Controlling Your Evolution To DITA XML

 

By Peter Fournier

So, you’re convinced that moving your documentation to DITA XML is a great idea.  The move will increase productivity, enable reuse and allow multichannel publishing to many platforms.  It will also future proof your authoring and publishing – no more getting captured by tool vendors!  Yeah!

But converting your existing documents to DITA can be a daunting task. Documentation is likely the messiest data ever created. It’s very common to discover that all those MS Word documents that should be moved to DITA are not identical from a data point of view:  different documents use different styles, very often headings are actually “Normal” but manually formatted to look like a heading, a numbered list can be a procedure in one place or just a list in another.   From a structured authoring point of view, source documents written in WYSIWYG tools are not your friend.

Because of the complexity of source documents, companies moving to DITA usually choose to get some help getting from a legacy authoring tools into DITA.  There are several routes to choose from:

  1. Over-the-wall conversion
    Send your documents to a company specializing in conversion. They take your documents, convert them, then send them back for QA.  The QA usually involves several conversion and refinement cycles before achieving acceptable results.
  2. In-house conversion with the help of consultants
    This can deliver better results faster if only because it facilitates QA, conversation, discussion and exception handling. Unfortunately, when the consultants leave they take with them the knowledge of exactly how the work was done. You lose precious conversion experience that could have been used in your next project.
  3. In-house conversion using off-the shelf tools
    This can be an excellent solution since you retain the knowledge of how to convert documents to DITA and making the next 1,000 pages of conversion easier to do. Unfortunately, off-the-shelf tools often require expensive cleanup of the source documents and are not sophisticated enough to do a complete conversion, including advanced DITA features, all in one go.

Taking control with Stilo’s Migrate

Migrate smooths the path from messy WYSIWYG documents to advanced DITA XML. Here’s how.

  1. Migrate has the same advantages as over-the-wall conversion
    You upload your documents to Migrate in the cloud and convert them there with help from Migrate/DITA experts. They will assist you with initial conversions and you always pay a fixed rate per thousand words per document. Subsequent cycles through the conversion process are free, in-house, and fast – refine and QA as much as you need, for free.
  2. Migrate has the same advantages as working with consultants
    Stilo’s business model is not about charging per hour as though they were normal conversion consultants. No, Stilo’s business model is assisting you to become your own conversion expert while always being available in the background to help with difficult problems. There is a consulting fee to be paid but it’s not a long term-contract for a fixed amount – you only pay Stilo for the consulting you require to get passed the sticky bits.
  3. Migrate has the same advantages as using off-the-shelf tools
    Migrate has more depth and capability built-in than any other off-the-shelf tool. This minimizes the amount of cleanup required before conversion and enables conversion to DITA with advanced features. Also, Migrate captures the process for converting documents in “rule sets”. Any one rule set can be applied to any number of documents.  So, documents from a specific group or year in your company might require different conversion rules than documents from another group or year.  That’s fine.  Rule sets allow you to permanently capture all of the learning and knowledge about conversion as you go along.

Control achieved!

Stilo’s Migrate is unique in the industry.  It is finely tuned, based on extensive experience over 30 years, to satisfy real business objectives. Among them are:

  1. Proof of concept before commitment
    Migrate allows companies to start their migration to DITA with small bite-sized projects done for minimal cost. If the project is successful companies can expand to larger document suites without entering a new project or dealing with a new company.  Rule sets guarantee capturing experience in-house so that what is learned in converting 30 pages can be applied and refined in the next 100 pages, the next 1,000 pages, and the next 10,000 pages or more. Migrate scales very well within typical budget processes. This is budget control.
  2. Project management
    Stilo’s Migrate model fits in well with standard SW project management. In the last 1,000 pages converted did we experience more or less requirement for consulting with Stilo experts? In the last thousand pages did we have to create new rules at a higher or lower rate than the previous 1,000 pages?  These measures are very similar to standard SW measures such as defects per thousand lines of code.  This is project control.
  3. Source coverage
    You have to convert source documents saved in DOCBOOK, HTML, HTML5, DOCX and MIF. Can Stilo handle all these sources? Yes, of course.  This is technology control.
  4. Learning and knowledge capture
    Are we climbing the corporate knowledge ramp? Can we see our way to no longer needing hand holding from Stilo?  Of course.  That is the Stilo business model.  This corporate business intelligence control.

Control comes in many flavors and at different levels in a company. Stilo’s Migrate helps achieve control at every level.

 

About the Author

Peter Fournier has extensive experience in the BNR/Nortel documentation space. In the late 80’s and early 90’s he studied the feasibility of moving the Technical Documentation to SGML. He later developed, with his team and advanced online help system for Network Management and other software produced by Nortel. The core of the online help software was based on SGML principles of containerization but only had five or six base elements, and a lot of attributes.  It was engineered to be compatible with SGML so the group had no trouble generating valid XML when the draft standard appeared in late 1996 or early 1997.  In 2005 he discovered, with great joy, DITA XML. He introduced DITA to JDSU (now Lumentum) in 2008 and served as DITA manager and technical prime until 2018.  Between 2010 and 2014 he  also found  time to get a startup going and developed software to assist groups of 1 to 20 people to get into DITA and manage all the background complexity, including publication.  As of 2021 he’s back in the DITA space and loving the Stilo philosophy of making highly complex transformation software easily accessible to customers.


How to Convert SGML to XML

How to Convert SGML to XML

  1. Take our self-study “Introduction to OmniMark” training course (materials and labs available upon request at https://www.stilo.com/omnimark-training/) which will teach you to:
    • work effectively with the core capabilities of OmniMark
    • use OmniMark’s powerful pattern-matching capabilities for text processing and converting content into XML/SGML
    • use OmniMark’s markup parser to validate XML/SGML markup
    • use OmniMark to process and enrich XML/SGML content prior to publication
  2. Write code to create an SGML to XML data conversion program
  3. Debug your program
  4. Run your program using OmniMark
  5. Retrieve the output results from your SGML to XML conversion program

The OmniMark streaming model can make an application more efficient, reusable, and scalable to large volumes of data.

OmniMark supports incremental input processing through its rule-based execution model. As events are recognized in the input, rules are executed to process them.

Develop high-performance content processing applications

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How To Handle Graphics When Transitioning To DITA XML

How To Handle Graphics When Transitioning To DITA XML

If using Microsoft Word:

  1. Extract image & XML data
  2. Understand where images are stored & how they are named
  3. Learn to use captions or alt text to create filenames
  4. Confirm caption markup appears in XML
  5. Mock cropping effects using properly sized & positioned viewboxes

 

If using FrameMaker:

  1. Convert all graphics to SVGs
  2. Determine if the SVG will have linked or embedded images
  3. If embedding images, convert the image to a supported format
  4. Recreate images with callouts by parsing the .mif file for graphical information

In many cases, moving to DITA can be an overwhelming task, especially if your content is image-heavy.  So learning how to properly handle images will not only save you time and energy, but also provide reassurance that your images are correctly transitioned. In this talk, we will look at many scenarios that you may encounter when moving your images over to DITA.

Free Conversion Offer

Upload your sample document (20-30 pages) and we will convert it to DITA free of charge!

We review the conversion results with you, and let you retain the output for your own testing purposes.

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Press Release - Migrate 4.0 Introduces Exact-Match DITA Deduplication

Stilo International Announces Official Release of Migrate 4.0 and Introduces Exact-Match DITA Deduplication

OTTAWA, Ontario, March 8, 2021 – In an effort to maximize DITA reuse potential, Stilo (https://www.stilo.com) adds exact-match deduplication to the latest release of its well-established cloud service.

Migrating documentation to DITA has many benefits, chief among them being the opportunity to reduce cost and improve quality by reusing content. A documentation set might have reuse potential as high as 50%, however, finding good reuse candidates may prove to be difficult, especially when dealing with thousands of topics. Hence the need for automation.

The first step in the deduplication process is for the user to take the newly created DITA files and put them into a collection. At this point, the automated system compares each topic against the others in that collection. Once redundancies are identified, the system selects the canonical version, automatically eliminates redundant copies, and then updates topics and associated maps.

