Transclusion Will Never Catch On

Transclusion is pulling content dynamically from one page into another page. Rather than cutting and pasting text from one page to another, you create a pointer to the page you are borrowing from. That pointer is resolved at run time, pulling content from the other page when your page is loaded. Transclusion was a fundamental part of Ted Nelson’s original concept of hypertext. It has never caught on, except in specific confined circumstances. Despite continued interest, it isn’t going to catch on. read more

We Are None of Us Publishers Anymore

“We are all publishers now” — It is one of the defining tropes of content strategy, spoken, in one form or another, by many of the pioneers of the field. So if when say, “We Are None of Us Publishers Anymore,” am I just being even more contrarian than usual?

Sometimes a corrective is needed to stay out of the ditch.

Sometimes a corrective is needed to stay out of the ditch.

Not really. Phrases like these are more about course correction than they are about defining the center line of a field. If you are heading into the ditch on the left side of the road, you need to make a turn to the right. But if you keep turning right, you will end up in the ditch on the right hand side of the road. read more

Want Respect? Get out of Publishing

I recently wrote the following in a comment on Tom Johnson’s blog post What Tools Do Technical Writers Use:

That writers are still expected to do their own publishing strikes me as one of the tragedies of the profession, and a major part of why tech pubs does not get the respect it thinks it deserves in organizations. It is a big part of the reason that so many people still dismiss what tech pubs does as “making it pretty”.

It was not the most deeply considered statement I have ever written, and when I read it over after having posted it, I rather wondered at the sentiment it expressed. Why exactly should engaging in publishing lose you respect? It’s not as if people universally lack respect for publishing. It’s not as if publishing is something akin to pyromania or politics, rightly despised by all. Yes, there is the “making it pretty” thing, but why exactly should the ability to make content pretty lose you respect? People are not generally opposed to pretty. They like pretty. They pay a lot of money for pretty. read more