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					What’s Up, EDoc?!
Who Am I?
  Neil   Perlin - Hyper/Word Services.
    – In tech. comm. since „79 at DEC.
    – Creating hypertext since „85.
    – Creating WinHelp since „90.
    – Using HTML since „91.
    – Training/consulting on HATs since „95.
    – XML, single-sourcing, mobile since „98.
    – STC‟s lead representative to the W3C.
  Dead   but still fairly common.
    – ~51% - ref 2002 WinWriters survey.
  Maintenance   – few new projects.
HTML Help(s)
  Current mainstream formats are in or
   based on HTML.
    – HTML Help
    – WebHelp
    – Others
  BTW,   HTML is now XHTML (XML).
First Moves To XML for Doc
  Little   use of XML for doc, so far.
    – Little demand for XML-based doc.
      » HTML works just fine, thanks…
      » RoboHelp/WebWorks/etc. meets our single
        sourcing needs, so why bother?
    – Few doc-oriented WYSIWYG authoring
      tools to drive development.
  But  formats are shifting and tools are
   starting to appear.
Increasingly Complex Environment
  Can get in trouble if you fall behind.
  Be wary of terminology traps.
    – Windows Help vs. WinHelp.
    – WebHelp vs. Web Help.
    – HTML Help vs. HTML help.
    – MAML vs. MAML
Short Term
Single Sourcing
  Dates back to „91 with Doc-To-Help.
  Newly hot as we head for auto-output
   of content subsets in different formats,
   devices, or modalities…
    – Anybody doing this?
    – Required technology depends on your
      single sourcing needs.
       » RoboHelp or WebWorks might be enough.
XML In One Slide
  A   “meta-language”…
    – Create custom tags or entire languages.
    – Define and enforce syntax rules.
    – Basically a master format for conversion to
      other formats – e.g. single sourcing.
  Content  structure and standardization
   are crucial for this.
XML Authoring Tools For Doc
   “Blank slate” tools –Epic, xMetal…
   Framemaker.
   Word tools and add-ons:
    – SGML tools - i4i x4o and Inera eXtyles.
    – ePublisher Pro
    – Word 2003 (duh…)
XML Authoring Tools
   Other   or emerging tools:
    – RoboHelp X5… maybe...
    – Madcap Flare.
    – Probably others.
  Extensible HTML.
   – HTML, rewritten to follow XML syntax.
   – Essentially, HTML done right.
   – Like an infinitely extensible HTML.
   – Has replaced HTML, officially.
And RoboHelp?
   – Will there be an X6?
   – If not, will X5 be usable for years or will
     IE 7 kill it?
   – Replacement options – Dreamweaver,
     ePublisher Pro, Flare…
Structured Information Design
  Simply   means info must be structured.
    – But defining what that means is vital.
  Ranges   from using:
    – Styles in Word to
    – Templates to
    – Objects in a CMS repository, extracted
      using scripts, and run through XSLTs.
  Will   be a nightmare for many groups.
Knowledge Management
  Organize  and package content for
   different uses and users.
    – What we‟ve been doing for years.
    – Need to sell it more effectively.
Database Publishing/CMS
  Modularizes     content in repositories for:
    – Storage.
    – Access and revision.
    – Extraction, conversion, and publishing.
       » Proprietary CMSs under pressure from XML-
         based CMSs.
  Seems  destined to eliminate us.
  It won‟t, but be ready for a fight.
Growth of Industry Standards
  ISO, W3C, OASIS, NISO etc. are now
   increasingly important.
  Past standards work created today‟s
  Today‟s work is creating tomorrow‟s.
  The more we know about that work:
    – The more flexible, competitive, and
      marketable we‟ll be.
    – Speaking of W3C Watchers…
Growth of Internal Standards
  Need  standards for style, structure, and
   content in order to create material in a
   flexibly-outputtable form.
  Need to support today‟s formats and
   tomorrow‟s as-yet-undefined formats.
  No more “Ready, Fire, Aim” projects.
Long Term
Longhorn Help
   Help  system for Longhorn (now Vista).
   Due out in 2006(?).
   XML-based – uses MAML (Microsoft
    Assistance Markup Language).
   Question of adoption rate for Longhorn –
    will web help beat out Longhorn Help?
Flash and Flash Lite
  Flash – Market-leading animation tool.
  Flash Lite – Flash for mobile devices.
    – To create apps for devices that lack the
      horsepower to run full Flash apps.
    – Macromedia has made a strategic commit-
      ment to mobile devices.
Scalable Vector Graphics
  XML-based   graphics format.
  Animation, selective decompression.
  May compete with Flash.
    – Mixed support from vendors.
  “Information   about information”.
  To find, retrieve, process, and manage
    – Some major standards – Dublin Core,
      XMP, RDF – in a chaotic environment.
  For now, get in the habit of filling out
   any property sheets in your apps.
  Talk to IT about directions.
  Web-based     logs/journals - web logs.
  Updated more often than a typical web
   site - daily or even more often.
  Popular service at
  For tools, see: 0107846/stories/
  Hawaiian   for “quick”?
    – Supposedly named for the luggage cart
      service at Honolulu International.
  Dynamic,   multi-contributor web sites
   that take advantage of the sum of the
   contributors‟ knowledge.
    – See
  Consider  problems of group dynamics
   and legal risks.
 RDF  (or Rich) Site Summary.
 XML format for syndicating web
   – Syndicated content is registered with RSS
     publisher that sends it to subscriber sites.
   – Conceptually similar to server-push but
     with more of a pull aspect.
  Similar to, and based on, RSS, but for
   audio content.
  Content designed to be downloaded to
   and played on iPods or similar devices.
Mobile Devices
  The  mobile web failed but people still
   want mobile access to content, a la
   cell phones and WiFi.
    – W3C is trying again with Mobile Web
      Initiative (
  Ifyour audience includes field service
   or mobile users, think mobile devices.
Device Independence
  Extends  mobile device idea to make
   content usable on any device with no
   siloing or hand-tailoring.
    – Once again, single sourcing.
  W3C  activity at
  As with mobile devices, know your
“Visual Help”
  Demos   or interactive simulations based
   on screen “movies” rather than text and
   screen shots.
    – Learning by viewing, then doing.
  Createdusing tools like Captivate and
And More…
 Virtualpeople as help interfaces.
 Voice interfaces.
 Ubiquitous/pervasive computing or
  Web Presence.
 Grid computing.
Some Crucial Questions
  Which technologies will take off?
  Which will you use?

