How automated conversion works  and why it matters      LavaCon 2012      Tuesday, October 9, 2012      How automated conv...
introductionHow automated conversion works                              how it works                                      ...
introductionHow automated conversion works                                        how it works                            ...
introductionHow automated conversion works                 how it works                                                   ...
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introductionHow automated conversion works                                            how it works                        ...
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introductionHow automated conversion works   how it works                                     patterns / context / guidanc...
introductionHow automated conversion works             how it works                                               patterns...
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introductionHow automated conversion works   how it works                                     patterns / context / guidanc...
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How automated conversion works  and why it matters   How automated conversion works   and why it matters      Questions?  ...
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Migrating to DITA: How Automated Conversion Works and Why it Matters

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Migrating to DITA: How Automated Conversion Works and Why it Matters

  1. 1. How automated conversion works and why it matters LavaCon 2012 Tuesday, October 9, 2012 How automated conversion works and why it matters Patrick Baker VP, development and professional services Stilo InternationalCopyright © Stilo International plc 2011
  2. 2. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion ► You‟ve decide to adopt the DITA standard ► CMS has been selected ► Publishing scripts are in development ► But your content is not yet in DITA ► It may be the least exciting part of the project, but conversion is necessary ► (But it‟s not evil!)
  3. 3. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion ► Automated conversion is an option ► You should consider it ► But why does it matter how it works? ►To fully appreciate what‟s possible ► So you can pick the best conversion solution ► It will enable you to better manage your conversion project ► But, in the end, what really matters? ► You do! ► You are the content owner, the subject matter expert (SME) ► You must be able to control the conversion
  4. 4. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion Agenda ► How does automated conversion work ► Patterns / context / guidance ► The secret to successful conversion revealed ► Managing a conversion project ► Conclusion
  5. 5. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion ► The challenge of conversion ► to create semantically rich XML from presentational documents semantic adjective: relating to meaning in language or logic origin: mid 17th century: from French sémantique, from Greek sēmantikos significant, from sēmainein signify, from sēma sign„ (from the oxford dictionary) ► How can we determine the meaning of the content in documents? ► There are three essential mechanisms that content conversion technology may leverage - they are: ► patterns ► context ► guided conversion
  6. 6. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion 9/30/12 30/9/12 +1 (613) 745-4242 $65.12 hello ► The meaning of the above are easily understood because humans are very good at recognizing patterns ► Computers are also good at this. They use a formalism known as regular expressions to recognize such textual patterns ► Regular expressions are a notation for regular grammars. A regular grammar describes a regular language. These notions comes from work done by linguists and mathematicians in the 1950s ► Though not all sequences of characters can be expressed as a regular language, in practice they are extremely useful for recognizing patterns at the micro-level (i.e. text of a few to several characters in length)
  7. 7. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion Example regular expressions 9/30/12 digit{1-2} “/” digit{1-2} “/” digit{1-2} 30/9/12 digit{1-2} “/” digit{1-2} “/” digit{1-2} +1 (613) 745-4242 (“+1” white-space)? (“(“ digit{3} “)”)? digit{3} “-” digit{4} $65.12 “$” digit+ “.” digit{2}? Hello white-space letter+ (white-space | [“.,?;:”])
  8. 8. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion ► While regular expressions can identify textual patterns, they do not understand the meaning of the text they recognize 7/4/12 digit{1-2} “/” digit{1-2} “/” digit{1-2} day or month? 1/7/12 digit{1-2} “/” digit{1-2} “/” digit{1-2}
  9. 9. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion ► Adequate context allows us (and computers) to evolve a deeper understanding of the meaning of text Context: A newspaper article authored in the USA 7/4/12 digit{1-2} “/” digit{1-2} “/” digit{1-2} month day Independence Day!! Context: A newspaper article authored in Canada 1/7/12 digit{1-2} “/” digit{1-2} “/” digit{1-2} day month Canada Day!!
  10. 10. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion ► Being Bold -- another example to demonstrate the value of context It was really cold out Click on the Enable Javascript checkbox Select: Start > Programs > Accessories > Notepad
  11. 11. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion ► Being Bold -- another example to demonstrate the value of context It was really cold out Not much context here, maybe this is just plain old bold, meaning emphasis
  12. 12. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion ► Being Bold -- another example to demonstrate the value of context Click on the Enable Javascript checkbox Perhaps we are inside a DITA task at this point. The word Click hints that a user interface element may be nearby. That fact combined with the bold formatting suggest we have a uicontrol. Click on the Enable Javascript checkbox uicontrol
  13. 13. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion ► Being Bold -- another example to demonstrate the value of context Select: Start > Programs > Accessories > Notepad Perhaps we are inside a DITA task at this point The word Select hints that a user interface element may be nearby Plus having a sequence of bold tokens with a common separator in between each bold fragment suggests that we have a cascade of uicontrols <menucascade> <uicontrol>Start</uicontrol> <uicontrol>Programs</uicontrol> <uicontrol>Accessories</uicontrol> <uicontrol>Notepad</uicontrol> </menucascade>
  14. 14. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion ► Topic type provides quite a useful contextual clue Quick-drop cookies 1. Prepare the dough. a. Beat the egg in a large bowl. b. Add flour. c. Stir in milk. 2. Prepare the topping. a. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in another bowl. 3. Form 1-inch round balls of dough. It is helpful to use a spoon when forming these balls. 4. Roll each ball in the topping. 5. Place each ball on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 425 F for 12 to 15 minutes.
