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The Art of Authoring – How to create perfect documentation with XMetaL and Congree

As a technical writer, you are not just “describing stuff”. You are creating sophisticated text, which always aims to be complete, easy to understand, well-structured, error-free and reusable. You have mastered this art, but it is a time-consuming and demanding process. This is why you write in XMetaL Author, which helps you to always use the correct structure and lets you focus less on layout and more on content. By using Congree you can even go a step further. While you create text, Congree reminds you of the style guide, technical term use and general writing rules in place at your company. Congree recommends the company’s own predefined sentences based on context or structure. Just like that–on the fly by seamlessly integrating into XMetaL Author. Join our webinar and see how XMetaL and Congree work together and how this powerful combination will help you to follow writing guidelines effortlessly so you can focus on what you really want to do: creating perfect documentation.

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Authoring, Managing, and Publishing Reusable and Customizable Content with Ease

The ability to create content that can be easily and cost-effectively reused, updated, customized, translated, published to multiple output formats, and automated is not a “nice-to-have” feature any more. It’s critical to delivering product content to your customers in the right way at the right time.

However, when it comes to content authoring, publishing, and management, there is often a trade-off between simplicity and features. Simple, easy-to-use tools may lack powerful features, while full-featured products may be too complicated.

Join Tom Magliery of JustSystems, the makers of XMetaL XML Editor, and Alex Masycheff of Intuillion, the makers of DITAToo DITA CMS to see how a content authoring, management, and publishing solution can be simple, powerful, and affordable at the same time. You’ll see how to:

  • Instantly and automatically convert your legacy documentation from MS Word
  • Move and rename files and folders while all links are updated automatically
  • Create and update content without having to deal with the complexity of the content model
  • Automatically find potentially reusable content and replace it with reusable components
  • Reuse entire projects
  • Publish to multiple formats
  • Collaborate with your team members

… and much more

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XML Publishing Fast Easy with XMetaL & tekReader

Whether you’re starting from scratch and looking to reap the rewards of using XML or have XML now and are scratching your head because it all got too complicated, this webinar will show you how fast and easy it should be.

FAST: Leverage XMetaL with tekReader and see end to end automation become a reality.

EASY: Strip away the complexity and keep only what is needed to communicate.

The teams from JustSystems (XMetaL) and eGloo Technologies (tekReader) have brought together products that leverage modern practice in technology and fused this with decades of experience to professionally deliver mission critical content of any complexity.

Practices that include XML, Progressive Web Apps, Cloud Computing, Continuous Integration and DevOps.

All focused on delivering true end to end automation so your reader can see revisions in seconds in a truly device-agnostic experience.

And that’s just the beginning once you realize you’re working with a web app. This promises to be a Webinar that will blow your toques off (eh)!

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XMetaL and TopLeaf – Making DITA publishing easy

TopLeaf is a professional DITA and XML publishing system from Turn-Key Systems. TopLeaf stylesheet development tools make it easy to create and maintain stylesheets for DITA content. With TopLeaf you do not need programming skills to build powerful and efficient stylesheets. A single TopLeaf stylesheet can be used to publish your content in PDF, HTML, RTF, eBook and CHM formats.

Topics covered in this forty minute webinar include:

  • The XMetaL-TopLeaf plugin
  • TopLeaf page layout tool
  • TopLeaf tag mapping tool
  • TopLeaf Mapping Assistant
  • Single source publishing to PDF, HTML, RTF, CHM and eBook

You will see how TopLeaf’s iterative stylesheet development and preview techniques make it easy to style your content and get it into production quickly, and you’ll find out that TopLeaf is easy on your budget as well.

TopLeaf works with XMetaL Enterprise version 7 or later.

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Introducing XMetaL Author Enterprise 10

Recently we announced the release of XMetaL Author Enterprise 10. Join us now for a look at what’s new. In this short webinar we will show demos of the major new features, including:

  • DITA 1.3 support, including scoped keys, new topic types, new domains, and more
  • Support for right-to-left languages (Hebrew, Arabic, Farsi)
  • Schematron validation support (business rule validation)
  • Text Casing Assistant
  • Automatic DITA reuse refactoring


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Automating Content Conversion to DITA Using Stilo Migrate

Les Burnham – CEO, Stilo International
Helen St. Denis – Conversion Services Manager, Stilo International

This webinar is being held in collaboration with Stilo International, leaders in automated content conversion, and will illustrate how the Migrate cloud conversion service enables technical authors and subject matter experts to:

  • Automate the conversion of legacy content to DITA
  • Cut down on manual pre-conversion prep and clean-up tasks
  • Be in complete control of the conversion process
  • Work at their own pace
  • Reduce overall conversion costs

The webinar will feature a live demonstration of Migrate—taking a sample unstructured FrameMaker document, and converting it to DITA – all in real-time, and under the direct control of the technical documentation team.

