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Structured writing - What's it Good For?

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Slides from my presentation at Barcelona Content Strategy Meetup, 20 October 2014. …

Slides from my presentation at Barcelona Content Strategy Meetup, 20 October 2014.

Defines structured writing, and discusses how it differs from other forms, what it means for writers, and how it's managed.

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  • 1. STRUCTURED WRITING What’s  It  Good  For? RAY   G ALLON C U LT U R E C O M TRA THE   SO CI ION   MAT SFOR N ETY Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  • 2. What Is Structured Writing? Structured  Writing  means  writing  self-­‐sufficient,  semantically   tagged  chunks  of  information  that  include  relevant  metadata.     Information  chunks  are  reusable  in  a  variety  of  situations,   providing  write  once,  publish  everywhere  capability.   Semantic  tagging  has  no  display  information.   Display  is  controlled  separately  and  is  context  dependent.   Chunks  can  be  grouped  together  in  containers,  and  can  inherit   characteristics  of  the  container.   Metadata  in  chunks  can  be  used  for  automating  certain   processes. Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  • 3. HTTP://WWW.BBC.CO.UK/FOOD/RECIPES/PIZZA_EXPRESSED_THREE_77124 Recipe   Preparation   Steps   ! step   step   step   Video   ! Ingredients   Pizza  dough   ingredient   ingredient…
 Topping   ingredient   ingredient…   ! Topping   ingredient   ingredient     ingredient     ingredient…
 Topping   /Steps     Steptechnique   technique/   Steps   step   METADATA: HARISA, CHILLI, SAUGE, ROCKET METADATA: GOATS’ CHEESE, SWEET PEPPER, CHORIZO METADATA: ingredient   FETA, ingredient     HUMUS, ingredient   ZUCCHINI ingredient…   /Ingredients /Steps     Steptechnique   technique/   Steps   step   step   step…   /Steps     Reqtechnique   technique   technique/   /Preparation   /Recipe What Is Structured Writing? A  cooking  recipe  is  one  of  the  most  common  structures Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  • 4. HTML: Mix of Semantic and 
 Non Semantic Tagging <dt class="stage-title">For the goats’ cheese, sweet pepper and chorizo topping</dt> <dd> <ul> <li><p class="ingredient">50ml/1¾fl oz <a href="/food/passata" class="name food”>passata</a></p></li> <li><p class="ingredient">50g/1¾oz peppadew peppers (these are available from most supermarkets, near the capers and <a href="/food/vinegar" class="name food">vinegars</a>!)</p></li> <li><p class="ingredient">3 sprigs of <a href="/food/thyme" class="name food">thyme</a> </p></li> <li><p class="ingredient">1 <a href="/food/garlic" class="name food">garlic</a> clove</p></li> <li><p class="ingredient">75g/3oz goats’ <a href="/food/cheese" class="name food">cheese</a></p></li> <li><p class="ingredient">10 <a href="/food/chorizo" class="name food">chorizo</a> slices</p></li> <li><p class="ingredient">extra virgin <a href="/food/olive_oil" class="name food">olive oil</a></p></li> <li><p class="ingredient">small handful of fresh <a href="/food/basil" class="name food">basil</a> leaves</p></li> <li><p class="ingredient">salt and <a href="/food/pepper" class="name food">pepper</a></p></li> </ul> </dd> This  looks  mostly  like  XHTML,  and   is  mostly  semantic  (with  the   exception  of  the  <a>  tag  ,  which  is   a  catch-­‐all  for  almost  anything).     Tags  like  <b>  or  <i>  however,  are   not  at  all  semantic. Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  • 5. XML: Purely Semantic Tagging <task><title>Pizza Expressed Three Ways</title> <taskbody> <context> … <ul><title>For the goats’ cheese, sweet pepper and chorizo topping</title> <li> <itemgroup props="ingredient">50ml/1¾fl oz <xref href="/food/passata" format="html" scope=“internal" props=“name food”>passata </xref> </itemgroup> </li> <li> <itemgroup props="ingredient">50g/1¾oz peppadew peppers (these are available from most supermarkets, near the capers and <xref href="/food/vinegar" format="html" scope=“internal" props=“name food”>vinegars!) </ xref> </itemgroup> </li> … <li> <itemgroup props="ingredient">salt and <xref href="/food/pepper" format="html" scope=“internal" props=“name food”></itemgroup> </li></ul> </context> … Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  • 6. XML: Purely Semantic Tagging … <li> <itemgroup props="ingredient">salt and <xref href="/food/pepper" format="html" scope=“internal" props=“name food”></itemgroup> </li></ul> </context> <steps> <step><cmd>Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/Gas 9.</cmd></step> <step><cmd>Put the flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre and add the oil and 175ml/6fl oz of warm (but not too hot) tap water. Then mix it all together with a wooden spoon to form a slightly sticky ball.</cmd></step> … <step><cmd>Once cooked, scatter the rocket over the harissa, chilli and sausage pizza. Scatter the basil leaves over the cooked goats’ cheese pizza and drizzle with a little oil. Drizzle the balsamic glaze over the feta pizza with a good drizzle of olive oil, then scatter over the mint leaves. Serve the pizzas immediately.</cmd></step> </steps> </taskbody> Alternative  Semantic  Structure:   </task> <step><cmd>Put the flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre and add the oil and 175ml/6fl oz of warm (but not too hot) tap water. Then mix it all together with a wooden spoon.</cmd> <stepresult>It will form a slightly sticky ball.
