A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

O'Reilly and Associates

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Advanced Blogger   (PDF)

Blogger's primary advantage is its simplicity--if you accept the default settings and host on BlogSpot, you can be up and running within five minutes. Once you have your blog, you'll find it's just as easy to customize it.

Doctorow, Cory, Rael Dornfest, J. Scott Johnson, Shelley Powers, Benjamin Trott and Mena G. Trott. O'Reilly and Associates (1998). Articles>Web Design>Writing>Blogging


Bantamweight Publishing in an Easily Plagiarised World

Bantamweight publishing is popular among those who feel brevity is a virtue. But when an entire work of art is bounded in 140 characters, even brevity has its limits. Sometimes, squeezing in a proper attribution through editing content can change the original meaning, when the edits unwillingly shift from cosmetic to substantive.

Drapeau, Mark. O'Reilly and Associates (2009). Articles>Publishing>Online>Plagiarism


Better Search Engine Design: Beyond Algorithms

Search engine accuracy is important, but convenience may be more important than squeezing the last few ounces of performance out of your system. Peter Van Dijck demonstrates simple but effective query analysis, best bets, and controlled vocabularies -- tools to make your search engines more effective.

Van Dijck, Peter. O'Reilly and Associates (2004). Articles>Web Design>Search>Controlled Vocabulary


Review: Bosworth's Web of Data

In a Thursday morning keynote at the MySQL Users Conference 2005, Google's Adam Bosworth advocated an open model for data. Although he was not referring to open source, he expanded upon the example by explaining that customers like open source software because of the transparency.

Steinberg, Daniel H. O'Reilly and Associates (2005). Articles>Reviews>Information Design>SQL


Building New Documents with XSLT   (PDF)

This chapter will take you a few steps further by showing you how to add text and markup to your result tree with XSLT templates. First, you'll addliteral text to your output. Then you'll work with literal result elements, that is, elements that are represented literally in templates. You'll also learn how to add content with the text, element, attribute, attribute-set, comment, and processing-instruction elements. In addition, you'll get your first encounter with attribute value templates, which provide a way to define templates inside attribute values.

Fitzgerald, Michael. O'Reilly and Associates (2003). Design>Information Design>XML>XSL


Calculating the True Price of Software

Therefore, the major difference in worldview between open source advocates and proprietary software license advocates is explainable as a differing opinion on the correct value of the volatility of maintenance and upgrade pricing. People who believe that the pricing on maintenance is stable and unlikely to change see greater intrinsic value in the software. People who fear that the pricing is subject to large fluctuations see no intrinsic value in the up-front license; stripped of the options, the license value approaches $0.

Lefkowitz, Robert. O'Reilly and Associates (2005). Articles>Technology>Software>Open Source


Cascading Style Sheets: HTML and CSS

In many ways, the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) specification represents a unique development in the history of the World Wide Web. In its inherent ability to allow richly styled structural documents, CSS is both a step forward and a step backward--but it's a good step backward, and a needed one. To see what is meant by this, it is first necessary to understand how the Web got to the point of desperately needing something like CSS, and how CSS makes the web a better place for both page authors and web surfers.

Meyer, Eric. O'Reilly and Associates (2001). Design>Web Design>CSS


The Case Against Micropayments

P2P creates two problems that micropayments seem ideally suited to solve. The first is the need to reward creators of text, graphics, music or video without the overhead of publishing middlemen or the necessity to charge high prices. The success of music-sharing systems such as Napster and Audiogalaxy, and the growth of more general platforms for file sharing such as Gnutella, Freenet and AIMster, make this problem urgent.

Shirky, Clay. O'Reilly and Associates (2000). Articles>Web Design>E Commerce>Micropayments


The Challenges of Remote Collaboration

Open source development works because of remote collaboration; developers working together despite physical distance. With mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships, in-house developers are struggling with the same issues open source developers have addressed. Mark Murphy explains some of the challenges of remote collaboration.

Murphy, Mark. O'Reilly and Associates (2003). Articles>Collaboration>Online


Collaborative Document Editing with svk

Say you have a document that needs to be presented in two languages and you are the translator. While the translation is in progress, someone revises the original master document. This means you now might be working with an outdated paragraph or one no longer present in the master version. This article tries to map this problem to parallel development, which version control systems solve with the branch and merge model. You will also see how svk helps you maintain translated documents easily.

Kao, Chia-liang. O'Reilly and Associates (2004). Articles>Content Management>Collaboration>Writing


Content Syndication with RSS   (PDF)

In this chapter we examine the RSS 0.91, 0.92, and 2.0 specifications in detail. We also show how to create your own feeds and use those created by others.

Hammersley, Ben. O'Reilly and Associates (2003). Design>Information Design>XML>RSS


Create an XML Schema Document from an Instance or DTD

There are several tools that can help you generate an XML Schema document from either an instance or a DTD. This hack shows you how to get the job done with little fuss.

O'Reilly and Associates (2005). Articles>Information Design>XML


Create Well-Formed XML with JavaScript

Use JavaScript to ensure that you write correct, well-formed XML in web pages.