Whether your legacy content is in XML/SGML/HTML, FrameMaker, Word, InDesign, RoboHelp or DocBook, Stilo will demonstrate just how easy, quick and affordable it is to make the move to DITA using the Migrate cloud conversion service.


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Orchestrate Your Technical Communication to Work in Harmony

Tom Magliery – XML Technology Specialist, JustSystems
Suzanne Mescan – VP of Marketing, Vasont Systems

Join STC, JustSystems, and Vasont Systems in this hour-long sponsored webinar as we show you what you’ll gain from making the move to XML and how it can make your content work in harmony for your organization

Imagine you’re conducting an amateur orchestra, but the members can’t seem to play well together. The musicians play wrong notes on the wrong beats, making the music sound like random noise rather than beautiful songs. As the conductor, you must direct the musicians so that they play their parts precisely and musically. Each part must work with every other part to create a recognizable song and an entertaining concert. Do you feel like the conductor of your content, attempting to make all the scattered, random parts gel into one cohesive document set?


How to Prove Great Content is Worth the Cost

Tom Magliery, XMetaL Technology Specialist, JustSystems
PG Bartlett, SVP Product Management, Acrolinx

You know the value of technical documentation. It often serves as the last resort of a frustrated customer – and the first resort of an interested prospect. Either way, your readers must be able to:

  • Find it
  • Access it on their preferred media
  • Understand it
  • Ideally: enjoy it

But do executives understand the value of techdocs? Maybe at an abstract level, but in this webinar, we’ll help you make the story concrete. You’ll learn about:

  • Three areas where techdocs have the greatest business impact
  • Five best practices of great techdoc departments
  • How XMetaL and Acrolinx can help you deliver great techdocs


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Simplifying the Migration Equation

Webinar Presented by: JustSystems

Tips and Tricks for Using XMetaL to Migrate Content In-House

This “37-minute” webinar is about how XMetaL Author can help you with migrating content from unstructured formats (Microsoft Word or Adobe FrameMaker) to structured (DITA or other XML types).

There’s no denying it: This task is a pain. If the job is small enough, it can be cost-effective to do it by hand with your existing tools. If it’s large, you may need to dedicate significant internal resources, or find and manage additional cheap labor, hire specialized consultants or vendors, or any combination of these.

The challenging question is: where is the dividing line between “small” and “large”? The answer: it’s not a line, but more of a blur. And yours is different from everyone else’s.

Our objective today is to show you some ways that you can at least push that line (blur) over sideways a bit. By taking better advantage of some “power user” abilities of XMetaL, you can make it worthwhile to do more of the conversion in-house, thus lowering your cost on the more expensive alternatives.


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The Measure of Success: Key Metrics for Measuring XML Content Quality

Webinar Presented by: Dakota Systems

Part 3 of a 3 part series

This presentation introduces techniques to quantitatively measure the success of DITA-based technical publishing systems. Typically, the main goals of any new DITA-based publishing system are to reduce the amount of existing content redundancy and to eliminate manual formatting tasks. Accomplishing these goals can greatly reduce the cost of supporting a company’s technical publishing operations. Additionally, most DITA CMS software provides direct access to metadata about the shared document components that are re-used. However, there exists no standard way to track the critical metrics needed to determine to what degree the original goals of the system were met. Consequently, this presentation introduces a series of report templates that can be used to establish base line metrics for content reuse and editor productivity.

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Overcoming Objections from DITA Naysayers

Brian Buehling – Managing Director at Dakota Systems

Part 2 of a 3 part series

During a recent development effort, one of our clients was alarmed at the implementation costs of the proposed DITA content management system compared to the existing MS Word-based process. This was just one instance I’ve noticed in an alarming trend of balking at DITA systems in favor of using public web folders that are indexed by some full-text search engine as part of a local intranet. In the short run, these edit, drop and index solutions have some appealing features, such as low development and conversion costs. But they are short-lived systems that either wither from lack of functionality or rapidly outgrow their design. Fortunately, the initial objections to the cost of building an DITA content repository have become predictable. In most cases, they are based on either a misconception of DITA technology or an overly optimistic view of alternative approaches. Even though implementing a DITA system is not always the best approach for an organization, any system design decision should be made only after thoroughly understanding the common misconceptions of the technology involved. The list of questions compiled in this presentation is intended to be a guide for technical writers and their managers so that they can intelligently discuss the  pros and cons of implementing a DITA content management and publishing system.


