What kind of “easy” authoring are you looking for?

I was reading JoAnn Hackos article on easy DITA authoring solutions¬†and it got me thinking about what the word “easy” means in regard to DITA or any similarly complex technology.

Can an editing interface make DITA easy? Some DITA consultants that I know complain bitterly about tools that make that claim. DITA may be many things, they say, but easy is not one of them. To present it as being easy is only going to set people up for disappointment and failure.

If they are right, can any DITA editor legitimately claim to be “easy”? read more

How Content Producers Get Collaboration Wrong

Content producers often find collaboration a hard slog. This is because they do it wrong.

Integration drawing

Total integration collaboration connects everyone to everyone and everything in the project.

There are two fundamental ways you can collaborate. The first way is to enable everyone to contribute to the project by giving everybody access to everything and a means of communicating freely with everyone else on the team. I’ll call this the total integration model. When content folk say that they need to collaborate, this is almost always what they are thinking of.

The second way to collaborate is to break the project up into pieces and allow people to work independently on their own piece. To make this work, you have to set some constraints so that when each person finishes their piece, the pieces will all fit together. As long as each project team meets its constraints, the pieces of the overall project will mesh up with each other and the whole will work. Each piece of the project can be developed independently without people working on one piece needing to know what people in the other pieces¬† are doing and without needing to look at the things they are working on. I’ll call this the constraint model. read more