 … </stepresult></step> Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  • 7. Structuring Tools Implemented  in  1980s  to  answer   needs  arising  from  paper-­‐to-­‐ digital-­‐media  transition,   adopted  as  ISO  standard   Uses  Document  Type  Definitions   (DTDs)  to  describe  the  logical   structure  of  document   Too  rich,  too  complex  to  be   really  useful  at  large  scale.   Favoured  largely  by  the  military. Subset  of  SGML   Includes  output  specifications,   absent  from  SGML   Uses  DTD  or  Schema  languages   to  describe  the  logical   structure  of  document Uses  a  terse  formal  syntax   that  declares:   Precisely  which  elements   and  references  may  appear     Where  in  the  document  of   the  particular  type,  and     What  the  elements’   contents  and  attributes  are.     A  DTD  can  also  declare   entities  that  may  be  used  in   the  instance  document. Provide  much  greater   specificity  than  DTD  They     Namespace  aware   Provide  support  for  types Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  • 8. Some Specific Structures e   r  th tion   fo ion   roduc at cific  and  p ions,   e d   at L  sp ment blic n,  use XM ure pu roc hnical   aviatio ations p   c c f  te ed  for y  appli o ign av des rts-­‐he a in  p E-­‐learn in specifi g  software   ca learnin tion  that  al lo g speak  content  an ws    to d   that  re  each  other systems  to    in c of  lear ords  and  tra  a  manner   n ck not  ne ing  experien s  all  types   cessar ces.  LM y S   Dev e sch loped   e b man ma  for y  IBM,  t  o age d  by echnica pen  so u  Oa sis  f l  docum rce   oun dat ents,   ion Open  so sourc urce  sche ed m instru  repair  &   a  for  crow m ct d iFixit. ions  on  lin aintenance -­‐ co e,   Foun m  now  m  develope datio anage d n d  by  O  by   asis   cument”  -­‐   t  Definition  Do “Elemen eMaker),   oprietary  (Fram Adobe  Pr SGML   exportable  to   or   ions  f cat pecifi .  It    of  s ction  e-­‐learning ns   Colle ased tio -­‐b unica ontent   web s  comm de  c e si LMS defin en  client   .  Needs   m e betw ost  syste  h and  a Com p origi lex,  Flex n i DTD ally  an  S ble,    now G  in  X ML   ML Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  • 9. Managing Structure EDITING  TOOL AUTHORING WEB  CMS AUTHORING   VERSION  CONTROL   ASSET  MANAGEMENT   PUBLISHING COMPONENT  CMS VERSION  CONTROL   PUBLICATION  SNAPSHOTS   CORRELATION  OF  LANGUAGE  VERSIONS   BUILD  TIME  VARIABLES   PUBLICATION  SCRIPTS   DIGITAL  ASSET   MANAGEMENT,   DATABASE,   LMS,  ETC. PUBLICATION   ENGINE USERS ACCESS Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  • 10. Not All CMS’s Are Alike Web  CMS   Manages  documents,  might   manage  chunks   Component  CMS   Designed  to  manage  chunks   Oriented  towards  publishing   Works  on  authoring  side   only   Authoring  tools  included,   often  difficult  to  use   Integrates  with  specialised   authoring  tools   Works  authoring  side  and   access  side Can  be  aware  of  specific   schemas Some  Web  CMS’s  are  now  getting  more  structure  friendly Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  • 11. It Will Change Even More CCMS Web  CMS Bug  Reporting in-­‐ Mo ap p,   bile:   ad ap embe tiv e,   dded hig h-­‐t ,  