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No Budget No Problem – Techniques For Getting DITA Projects Approved

Part 1 in a 3 part series with Dakota Systems

With the growing number of DITA tools in the marketplace, one would think that it would be easy to justify using one of them to create and publish technical documents. By now, most managers have been exposed to the benefits of creating technical documentation according to some agreed upon set of documentation rules using DITA. However, understanding the benefits of this technical approach and being able to justify the expense of implementing it are two different things. Many technical documentation managers are not able to articulate the long-term advantages of converting product information repositories to DITA in order to build a suitable business case to get such a project approved. This webinar will outline the many cost savings and revenue generation opportunities created by managing product information directly in DITA. After this webinar, attendees will be able to return their organizations with the tools to calculate the expected ROI on projects, estimate total project implementation costs, identify project risk factors and develop a strategy for presenting results.


Brian Buehling is currently the Managing Director for Dakota Systems, a leading firm specializing in dynamic content delivery solutions. At Dakota, he has worked on implementations for over a hundred corporate and government systems spanning publishing, aerospace, defense, manufacturing and software industries. Prior to Dakota, he led content management system initiatives for several companies including Wolters Kluwer Health, John Deere and AT&T. His team’s decision support system at John Deere Health was selected as a Finalist for Business Intelligence Applications at Comdex/Window World Open and was nominated for the Smithsonian Award for innovation in information technology. He has earned an M.B.A. with concentrations in Finance and Strategy from the University of Chicago and an M.S. in Systems Science and Mathematics from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. Additionally, he has academic experience as a visiting lecturer at Boston University (CDIA) and Ohio University teaching business communication and computational theory.

About Dakota:

Dakota Systems is a leader in delivering enterprise publishing and content management solutions to customers around the world. Specializing in XML-based technical publishing solutions, we create opportunities for our customers to maximize the return on their technology investment. Whether working with technical manuals or scientific journals, our proven analysis and development methodologies enable us to quickly and cost effectively integrate our customers’ business intelligence with their publishing strategy.

Recognized as experts in the industry, we help companies design the best solution for each situation. From design and architecture to development and integration, our experience in implementing proven technologies based on open, reusable components ensures that our clients fully leverage their existing information infrastructure. For more information visit:


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Configuring the DITA PDF Output

This webinar will look at the initiatives by Turn-Key® Systems and JustSystems to help customers configure their DITA PDF output without any prior knowledge of the DITA Open Toolkit or XSLT. We will demonstrate the XMetaL® TopLeaf Plugin, highlighting basic formatting, single/double columns, headers, footers, telltales, custom markers, automatically generated table of contents, PDF generation as well as RTF/HTML export. We will also feature a demonstration of how Oracle® has implemented the XMetaL® TopLeaf Plugin into their documentation processes.


Geoff Nolan
Geoff joined Turn-Key® in 1984. His projects have included: an automated Yellow Pages composition system; legal encyclopedia and case citator; point-in-time legislation publishing; production of documentation based on target audience focus and security clearance. Authored several conference papers on XML markup strategies and the TopLeaf approach to XML. Geoff also co-developed the original XMetaL® 6 TopLeaf Plugin, and implemented the upgrade to the current version. Currently, Geoff is concentrating on TopLeaf XML implementations and GUI development, markup design and data conversion strategies.

Janice Manwiller
Janice Manwiller is a Senior Technical Writer at Oracle®, working with an Agile development team on the Oracle® Endeca Information Discovery product. She maintains the TopLeaf stylesheets for Endeca Information Discovery and Endeca Server documentation. Janice has a strong interest in the visual aspect of information design and delivery, and has worked on a variety of software products including tools for computer-based training, interactive television development, product license management, and now information discovery. She has an MS in Technical Communication with Graphics Certificate from Rensselaer


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Automated Content Conversion

Cloud conversion of FrameMaker, Word, RoboHelp and InDesign documents to DITA XML

This 45 minute webinar is being held in collaboration with our partner Stilo International, leaders in automated content conversion, and will illustrate how the Migrate cloud conversion service enables technical authors and subject matter experts to:

  • Process legacy documents in real-time
  • Cut down on manual pre-prep and clean-up tasks
  • Work at their own pace
  • Be in complete control of the conversion process
  • Reduce overall conversion costs

The webinar will include a live demonstration of FrameMaker to DITA conversion, show how output quality can be iteratively improved, and explain why companies including IBM, EMC, Cisco, Varian Medical Systems, Micron, and Webtrends have chosen to use Migrate over traditional in-house or outsourced alternatives.

