Category Archives: Structured writing

Post related to structured writing, content engineering, and the manipulation of content with algorithms generally.

Designing topic types

A number of readers have asked me to write about how to design a topic type. Although it can sound complicated, especially if your bring XML schema definitions into the mix, designing a topic type is actually pretty simple. Before we begin, though, set aside all the issues around XML. XML has nothing to do with… Read More »

Content Engineering is Not Technical Writing

My last post, I am a Content Engineer, was taken by several people as yet another attempt to rebrand technical writing. I’m honestly a bit mystified by how people could interpret some of the examples of content engineering that I listed as being examples of technical writing, but Hi Ho. Let me set the record… Read More »

I am a Content Engineer

In the closing keynote of the 2013 LavaCon conference, Ann Rockley talked about the rising importance of content engineering in content strategy. A content engineer, Ann explained, is someone with one foot in the technology world and one foot in the content world. Last year I wrote a pair of posts on my hesitation about… Read More »

Dumb vs. Smart Revision

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Improving the content creation process

Several readers of my posts on revision have pointed out that content gets revised for many reasons. Peter Fournier suggest a distinction should be made between dumb and smart revision. I’ll attempt to do that here. An initial distinction between dumb revision and smart revision might be that smart revision adds value and dumb revision… Read More »

Reducing writer errors

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Improving the content creation process

One of the most consistent responses I have received to my posts on revision as waste (Improving First Run Quality, and Revision, Waste, and Evenness) is some variant of “mistakes happen”. Some felt I was blaming writers, or even questioning their integrity. (Such comments were much more prevalent on LinkedIn than on the blog itself.) Actually,… Read More »

Revision, Waste, and Evenness

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Improving the content creation process

A couple of weeks ago, in a post titled Improving First Run Quality, I cause a kerfuffle, and some questioning of my sanity, by suggesting that rather then celebrating revision as an essential part of the writing process, we should regard it as a sign that the writing process is flawed. Today I wish to… Read More »

Why is writing the only profession untouched by its tools?

Why is writing the only profession untouched by its tools? Larry Kunz strikes a familiar note in his recent blog post, Tools come and go. I’m still a writer. I’m a writer. Once I used a typewriter. Now I use XML editors. If I stay at this long enough, other tools will come and I’ll learn… Read More »

Improving First Run Quality

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Improving the content creation process

The enormous improvements in quality and productivity that have occurred in industry over the last several decades can, in large part, be attributed to a focus on improving first-run quality. In traditional production line environments, the golden rule was never to stop the production line. Any faults that might occur or be noticed while the… Read More »