O'Reilly and Associates (2005). Articles>Information Design>XML


Database Templates with MySQL

Once you've built several MySQL databases, you'll learn some shortcuts to database design. Why stop there? Take this trick a step further and put together a generic database with a set of empty, standard tables. With a well-designed MySQL template, you can quickly assemble the basics of any database as needed. A template also allows you to focus on the more interesting aspects of a database project.

Dyer, Russell. O'Reilly and Associates (2004). Articles>Information Design>Databases>SQL


Dither Scatterplots with XSLT and SVG

Use XSLT and SVG to offset points in X-Y scatterplots so they do not plot on top of each other.

O'Reilly and Associates (2005). Articles>Graphic Design>XML>SVG


Documenting Schemas   (PDF)

The issue of documenting schemas—or any machine readable language—goes beyond simple additions of comments. Thereal challengeistocreateschemasthat arereadablebothdirectlybylookingat their sourcecodeandbydocumentation extraction tools.

van der Vlist, Eric. O'Reilly and Associates (2001). Articles>Information Design>XML>Documentation


Edit XML Documents with Emacs and nXML

The nXML mode for GNU Emacs provides a powerful environment for creating valid XML documents.

O'Reilly and Associates (2005). Articles>Information Design>XML


Entering and Editing Text   (PDF)

This section will show you how to insert text, symbols, and special characters; select characters, words, and paragraphs; and copy and paste text. This section also covers methods of automatic text entry, including AutoCorrect and AutoText.

Glenn, Walter. O'Reilly and Associates (2004). Articles>Word Processing>Software>Microsoft Word


Essential Tools of an XML Workflow

This webcast is for those publishers who have made the decision to pursue digital channels for their content. What tools are out there? What do all those acronyms mean? How can publishers implement new strategies without disrupting current workflows? Here we explore the alphabet soup of digital publishing, sort out the tools that are most useful, and help publishers find some solid ground.

Dawson, Laura. O'Reilly and Associates (2009). Presentations>Information Design>XML>Video


Five Lessons You Should Learn from Extreme Programming

Extreme Programming (XP) is yet another popular idea gaining press. It adapts the best ideas from the past decades of software development. Whether or not you adopt XP, it's worth considering what XP teaches.

O'Reilly and Associates (2004). Articles>Information Design>Programming


Flash MX Accessibility Issues

When usability expert Jakob Nielsen proclaimed Flash was 99 percent bad, he was right on at least one account: accessibility. Until the release of Flash MX and the Flash 6 player, about 41 million disabled Web users could not take full advantage of Flash Web sites (According to World Bank in 2000). Even with Macromedia's move to support Section 508 guidelines, the government's plan for Web accessibility, the majority of Flash developers have not adopted the necessary best practices. Advertisement In previous versions of the Flash player, disabled Web users were unable to view any content generated by Flash. The Flash 6 player took a big step in this regard by retroactively providing text equivalents to the application's content. This change has allowed assistive Web browsers such as screen readers to view or speak Flash content. Many Flash developers question the need for Flash accessibility since proper accessibility requires a text-only version of existing Web content. This is a myth: images and animation can actually help users with nonvisual disabilities such as dyslexia. Flash can also benefit the blind by incorporating sound to notify the Web surfer of events.

Perry, Jason Michael. O'Reilly and Associates (2002). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Flash



Free software is not free - it comes with an implicit obligation that you respect the rights of its creators, and that you give something back from your use of the software, from code libraries to promotion to documentation, to the larger community. It's possible, indeed probable, that this ethos, derived by programmers and engineers to solve some very real problems, may in fact be a sound model on which to build an economy.

Cagle, Kurt. O'Reilly and Associates (2009). Articles>Publishing>Writing>Micropayments


Getting Started with SGML/XML

This chapter is intended to provide a quick introduction to structured markup (SGML and XML). If you're already familiar with SGML or XML, you only need to skim this chapter. To work with DocBook, you need to understand a few basic concepts of structured editing in general, and DocBook, in particular. That's covered here. You also need some concrete experience with the way a DocBook document is structured.

Walsh, Norman and Leonard Muellner. O'Reilly and Associates (1999). Articles>Documentation>Standards>XML


Going DITA

It’s hard to go to a content management or publishing technology conference these days without there being a presentation on DITA — the Darwinian Information Typing Architecture. For the uninitiated, DITA is an XML architecture for authoring and publishing topic-based content, typically technical documentation. The brainchild of IBM, where it is used internally for many documentation projects, DITA is now an open-source standard under the aegis of OASIS.

Hondros, Constantine. O'Reilly and Associates (2005). Articles>Information Design>XML>DITA


Here's Another Reason Why Metadata Matters

Metadata is now both a competitive advantage and a competitive necessity. And if we really want content to be found and audiences to be served and apps and revenue to be created, we'll give metadata — annoying as it may be — the attention it deserves.

Slocum, Mac. O'Reilly and Associates (2011). Articles>Information Design>Metadata



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