About the Presenters:

Leslie Burnham
As CEO of Stilo International, Les spearheaded their IPO in 2000, based upon the vision that XML would underpin all future major digital publishing applications and that organisations would require appropriate tools to address the emerging XML content processing challenges. With a particular focus on content conversion challenges, some five years ago, he initiated the development of Stilo Migrate, a totally unique and groundbreaking cloud conversion service, now used by major corporations globally. At the webinar he will share his insights into some of the key issues and decisions that customers face when converting their legacy content to DITA.

Patrick Baker
As VP, Development and Professional Services, Patrick heads up all new product development at Stilo and is actively engaged in the successful deployment of content processing solutions for publishing clients. Major ongoing product development efforts include OmniMark 10, the leading high-performance content processing platform, and Migrate, the world’s first cloud XML content conversion service. Patrick has been associated with best practices for complex content processing for over a decade, and has successfully delivered custom solutions on behalf of organizations in the automotive, airline, defence and commercial publishing sectors. With a B.Sc. degree in Mathematics and a M.Sc. in Computer Science from McGill University, he leads an expert team of highly talented content processing specialists.

Helen St. Denis
Conversion Services Manager
Helen originally joined Stilo as a technical editor in the documentation team, and now works closely with our Migrate customers, helping to analyze their legacy content, configure appropriate mapping rules, and provide training and support on an ongoing basis. Over a period of many years she has helped them to convert tens of thousands of pages of content to DITA and other XML formats.
Helen holds a BA in English from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and has pursued graduate studies at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.


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Topic-Based Authoring

Using a topic-based approach can improve consistency and usability of information and make it easier to reuse topics in different contexts. It can also simplify maintenance, speed up the review process, and facilitate shared authoring. All of those benefits sound great. But which ones really matter to you, your business, and your customers? It’s important to know why you want to change your content strategy, and how you’ll evaluate whether you’ve been successful. Topic-based authoring implementations often focus on learning writing patterns, techniques, and technologies like DITA and CCMS. Those are important and useful, but topic-based authoring doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Decisions you make about your content need to be tied to business goals and user needs. Too often, the activity of thinking through the business goals and user needs gets neglected.  This 45-minute webinar will define topic-based authoring and help you understand not only the benefits of this approach but also walk you through the critical steps to defining and implementing a successful program.



Joan Lasselle

Joan Lasselle is President and founder of Lasselle-Ramsay, Inc. Joan has over 25 years experience developing new product content and training for high tech, healthcare, finance and insurance industries. She is a past board member of Content Management Professionals (CMPros), and a regular contributor at industry conferences. Joan holds a M.Ed. from the University of Oregon.


Linda Urban

Linda Urban is Principal Consultant at Linda Urban Communications. An award-winning technical writer, help author, and instructor, she has over 25 year’s experience designing and developing technical information and instruction. Linda works with writers and teams to improve the quality of their content, focusing on both usefulness and usability. She also teaches in the Technical Communication program at UC Berkeley Extension. Linda holds a BA from UC Berkeley, and is working on a Masters in Instructional and Performance Technology at Boise State.


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A copy of the slides are available here: Presentation Slides

DITA Today and Tomorrow

It’s been over six years since the DITA specification was officially released by OASIS and people could start using the DITA Open Toolkit. A lot has happened since early 2006, as DITA XML has become the fastest growing information standard for technical writing. Mekon consultant Keith Schengili-Roberts takes a look at where DITA has come from, who is using it, and where he thinks it will be going in the future. In this far-reaching presentation Keith focuses on that portion of the technical writing community that has embraced DITA XML, explores why it has been so successful, and also looks at some of the issues holding it back from even wider adoption. He will also dare to prognosticate on the directions that DITA is likely to be used in the near future.


Keith Schengili-Roberts is an independent DITA consultant/trainer, and is “The Guy Who Talks to People” for Running Bond Software. He was formerly the Manager for Documentation and Localization at AMD, where he successfully deployed a DITA-based Content Management System throughout its graphics engineering division. Keith is also an award-winning lecturer on Information Architecture and Information Management at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information Sciences. He has given many talks on DITA production metrics and best practices, was one of the founders of the Semiconductor DITA Implementers Group (SDIG). He also runs a popular industry blog at, and is the author of four professional technical titles, the most recent being Core CSS, 2nd Edition.


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An Innovative Training Model for Successful XML Adoption

Moving to component content management is more than adopting a new tool; it changes the way you work. When implementing that kind of change, your success depends on the people. Writers adopting new XML systems struggle with the training they receive. Often, it is disconnected from their daily work and real-world challenges. Managers are nervous about the potential impact to business deliverables that can result from such a disconnect.

To avoid this, Cisco created customized training that integrated ‘using the tools’ with their business processes. The training was developed through a collaborative development process between Cisco stakeholders and learning consultants from Lasselle-Ramsay.

The result was a hands-on workshop where students were able to work with real-world content and training delivered by Cisco writers to ensure credibility. Student evaluations and rapid time to mastery were used to validate the effectiveness of the approach.

In this webinar, representatives from the team identity the key success factors in this case study and why this approach should be adopted as a best practice by teams moving to a new, structured approach to developing and delivering their content.

About the Presenters:

Helen Cavender works at Brocade Communications. Prior to that, she spent 13 years in technical documentation at Cisco Systems, Inc. At Cisco Helen was part of building out the CMS solution for the central Cisco IOS documentation team and served as the XML management sponsor during the implementation of their current system.

Joan Lasselle is President and founder of Lasselle-Ramsay, Inc. Lasselle-Ramsay provides custom learning and content services. They have worked with Cisco on a broad range of technical communication and learning projects for over 10 years.

Linda Mendiola is a Senior Technical Writer at Cisco. She is a member of the training team that partnered with Lasselle-Ramsay to develop a customized training course when her documentation department transitioned to a DITA XML system. She then delivered the instructor-led training, lending her unique perspective as both trainer and user.


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Moving to XML

Planning to move your content to XML? Whether it’s because you’re looking to reduce costs across the organization or to streamline your information creation process, there are a lot of things to consider. Surprisingly, the least of which is converting your content.

In this webinar, Julio Vazquez, Information Architect at SDI, will cover some of the rationale, considerations, people to influence, processes to examine and actions to take when moving forward with XML. Join us for this information-packed presentation.

Julio Vazquez is currently an Information Architect with SDI. Julio is a key principle who has designed and implemented publication solutions for various SDI clients. He uses his knowledge of technical communications, information architecture, previous publication experience, and investigatory skills to determine information solutions that best fit a client’s needs. In his previous career with IBM, he was on the corporate team that defined DITA and wrote the first article on the language in April of 2002. He has presented at STC-Carolina, DITA East and DocTrain West and DITA North America on various topics. His first book on DITA, Practical DITA, presents an approach to understanding how to write using DITA from the ground up. He has also published a paper about indexing in the Center for Information Design Management (CIDM) Best Practices Newsletter and is a contributor to the Yahoo! DITA User’s Group, a founder of the RTP DITA User’s Group, and a staunch DITA advocate.


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Treat Your Content like a Corporate Asset & Increase User Satisfaction

A Live Demo of Structured Authoring and Automated Publishing
Giving readers fast and easy access to information they need to get their jobs done is the goal of every technical writer, content developer, or content manager. But figuring out how to do this often means rethinking how you treat your content, choosing new authoring and publishing tools, and ensuring that the solution can adapt as technology changes. These changes take time and have many layers of complexity. The good news is that sticking to industry best practices and proven tools helps simplify the effort and puts you on the path to treating your content like a corporate asset.

In this live demo using XMetaL, an affordable content management system, and DITA, TechProse content strategist Paula Toth will show how TechProse helped a large, global shipping firm put the pieces together to reduce publication costs and production time, while also increasing reader satisfaction. During this webinar, Paula will cover:

  • Identifying pains and drivers for change
  • Creating solutions to address pain
  • Selecting content for a pilot project
  • Understanding the components of an automated authoring and publishing system
  • Deciding when DITA is right
  • Making decisions about authoring and publishing tools
  • Content conversion
  • Publishing to mutiple output targets
  • Getting the results

Join us and learn how you can increase YOUR readers’ satisfaction with structured content and automated publishing!

Paula Toth, Best Practices Leader/Single Sorceress at TechProse, is passionate about giving readers quick and easy access to meaningful information that helps them get things done!

With 20 years of experience leading collaborative teams, she has time-tested methods for helping corporations envision how content assets can be put to work to increase user adoption of products and services. These methods include careful content curation, as well as automated content creation and delivery for web and print output targets to multiple devices. To do this, she uses efficient single-source and structured authoring techniques coupled with information architecture, taxonomy management, writing and formatting style standards, and topic-based reusable content. To these techniques, she adds careful selection of content management and automation tools. Paula is in very mindful that today’s content delivery systems and processes must adjust quickly to changing technology demands. With this approach she ensures that the cost of creating, storing, and publishing content is sustainable, and most importantly, readers have the best possible experience with the content.

Paula has done projects for FedEx, Tom Sawyer Software, Integral Systems, Wells Fargo Bank, and Safeway, to name just a few.


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