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.
Many of today’s instructional developers face a significant dilemma. Learners have minimal time to comprehend and effectively use complex products and systems. To drive time-efficient learning experiences, developers must provide high-quality training content, customized to specific learner roles and delivered in a timely manner. At the same time, many instructional development budgets are shrinking. In short, learners have less time and money to learn what they need to know, and developers have less time and money to deliver what those learners need. One way developers can address this dilemma is to become more efficient at reusing content. For many developers, the best way to achieve that efficiency will be the Learning and Training Content Specialization, soon to be released in version 1.2 of the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) standard.
We define dynamic publishing as: The automated assembly of customized documents with graphic-rich layouts for multiple mediums, including print, the Web, mobile and electronic devices. Dynamic publishing allows organizations to deliver accurate, relevant, and high-fidelity communications across multiple types of media faster and at a lower cost.
Intelligent content is content which is not limited to one purpose, technology or output. It’s content that is structurally rich and semantically aware, and is therefore discoverable, reusable, reconfigurable and adaptable. It’s content that helps you and your customers get the job done, often automatically.
RDF was originally created in 1999 as a standard on top of XML for encoding metadata--literally, data about data. Metadata is, of course, things like who authored a web page, what date a blog entry was published, etc., information that is in some sense secondary to some other content already on the regular web. Since then, and perhaps especially after the updated RDF spec in 2004, the scope of RDF has really evolved into something greater. The most exciting uses of RDF aren't in encoding information about web resources, but information about and relations between things in the real world: people, places, concepts, etc.
XML (Extensible Markup Language) is the Eurodollar of web development. Both XML and the Euro bring order to chaos; both offer undeniable, wide-ranging benefits; both are poised, in 2002, to change the way we do things. Frankly, both scare the crap out of people. For web developers, 2002 is a time to conquer fears and take their first hands-on approach to XML. It's time to examine XML and realize the practical benefits that it can provide to web projects today. The bankers can fend for themselves.
Assuming the tools are now within the range of an average small to medium business and all the other costs associated with implementation are still there, what incentive is there for a business to want to change to CMS or XML?
DITA provides the ability to chunk information, to deliver selected topics in a variety of compilations and output to various formats. It allows the passing back and forth of this content among authors regardless of tools. My hesitation with DITA has only been that it’s too early to adopt. But I believe the turning point has come.
Although MS Word can generate XML, it should not be considered any kind of a robust XML authoring tool. Instead, its XML features are best for use with other Microsoft Office applications. However, because XML authoring is gaining in popularity, new XML authoring software tools and utilities are coming to market. In this article, Scott Abel looks at using MS Word for XML and takes a closer look at one alternative XML solution from a Microsoft partner that uses Word's familiar interface.
MS Word is not an XML authoring tool, no matter what your IT team believes. While Word may indeed understand and use some XML, it doesn't use XML in the way technical communicators need it to. Instead, it uses XML to transfer information back and forth between MS Office products. Useful? Yes. XML authoring? Not even close.
This article explains a useful way to embed data in an HTML document, and store it on the client, using XML. With XML becoming ever more pervasive and the client side implementation gaining a lot of ground, you will probably find yourself using this technique in many projects.
DITA allows you to re-use text, apply attributes, and process your content into more than just HTML. But if you’re just publishing to the web, and you don’t have a lot of complex re-use requirements, isn’t it just extra work adding all of these DITA tags?
Part one in a series exploring the state of e-book publishing today. Today’s installment is one of several by New York editor Roger Sperberg about the publishing’s failure to use XML markup as the base for creating an electronic future for the book industry.
XML, that is, Extended Markup Language, is the future of technical writing. There are TWO important reasons why that is so: XML is at the heart of “single sourcing” movement; and XML is a documentation manager’s dream since writing once and publishing many times drops unit production costs tremendously.
Although XML declarations are optional, every XML document should have one. An XML declaration helps both human users and automated software identify the document as XML. It identifies the version of XML in use, specifies the character encoding, and can even help optimize the parsing. Most importantly, it's a crucial clue that what you're reading is in fact an XML document in environments where file type information is unavailable or unreliable.
The Darwin Informaton Typing Architecture (DITA) is an XML-based document format that was designed from the ground up for reuse. It rocks. Content Managment Systms (CMSes) are designed to hold XML data. So in theory, a CMS system that lets you edit like a Wiki would be everything you need. But getting a system like that to work is a pretty tricky proposition.
Combining semantic markup with a granular authoring approach like DITA holds a lot of promise for content creators and consumers alike. Content becomes easy to define and even easier to discover. The combination also holds a lot of promise for the future of the Semantic Web itself. In fact, creating the Semantic Web might be as easy as authoring content in DITA.
Key to the Semantic Web is semantic markup, which lets users annotate their web pages with metadata -- HTML attributes that don't get displayed in the document. Semantic metadata describes what the pages are about, letting authors define things with authority and precision.
When authoring in DITA, there are a couple of best (or worst) practices that I wasn’t aware of. The first is with conditional text; the second is with topichead elements.
In this session, three panellists and audience members will discuss creating XML documents using two familiar word processors: Microsoft Word and OpenOffice. Paul Bernard will introduce some real-world examples of how publishers are using Microsoft Word in XML workflows, and how Office 2007 and OpenXML will affect those processes. Jon Parsons will discuss XML, Office 2007, and content management for document integration in the middle tier. Lisa Richards will discuss XML authoring in OpenOffice.
Anyone familiar with XM -- the low-cost, open-source content management solution based on XSLT -- knows that for all its good points, it still lacks a decent user interface. In this article, columnist Benoï¿t Marchal uses the Eclipse platform's open universal framework to build a user interface for XM.