 ou ch Content  Server CRM DMS Metadata Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  • 12. What About the Writers?   ormation: f ey  write  in ments  –  th write  docu   t    no  longer Writers lf-­‐sufficien  readable   st  be  se u d  in  chunks  -­‐  m  assemble e  be Standalon o  they  can le  s herent  sty a  co adhere  to   Must   fashion Wr ite rs   ca n  b ec om e  S ce  or  layout   ’t  do  appearan Writers  don y  don’t  know) e ultichannel  -­‐  th n  be  m (publishing  ca ME ’s New  fun ction:  co ntent  ar delivera chitect,   bles  and assemb  control les   s  display  (via  CSS ) Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  • 13. Structure is Good - But 
 You Don’t Always Need It! Conditions  when  you  don’t  need  structured  writing:   You  have  little  or  no  reusable  content   Desktop  publishing  (look,  layout,  precision  control  of   elements)  is  more  important  than  the  content  itself   You  publish  only  to  one  or  two  media  consistently   (especially  print),  and  mobile  devices  are  not  among  them   Unstructured  legacy  content  does  not  need  to  be  migrated   if  it  will  not  be  updated  -­‐  there  is  no  benefit. Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  • 14. The Big Mistake Not to Make Never  start  a  migration  to  structure  before  you   understand  clearly  what  your  model  needs  to  be.   You  can  correct  many  errors  later,  but  the  model  must  be   right  from  the  start  -­‐  though  you  can,  of  course,  improve   it.   Tools  are  important  -­‐  even  very  important  -­‐  but  they  are   no  substitute  for  understanding  your  content.   A  Tale  of  Two  Migrations Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved
  • 15. Example: Enhanced Tool Tip The  <shortdesc>  is  what  pops   up  on  hover  (Level  1) The  <abbreviated-­‐form>   glossary  entry  is  resolved   without  popup  definition  in  the   tool  tip.  It  is  rendered   differently  in  the  task  topic.   This  is  managed  from  the  CSS The  <resourceid>  element  links  the   tool  tip  to  the  interface  element.     ID’s  managed  by  the  development   team  with  tech  comm  input. ! The  topic  body  and  link  are  shown   in  the  tool  tip  slideout  (Level  2) Presentation  ©  22013  Ray  Gallon  all  ights  reserved Presentation  ©   012  Ray  Gallon  all  rrights  reserved
  • 16. Process Query Task Topic The  <shortdesc>  and  first  <p>   are  reused  from  the  tool  tip …to  pop  up  a  <keyref>  that   points  to  a  glossary  entry ! This  time  the  abbreviated-­‐ form  is  resolved  on  hover… Presentation  ©  22013  Ray  Gallon  all  ights  reserved Presentation  ©   012  Ray  Gallon  all  rrights  reserved
  • 17. Another Approach Thanks to Nathalie Laroche and Ixiasoft Tool  Tip   Level  1 Presentation  ©  22013  Ray  Gallon  all  ights  reserved Presentation  ©   012  Ray  Gallon  all  rrights  reserved
  • 18. Another Approach Thanks to Nathalie Laroche and Ixiasoft Tool  Tip   Level  2 Presentation  ©  22013  Ray  Gallon  all  ights  reserved Presentation  ©   012  Ray  Gallon  all  rrights  reserved
  • 19. Code Comparison of the 
 Two solutions Tool  Tip   Level  1 Tool  Tip   Level  2 Related   Links ! VALIDIT IXIASOFT Presentation  ©  22013  Ray  Gallon  all  ights  reserved Presentation  ©   012  Ray  Gallon  all  rrights  reserved
  • 20. RAY  GALLON THE   TRAN SFOR C U LT U R E C O M MAT ION  S O CI ETY Thank  You! Check  out  my  blog,  Rant  of  a  Humanist  Nerd:
 http://humanistnerd.culturecom.net Email:   infodesign@culturecom.net Google  Plus:  +Ray  Gallon Twitter:  @RayGallon LinkedIn:  Ray  Gallon Member, Board of Directors Presentation  ©  2013  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved