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Technical Writing How to Write Using DITA XML

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Alpha and Omega
Jan 21, 2021
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2 years of service

Last updated 1/2023
Created by JPDocu School of Technical Writing
MP4 | Video: h264, 1280x720 | Audio: AAC, 44.1 KHz, 2 Ch
Genre: eLearning | Language: English + srt | Duration: 173 Lectures ( 9h 42m ) | Size: 3.9 GB

How to Become a Modern and Successful Technical Writer Using DITA XML
What you'll learn
Learn to write using DITA XML topics and maps
Produce documentation deliverables using Oxygen XML Author tool
Reuse on maps level (mapref), topic level (topicref), topic element level (conref) and table rows (conref - conrefend)
Personalized user guides based on the same DITA content using profiling (conditioning) of content
Create interactive images and create image maps
How to configure and customize your DITA HTML output
You need a PC or a laptop where to install the needed software an follow the exercises in the course
This course is not suitable for use on a mobile device or tablet
Basic knowledge in technical writing is recommended
Do you want to learn how to write structured documentation using DITA XML? If yes, I can help!My name is Jordan Stanchev. I have built my career in the field of technical communications over the last 20 years.Starting off as a Java developer, I have then become a senior technical writer and had built a career as a DITA information architect.I have written thousands of pages of software documentation guides for administrators and for developers. The software products I have worked on are in the field of security, messaging services, and development infrastructure (such as GitHub and SAP NWDI). Today, I am a part of the team that leads the development of DITA XML-based infrastructure projects. The technical writers' community we serve is more than 1000 authors. I also chair the experts' group of our nearly 300 people strong group of DITA information architects in a Fortune 100 company - SAP SE. I constantly have to write software development specifications and project documentation, in addition to the user guide .What can I say, I have vast experience to share in structured writing and information architecture using DITA XML. And this is what I focus on in this course. Based on my experience, what I can tell you, is that for a modern technical writer looking to build his or her career in the field of technical communications, knowing DITA XML simply is a must!You wouldn't believe how often I hear back from my students how the knowledge from this course is what made the breakthrough in their DITA technical writer job interview and helped them advance their careers! To achieve the ultimate career goal, all you do need is to learn writing using DITA!Knowledge of DITA is relevant for you if you are involved in any way with software documentation as a:technical writer; information architect;people manager, managing technical writers in the team;user experience designer;business analyst;project manager;The course 'How to Write Using DITA XML" is designed for intermediate to advanced level technical writers who want to deep dive into the capabilities offered by DITA, create complex and personalized user guides and deliver this single-sourced output using the Oxygen Author tool into various delivery channels. It is based on the online DITA XML training I've been providing to my students at univeristy.WARNING: It will take you around 8-10 hours from the start of this course just to go through this material! It comes with lots of various hands-on exercises, examples, and advice based on my practice. I recommend that you take one section a day at most, to avoid being overwhelmed and manage to perform each exercise described.The course further deep dive and elaborate the basic concepts and knowledge introduced with the course 'A Quick Start to Technical Writing with DITA' and then provides more advanced details and strategies such as reuse of content and personalization of content based on profiling strategy.Note: If you are looking for a quick start into DITA, consider the basic DITA course 'A Quick Start to Technical Writing with DITA', which is for technical communicators, that are not yet familiar with DITA. How much time does the course take? In short:Section 1: Introduction - 70 minSection 2: 5 Quick Steps to Writing in DITA XML - 50 minSection 3: DITA Elements - 25 minSection 4: Reusing Content in DITA - 50 minSection 5: Profiling (conditioning) Content in DITA - 60 minSection 6: Information Architecture for Technical Communicators - 50 minSection 7: Information Architecture for DITA Authors - 90 minSection 8: How to Create Interactive Images in DITA - 80 minSection 9: Linking in DITA - 77 minSection 10: Customizing DITA XML Output - 60 minWhat will you learn?Section 1: Introduction - 70 minBy the end of this section you will be able to explain:- What is DITA;- What are the benefits of writing software documentation using DITA;Just spelling out the benefits of writing in DITA takes a lot of time! There are so many reasons why DITA is getting more and more popular. Today you cannot be a modern technical writer if you do not know how to write software documentation using DITA XML! It's the de facto standard XML for writing! You must know and spell out the benefits of DITA, and be sure, on a job interview you will be asked why DITA is so important. Just to name a few: - Based on common information types.- It implies strict rules for writing, no matter who the technical writer is!- Content is modularized and reusable.- Automatically generated various outputs from the same DITA source;- Content can be personalized, and so on.Section 2: 5 Quick Steps to Writing in DITA XML - 50 minBy the end of this section you will be able to:- Apply the 5 steps for creating the content of a user guide;- Explain what is a DITA map;- Create the 3 most frequently used DITA topics types: Task, Concept, and Reference;- Create DITA maps;- Reference topics in a map to construct a deliverable (user guide) using Oxygen XML Author;Writing in DITA is easy. Do not let the diversity in tags and the huge number of DITA capabilities confuse you. All you need to write your first guide is a strategy (what you want to deliver) and a set of simple steps to follow to construct your guide (explained in this section of the course)!Section 3: DITA Elements - 25 minBy the end of this section you will be able to:- Name the most commonly used DITA topic elements (DITA tags); - Describe a strategy for using topic elements in the context of a specific topic;- Open, search through and select the needed topic elements in a topic;- Use the list of topic elements in the context of a Task topic;DITA comes with a huge number of tags to use. With them comes great flexibility for writing content. But where do you start? And which elements are a "must-know" vs. "optional-to-know"? This is what you will learn in this section to get a steady start with your content. Section 4: Reusing Content in DITA - 50 minBy the end of this section you will be able to:- Describe the benefits of reuse;- Reuse content on map level (mapref);- Reuse content on topic level (topicref);- Reuse content on a topic element level (conref);- Reuse entire table rows (conref - conrefend);Reuse of content on all these levels allows you to dramatically reduce the time you have to spend writing documentation. This is one of the most important benefits of DITA. Allow me to give you an example: you can use reuse on the topic element level to define the name of your software product as a reusable topic element. You then use this element across your entire document. Later on, when the product name changes, you update the value of the reusable topic element and it gets automatically updated in all occurrences in each and every document! Compare this to the time it takes you searching and replacing a product name in a Word document or Wiki pages! Section 5: Profiling (conditioning) Content in DITA - 60 minBy the end of this section you will be able to:- Describe the benefits of using profiling in your content;- Profile content on map level;- Profile content on a topic level;- Profile content on a topic element level;- Profile table rows;Today everyone talks about the personalization of the user experience with the software. How about the personalization of the user experience with the software documentation? The profiling functionality allows you to personalize the content for your target audience, without disrupting the authoring process. The personalized end-user guide is automatically generated in the end, based on the rules set by the author. Something that is close to impossible for any non-structured way of writing content in DITA happens in few clicks! Section 6: Information Architecture for Technical Communicators - 50 minBy the end of this section you will be able to explain:- What is information architecture?- Who is an information architect?- What to consider to become an efficient information architect?As of this section, we are raising the stakes! This course is not only for people who want to learn to write in DITA but also for those of you who want to grow in their careers. What's the name of the next level in technical writing? It's called "information architecture". But what is information architecture? What are you supposed to start doing today, to become an information architect? That is what is explained in this section. The information architects possess a higher level, broader and holistic view of the content creation process. You are no longer focused down on the neatly greedy details of the single user guide. Instead, you look at the big picture, where and how your content is organized, and how it fits the end-to-end customer experience. In this section, you will learn the basics of information architecture, and open the gates to the next stage in your career as a technical writer. Section 7: Information Architecture for DITA Authors - 90 minBy the end of this section you will be able to explain:- How to govern the usage of profiling values by technical writers in the scope of a dedicated DITA map- What is DITA subject scheme mapsIn this section, I am touching upon an aspect not realized by many technical writers. Usually, that is the difference between being a technical writer and being an information architect in DITA. I will explain how to use DITA to control how different authors can profile content in your map, reducing profiling mistakes and ensuring a better quality of the finally produced personalized documentation. Section 8: How to Create Interactive Images in DITA - 80 minBy the end of this section you will be able to:- Describe the rules for using images in technical writing;- Name the tools to use for creating graphics;- Explain what are interactive graphics and image maps in DITA;- Describe the benefits of using interactive graphics; - Create an image map for an image in your documentation;Section 9: Linking in DITA - 77 minDITA XML comes with great functionality that can help the technical writer and information developer to organize the documentation in an optimal way. Any proficient technical writer will tell you that you must create and insert links to external content, such as websites, but also to reference other topics from your DITA map to have a documentation deliverable that provides excellent navigation capabilities for your readers. But does it mean you need to waste your time to manually craft and then maintain these links? As a technical writer focused on delivering the best possible information to your readers, your time is precious! Maintaining links instead of providing valuable instructions and content for your readers is not what you should do! How can DITA help you with that?!You will be surprised to find out how many technical writers do not even know that DITA XML supports automatically generated links. All you need to do is to activate the desired linking option and your links will appear automatically in the generated output!And it gets even better, the links will appear only when there is a valid linking target! What are the benefits for you then? Obviously:Less time you waste on inserting links. Fewer chances to have a broken link in the documentation - leading to higher content quality!Better consistency of the links - you choose a linking strategy and the links appear in a consistent style across your entire documentation deliverable. More time for you to focus on what matters most - high-quality information delivered to end-users!This is what you will gain once you learn how to use linking in DITA XML!In this course, we will cover the following subjects:Manually Created LinksYou will learn how to create a link to:a web sitea resourceanother DITA topicbetween sections on one and the same topic!Automatically Generated LinksYou will learn how to set up and trigger the automatic generation of links using the collection-type attribute. You will learn to create links of type:choicefamilysequenceThese are the subjects we will cover in this section, each of them accompanied by demos and exercises that you can perform using Oxygen XML Author editor. Section 10: Customizing DITA XML Output - 60 minBy the end of this section, you will be able to:- Configure the look and feel of your HTML output, based on pre-defined (but, yet, customizable!) HTML output Why DITA?Structured writing in DITA XML is an advanced discipline for technical writers. You can find many authors with decent language and writing skills. But you already know that technical writing is so much more than just written text with no spelling mistakes, isn't it? If you need your technical writers to:- Strictly follow your company or industry writing guidelines;- Be able to spend less time on the maintenance of old documentation and spend more time on value-added activities for the customer;- Offer information that can be reused on all levels - entire guides, chapters, topics, sentences, or even single words;- Maintain a very high content quality standard with no broken links and missing content;- Produce as many different output formats as your customer needs - all from the same content- Use metadata to classify the content that was written and offer it for automated forms of information consumption;then most probably you are already evaluating DITA as an option for writing. DITA already offers all listed functionality and even more! Being a technical writer who knows how to use DITA can open the doors for you to start a career in some of the greatest IT companies in the world!Companies Using DITAHere are just a couple of company names that write their documentation using DITA XML:- Apple- IBM (they invented DITA, after all!)- Google- VMware- SAP SE and hundreds of other companies, many of which are in the IT and software development industry!What students are saying?"I value the comprehensive training, challenging practice assignments, and a variety of techniques used to improve and inform my writing!"- Devon Apple, Web Developer"If you want to know how to write using DITA go and check this course! The lecturer provides great explanations and tutorials, which are really helpful in practice." - Karina Delcheva, Technical Writer"Very good and comprehensible introduction to the world of DITA and XML Author software. I would highly recommend this course for everyone who wishes to quickly understand the subject and start using it..."- Boris, a University studentIf you are looking for a way to advance in your career as a DITA technical writer, this is your course! I am sure that you've already seen just by searching Google, that a course like this costs way above 1000$ and takes at least a week of physical and/or online presence, travel expenses, and... usually does not even cover half of the material I present here! Thanks to Udemy's policy for delivering the best courses to as many people as possible, we've managed to reduce the cost to only 199$, only here on Udemy! The course still comes with an interactive and community part - you will get access to a closed learning community on our JPDocu Learning Facebook page. You will have the chance to get in contact directly with the trainer of this course and receive personalized feedback on questions you may have on using DITA.You will get an invaluable certificate upon the successful completion of this course, that you can put on your CV, or share on Facebook and LinkedIn - do not underestimate the importance of this certificate - without it, you most probably will never make it on the shortlist for the job interview of your dream job!And maybe the most important part, that will allow you not only to get to but also to break through a job interview - your own work that you can use to demonstrate what you have learned and how you applied DITA to produce documentation!Enroll now and see how simple and beneficial technical writing with DITA XML can be! P.S. If you are looking for a job as a technical writer in a software development company - check 2 things: 1. Are they writing software documentation using DITA XML? 2. Which tool are they using for writing?Be prepared even before your job interview to showcase the DITA XML documentation you have written using Oxygen XML Author and prove how good you are in applying reuse strategies and advanced DITA techniques - profiling, automated linking, and image maps. P.S.S. Do not forget that the course comes with a 30-day full refund policy - no questions asked!
Who this course is for
Technical writers who want to advance their knowledge in DITA
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Hi nice post.

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