  Who knows…
  So what do we do?
    – Managers and developers must look at...
Strategic Issues
  Learn the company‟s strategic direction.
  Get involved in setting that direction.
  Be able to explain:
    – Your documentation goals.
    – How those goals mesh with the company‟s.
      »e.g. why we‟re doing what we‟re doing…
    – Then think about tools.
Management Issues
  Watch technical trends in the industry.
  Focus on structure and standards for:
    – Cross- and upward-compatibility.
    – Repeatable, predictable, cost-effective
      development and maintenance.
  Focus on cross-department effects.
  Take everything with a grain of salt.
Business Issues
  Watch business trends in the industry.
  Recognize that:
    – Technology exists in a business context.
    – Content (cool) is replacing documentation.
    – “Cool” gets more $, attracting consultants.
  Learn to talk “CFO-ish” and ROI to
    compete with the consultants.
Content Creation Issues
  Focus   on users‟ information needs, not
    a technology‟s information capability.
    – Don‟t do something because it‟s cool.
  Our  job is to create content, not get
    caught up in a tool.
    – All cutting-edge tools eventually become
Where‟s the STC Going?
  The  STC isn‟t the universe.
  Many technical “writers” have never
   heard of the STC but still have jobs.
  Traditional tasks still have to be done.
  New tasks (metator) and markets (low-
   tech like hospitals) are opening up.
  Your direction and marketing are up to
 Thank you...

Hyper/Word Services

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