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Quick and Easy Usability in XMetaL Author

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XMetaL Author is an XML editor platform that is designed to be improved through customization. With small amounts of effort you can greatly enhance the usability of XMetaL, improving your customers' productivity and increasing user acceptance. In this webinar we'll highlight a few simple techniques that will help you get the most "usability return" on a small amount of "customization investment".

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Quick and Easy Usability in XMetaL Author

  1. 1. in 37 minutes<br />Episode #2:<br /> Quick and Easy Usability<br /> in XMetaL Author<br />Presenter:<br /> Tom Magliery<br /> XML Technology Specialist<br />Brought to you by XMetaL Technical Services<br />
  2. 2. XMetaL Author requires a “document customization” for any document type<br />Customization includes the DTD/schema, style sheets, element properties, forms, macros<br />DITA customization is included with XMEE<br />Provides many special features for working with DITA<br />Background: How XMetaL works<br />There are 37 holes in the mouthpiece of a telephone (old style).<br />
  3. 3. Default is automatically generated<br />Style sheets serviceable, not especially pretty<br />Generic XML editing<br />E.g., Working Element List and Attribute Inspector, but no DTD-specific menu items<br />Authors can work, but not as efficient as they could be<br />How can we improve the situation?<br />Techniques applicable both to new and existing customizations<br />Customizations for other doctypes<br />All American Express card numbers start with 37.<br />
  4. 4. Know your users’ needs and wants<br />Study authors’ habits and preferences<br />Analyze common tasks<br />Identify inefficiencies<br />Now some examples of low-hanging fruit ...<br />Before you begin<br />“I’m 37, I’m not old” – Dennis the peasant in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”<br />
  5. 5. Modify the style sheets<br />Easy pickin’s #1<br />
  6. 6. Style sheets are not only for aesthetics<br />Also should help the author to visualize markup<br />Improve author’s understanding of structure<br />CSS is widely known standard<br />High visual impact<br />Minimal effort can yield dramatic changes<br />Don’t forget about Structure View!<br />Separate CSS adds further flexibility<br />#1: Modify the style sheets<br />Beethoven's symphonies comprise 37 movements.<br />
  7. 7. The Green Monster in Fenway Park is 37 feet tall.<br />Modified DITA CSS<br />37 added lines of code<br />Look at the difference<br />Style sheet example<br />
  8. 8. Make new document templates<br />Easy pickin’s #2<br />
  9. 9. Built-in templates are simple and generic<br />Make templates that better match your content<br />Include all “required” elements<br />Saves authors time<br />Add/modify “replaceable text” hints<br />Element descriptions<br />Usage and style guidelines<br />#2: Make new document templates<br />"This is the 37th time I have spoken to you from this office ..." – R. Nixon's resignation speech<br />
  10. 10. Creating templates for XMetaL<br />Create an XML file<br />Save it in XMetaL’s template folders<br />Each subfolder makes a tab<br />Nixon was also the 37th President.<br />
  11. 11. Creating templates for DITA<br />Create a DITA file in XMetaL<br />Run the “Save Copy as Template” macro<br />Saves with proper doctype and strips IDs<br />Hannibal brought 37 elephants with him on his conquest of Rome.<br />
  12. 12. Change element mini-templates<br />Easy pickin’s #3<br />Elaine slept with Jerry 37 times.<br />
  13. 13. Same idea as with document templates<br />Except they’re littler<br />Change is in the CTM file<br />XML fragment for every element<br />#3: Change element mini-templates<br />Cool Hand Luke's prison uniform number is 37.<br />
  14. 14. Write helpful macros<br />Easy pickin’s #4<br />
  15. 15. Computers are supposed to do the tedious work for us!<br />Identify frequent, repetitive or inefficient actions<br />Write macros to do them automatically<br />Be sure to assign a hotkey<br />Can also do menu/toolbar items, but we are looking at minimal effort here<br />#4: Write helpful macros<br />The landing slope angle for international ski aerials competition is 37 degrees.<br />
  16. 16. Create special-purpose commands for commonly-used elements: <br />Example: Insert macro<br /><MACRO name="Insert_Unordered_List"<br />hide="false"<br />key="Ctrl+Shift+B"<br />lang="JScript"><br /> <![CDATA[<br />if (Selection.CanInsert("ul")) {<br />Selection.InsertWithTemplate("ul");<br /> };<br /> ]]><br /></MACRO><br />SPAM was invented in 1937.<br />
  17. 17. No built-in command in XMetaL:<br />“Select entire element contents (not the tags)”<br />But there is an API ... so write a macro<br />Example: Power-user macro<br /><MACRO name="Select_Container_Contents"<br />hide="false"<br />key="Ctrl+Shift+S"<br />lang="JScript"><br /> <![CDATA[<br /> Selection.SelectContainerContents();<br /> ]]><br /></MACRO><br />There are 37 points in a “perfect” hand in bridge.<br />
  18. 18. Create custom forms<br />Easy pickin’s #5<br />
  19. 19. Sometimes a form-style interface is more understandable<br />Use XFT to create custom forms<br />#5: Create custom forms<br />The curie, a unit of radiation activity, is 37 billion disintegrations per second.<br />
  20. 20. Developer documentation<br />http://na.justsystems.com/content-support-user-guides<br />XMetaL Customization Guide<br />XMetaL Developer Programmer's Guide<br />XMetaL Community Forums<br />http://forums.xmetal.com/<br />JustSystems Partner Centre<br />http://justpartnercenter.com/<br />Ask us for help (partner tech support)<br />partnersupport-na@justsystems.com<br />Is there a way to ... ?<br />The first touchdown pass in Super Bowl history was for 37 yards.<br />
  21. 21. Thank you for attending!<br />Q&A<br />“Thirty-seven!” – Dante in “Clerks”<br />

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