  15. 15. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion ► If we are in a plain topic or concept <p>Quick-drop cookies</p> <ol> <li>Prepare the dough.</li> <ol> <li>Beat the egg in a large bowl.</li> <li>Add flour.</li> <li>Stir in milk.</li> </ol> <li>Prepare the topping.</li> <ol> <li>Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in another bowl.</li> </ol> <li><p>Form 1-inch round balls of dough.</p> <p>It is helpful to use a spoon when forming these balls.</p> </li> <li>Use a spoon to make 1-inch round balls of dough.</li> <li>Roll each ball in the topping.</li> <li>Place each ball on an ungreased cookie sheet.</li> </ol> <p>Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 15 minutes.</p>
  16. 16. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion► If we are in a task <task> <title>Quick-drop cookies</title> <taskbody> <steps> <step> <cmd>Prepare the dough.</cmd> <substeps> <substep><cmd>Beat the egg in a large bowl.</cmd> </substep> <substep><cmd>Add flour.</cmd></substep> <substep><cmd>Stir in milk.</cmd></substep> </substeps> </step> <step> <cmd>Prepare the topping.</cmd> <substeps> <substep> <cmd>Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in another bowl. </cmd> </substep> </substeps> </step> <step> <cmd>Form 1-inch round balls of dough.</cmd> <info><note type="tip">It is helpful to use a spoon when forming these balls.</note></info> </step> <step><cmd>Roll each ball in the topping.</cmd></step> <step><cmd>Place each ball on an ungreased cookie sheet.</cmd> </step> </steps> <postreq>Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 15 minutes. </postreq> </taskbody> </task>
  17. 17. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion ► Guiding the automated conversion ► Who? The most reliable authority on this is the content owner who is familiar with the content ► How? A mechanism (user interface) is required which enables the content owner to easily express what the correct context is for different portions of a document
  18. 18. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion ► A short list of things automated conversion can handle  generation of specialized DITA  generation of hierarchical maps and book maps  configurable file bursting granularity and file naming  tables  lists  extraction of images and other embedded objects  procedures authored as tables converted to tasks  definition lists authored as tables converted to definition lists  identification of conditional text and generation of ditaval file  domain specialization (e.g. ui controls and menu cascades)  relationship tables  use of conref and conkeyref
  19. 19. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion Knowledge (as defined by Joe Gollner) Knowledge is the meaningful organization of information, expressing an evolving understanding of a subject and establishing a basis for judgment and the potential for action. The level of success that an automated conversion technology can hope to achieve is bounded by the depth of knowledge it can attain of the content to be converted. Context, supported by guided conversion, provides for the meaningful organization of the information revealed by patterns. The conversion software can act on this evolved understanding of your content to produce the richest XML possible. Knowledge is the key to intelligent content conversion
  20. 20. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion ► The secret to successful conversion is… ► You! ► How come? ► Because knowledge it the key to successful conversion (note: This is true for manual as well as for automated conversion) ► It is the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) that have this knowledge
  21. 21. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion ► What‟s the best way to run a conversion project? ► Let‟s have a look at some lessons learned from software development methodologies
  22. 22. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion Waterfall ► Approach ► Each phase of the project is executed in turn - phases are discontinuous ► Downsides ► Requirements must be known and completely specified up front ► Lack of feed back. The rigid structure does not allow backtracking to incorporate knowledge acquired as the project Image: Paulsmith99 at en.wikipedia progresses
  23. 23. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion ► We need a steering wheel!
  24. 24. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion Spiral ► Approach ► An iterative approach aimed at minimizing risk ► Project is broken down into pieces which are handled as waterfall lifecycle ► Advantages ► manage risk ► ability to adapt plan based on previous experience ► Downsides ► higher management overhead
  25. 25. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion Agile “ We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value ... ► Individuals and interactions over processes and tools ► Working software over comprehensive documentation ► Customer collaboration over contract negotiation ► Responding to change over following a plan”
  26. 26. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion ► We need to work together!
  27. 27. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion ► A well-managed (conversion) project benefits from ► the incremental and iterative approach offered by the spiral model ► the contribution of individuals that work as a team by effectively sharing their expertise, leading to an optimal understanding of goals
  28. 28. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion ► Automated conversion if done right enables these best practices ► use an iterative schedule that you control ► learn from previous iteration ► put your expertise to full use by being directly involved in the actual conversion ► share knowledge and insight with team members via the guidance interface ► To support this, the conversion solution must ► run on-demand ► provide an interface which allows content owners to guide the conversion
  29. 29. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion ► How? ► knowledge is the key to intelligent conversion ► patterns, context, guided conversion ► Why? It‟s good to have a general appreciation of the how ► for setting expectations ► not just on perceived limits ► but also to demand the best ► to understand that you, as SME, are critical to the effort ► to understand that an automated conversion solution may enable you to effectively manage your conversion project
  30. 30. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion ► Look for a conversion solution that 1. is automated 2. has the basics in place ► supports input formats that you are interested in ► can generate high quality, validated output 3. can convert on-demand ► enabling the feedback loop ► cutting down on pre-conversion preparation time 4. provides an interface for SME participation ► to guide the conversion ► to share and evolve understanding of needs with colleagues ► cutting down on post-conversion cleanup time
  31. 31. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion ► These benefits can be realized if the automation is done right ► quality output ► high throughput ► reduction of turnaround time ► convert on-demand ► can manage conversion according to project timelines ► stay in control ► minimal pre-conversion prep and post-conversion cleanup ► reduced cost
  32. 32. introductionHow automated conversion works how it works patterns / context / guidance the secret to successful conversionand why it matters managing a conversion project conclusion ► This will save time and money, because… ► you will get the DITA that you want, because… ► you will understand what you want.
  33. 33. How automated conversion works and why it matters How automated conversion works and why it matters Questions? Patrick Baker pbaker@stilo.comCopyright © Stilo International plc 2011 www.stilo.com

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