the study, but also motivates the study, describes its design, and draws some conclusions. This study has been carried out in collaboration with the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

Kitsis, Stan. XML 2006 (2006). Articles>Information Design>XML


Styling XML: An Opinionated Guide   (PDF)

McLaughlin evaluates the abilities of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and XSLT (eXstensible Style Language for Transformation) to render XML content in Internet browsers.

McLaughlin, Douglas J. Intercom (2001). Design>Web Design>XML


Subsetting and Customizing DITA

This article explores ideas related to subsetting and customizing the DITA specification without the addition of new elements. Instead, we explore taking default rules and adapting them to meet the needs of specific writing and publishing environments. Introductory information about the DITA specification and the difference between subsetting and specialization is provided.

Aschwanden, Bernard. Publishing Smarter (2006). Articles>Information Design>XML>DITA


A Survey of XML Standards: Part 1

The world of XML is vast and growing, with a huge variety of standards and technologies that interact in complex ways. It can be difficult for beginners to navigate the most important aspects of XML, and for users to keep track of new entries and changes in the space. In this series of articles, Uche Ogbuji provides a guide to XML standards, including a wide range of recommended resources for further information.

Ogbuji, Uche. IBM (2004). Design>Information Design>Standards>XML


SVG as a Page Description Language

SVG has matured into a rich, fully featured graphics language resulting in its suitability for all traditional graphics applications. The SVG working group is continuing development of various profiles for use in specific application areas, such as mobile devices. One of the most important uses of computer graphics languages is in the area of printing. Many languages used for printing are proprietary and display various feature sets. SVG in contrast is vendor neutral, contains much of the functionality of existing languages for printing and is a wonderful candidate for future hard copy devices. A new SVG profile for printing is being developed as part of the SVG standardisation effort.

Danilo, Alex and Jun Fujisawa. SVG Open (2002). Articles>Graphic Design>XML>SVG


SVG With a Little Help from Raphaël

Want to make fancy, interactive, scalable vector graphics (SVGs) that look beautiful at any resolution and degrade with grace? Brian Suda urges you to consider Raphaël for your SVG heavy lifting.

Suda, Brian. List Apart, A (2010). Articles>Graphic Design>XML>SVG



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