1




                                               Lars Trieloff
  Open Source for
 Tech Writing Teams
Supporting Techni...
About the Speaker                                  2
Open Source Developer (Apache Cocoon, Goshaky)




                  ...
Introduction                              3
 High tech vendors need technical




                                        ...
Processes: Who needs
                                  4
       them?
help us coordinate teamwork




                    ...
How information
                    5
 workers work




                  Lars Trieloff
Who collaborates in
technical documentation 6




                       Lars Trieloff
Activities in the Process     7




                            Lars Trieloff
Activities in the Process     7




                            Lars Trieloff
 learn about
   the user
Activities in the Process     7




                            Lars Trieloff
 learn about
 the product
Activities in the Process     7




                            Lars Trieloff
   evaluate
 current docs
Activities in the Process     7




                            Lars Trieloff
     synthesize
    information
Activities in the Process     7




                            Lars Trieloff
       write the
     information
         plan
Activities in the Process     7




                            Lars Trieloff
         create the
          content
      ...
Activities in the Process     7




                            Lars Trieloff
          create the
          first draft
Activities in the Process     7




                            Lars Trieloff
           review the
            first draft
Activities in the Process     7




                            Lars Trieloff
              write the
            second d...
Activities in the Process      7




                             Lars Trieloff
              copy-editing
Activities in the Process          7




                                 Lars Trieloff
                localization &
   ...
Activities in the Process             7




                                    Lars Trieloff
                      publis...
Activities in the Process           7




                                  Lars Trieloff
                    publish to
 ...
Activities in the Process     7




                            Lars Trieloff
Management Activities                                      8
Development of a project plan




                           ...
9
The Toolchain




                                  Lars Trieloff
We want a 100% free software
toolchain to support role...
The Basics:
Documentation Format 10
DocBook




                                                     Lars Trieloff
   esta...
Next: Tools for
                  11
Documentation
 Inkscape




                  Lars Trieloff
 GIMP
 XML Editors?
    E...
Advanced: Team
                                      12
Infrastructure
 Technical Documentation can learn




            ...
Version Control                       13
 A safeguard for your work




                                      Lars Trielof...
Bug Tracking                            14
 In software development:




                                        Lars Trie...
Wikis                                     15
 Where to use




                                          Lars Trieloff
   ...
Conclusion                                   16
Technical Documentation is difficult




                                  ...
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Open Source For Technical Writing Teams

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Supporting Technical Documentation Processes with Open Source Tools. A presentation by Lars Trieloff held on Linux Tag 2007 in Berlin.

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Open Source For Technical Writing Teams

  1. 1. 1 Lars Trieloff Open Source for Tech Writing Teams Supporting Technical Documentation with Open Source Tools
  2. 2. About the Speaker 2 Open Source Developer (Apache Cocoon, Goshaky) Lars Trieloff Book Author (DocBook-XML, published 2005) Startup Founder (Mindquarry, 2006) Blogger (http://weblogs.goshaky.com/weblogs/lars/) Interests: Web 2.0, Collaboration, Documentation
  3. 3. Introduction 3 High tech vendors need technical Lars Trieloff documentation Open Source projects need technical documentation even more Mediator between the product and the user technical documentation needs: people process tools This talk is all about process&tools
  4. 4. Processes: Who needs 4 them? help us coordinate teamwork Lars Trieloff help us coordinate people help us coordinate tasks help us coordinate knowledge Conclusion: We need processes
  5. 5. How information 5 workers work Lars Trieloff
  6. 6. Who collaborates in technical documentation 6 Lars Trieloff
  7. 7. Activities in the Process 7 Lars Trieloff
  8. 8. Activities in the Process 7 Lars Trieloff learn about the user
  9. 9. Activities in the Process 7 Lars Trieloff learn about the product
  10. 10. Activities in the Process 7 Lars Trieloff evaluate current docs
  11. 11. Activities in the Process 7 Lars Trieloff synthesize information
  12. 12. Activities in the Process 7 Lars Trieloff write the information plan
  13. 13. Activities in the Process 7 Lars Trieloff create the content specification
  14. 14. Activities in the Process 7 Lars Trieloff create the first draft
  15. 15. Activities in the Process 7 Lars Trieloff review the first draft
  16. 16. Activities in the Process 7 Lars Trieloff write the second draft
  17. 17. Activities in the Process 7 Lars Trieloff copy-editing
  18. 18. Activities in the Process 7 Lars Trieloff localization & translation
  19. 19. Activities in the Process 7 Lars Trieloff publish to print and web
  20. 20. Activities in the Process 7 Lars Trieloff publish to online help
  21. 21. Activities in the Process 7 Lars Trieloff
  22. 22. Management Activities 8 Development of a project plan Lars Trieloff Development of estimates for all activities Tracking of hours expended for all activities cost-control, better estimates, better managebility Manage translators Manage production checklist
  23. 23. 9 The Toolchain Lars Trieloff We want a 100% free software toolchain to support roles and activities in the documentation process
  24. 24. The Basics: Documentation Format 10 DocBook Lars Trieloff established open source documentation format lots of tools Alternatives: DITA, Tex Image Publishing: PNG (raster graphics) and SVG (vector graphics)
  25. 25. Next: Tools for 11 Documentation Inkscape Lars Trieloff GIMP XML Editors? Emacs jEdit Lyx VIM Pollo Xerlin Quanta VEX
  26. 26. Advanced: Team 12 Infrastructure Technical Documentation can learn Lars Trieloff from Software Development. Different Work Same Problems Similar Solutions Possible Three signs of successful software projects: Version Control Systems Bug Tracking Systems Wikis
  27. 27. Version Control 13 A safeguard for your work Lars Trieloff nothing gets lost undo/redo for your team Activity tracking logs differential comparison Concurrent work merging we are using XML, it‘s possible Version Control Systems Subversion Bazaar, Mercurial, Codeville Mindquarry (easy to use GUI)
  28. 28. Bug Tracking 14 In software development: Lars Trieloff Bug Tracking Issue Tracking In technical documentation: task tracking Benefits everyone knows what to do managers can track allows bottom-up-management State of the Art: Bugzilla (Powerful, but complex) Mindquarry is a lightweight task tracker for teams
  29. 29. Wikis 15 Where to use Lars Trieloff collaborative whiteboard collaborative outliner collaborative mindmap collaborative website gather information in wikis Do not use Wikis for producing contents - It‘s authoring capabilities are weak compared to your desktop tools Software MediaWiki, MoinMoin, Mindquarry
  30. 30. Conclusion 16 Technical Documentation is difficult Lars Trieloff Processes can help making your life easier Processes are often hard to implement Software for team infrastructure can help Software is hard to use, too, but Mindquarry is an Open Source Collaboration Software with usability in mind
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