“Up until today, our Migrate conversion platform has focused on converting legacy content, such as HTML, Word, and FrameMaker, to DITA XML” says Bryan Tipper, CEO of Stilo. “With this new deduplication functionality, Migrate can now identify and eliminate redundant topics as part of that conversion process, and utilize the reuse mechanisms that were intended by the DITA architecture.”

 

About Stilo International
Stilo develops tools to help organizations automate the conversion of content to XML and build XML content processing components integral to enterprise-level publishing solutions. Operating from offices in the UK and Canada, Stilo supports commercial publishers, technology companies and government agencies around the world in their pursuit of structured content. For more information, visit https://www.stilo.com/about.

Media Contact
Bryan Tipper
+1 (613) 745 4242
communications@stilo.com

Related Links
https://www.stilo.com/2020/09/29/automatic-exact-topic-deduplication/
https://www.stilo.com/migrate-dita/
https://cdn.stilo.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Migrate-4-Exact-Match-Deduplication.jpg

SOURCE: Stilo International

Free Conversion Offer

Upload your sample document (20-30 pages) and we will convert it to DITA free of charge!

We review the conversion results with you, and let you retain the output for your own testing purposes.

Request Now

2020 Accounts Now Available

We are pleased to announce that the 2020 Accounts are now available. The password has been sent via email to all shareholders who have registered with us on our website here.

 

2020 Accounts

 

If you are an existing shareholder and would like to otherwise request a copy of the accounts, or have follow-up questions that you would like to raise, then please contact us at investors@stilo.com.

 

 


IXIASOFT Announces the Acquisition of AuthorBridge from Stilo International

18 January 2021

IXIASOFT announces today that it has acquired AuthorBridge from Stilo International as per the agreed press release:

 

IXIASOFT addresses a growing market of non-DITA authors, while reinforcing its leading position in the global CCMS market

IXIASOFT, a leading DITA CCMS software company based in Montreal Canada, announces today that it has acquired AuthorBridge from Stilo International, a UK-based provider of software tools helping organizations automate the conversion of content to XML.

Developed in collaboration with IBM, AuthorBridge is a DITA-based web editing tool providing SMEs with a guided and fluid authoring environment. AuthorBridge is specifically designed for users with no knowledge of DITA or XML. This tool has helped organizations to efficiently implement authoring for professionals in marketing, engineering, training, and support.

Increased time-to-market pressures has led organizations to rely on various internal resources to produce high-quality content. And this trend has caused a growth of non-DITA authors in the CCMS market. The addition of AuthorBridge inside of IXIASOFT’s product suite will allow it to offer supplementary solutions to better address this new market segment, while strengthening its global position in the CCMS marketplace.

IXIASOFT will continue to offer advanced editing capabilities for DITA experts through its current product integration with the leading XML editor, Oxygen.

“We are pleased to add AuthorBridge to our IXIASOFT product line. This is a great opportunity for us to grow our product offerings and further address a segment of non-DITA experts that need to contribute their knowledge quickly and easily,” says Eric Bergeron, CEO at IXIASOFT. “And with our CCMS moving toward a web-based application to offer authors an enhanced user experience, this acquisition is aligned with our overall vision to provide comprehensive and user-friendly CCMS products to the techcomm industry.”

“AuthorBridge was developed to offer an intuitive authoring experience for subject matter experts with little to no knowledge of XML” says Bryan Tipper, CEO at Stilo. “We are incredibly proud of its market acceptance, but have realized it would be best leveraged if offered through a complete CCMS solution. We are very pleased that IXIASOFT has decided to continue with its product development, and look forward to its future success.”

About IXIASOFT

Founded in 1998, IXIASOFT is a trusted global leader in the XML content management software industry. Its signature product IXIASOFT CCMS is an award-winning, end-to-end component content management solution (CCMS) that has been deployed by industry leaders like Mastercard, Ericsson, Komatsu, Omron, Qualcomm, and SAP®. For more information, visit: http://www.ixiasoft.com.

About Stilo International

Stilo develops tools to help organizations automate the conversion of content to XML and build XML content processing components integral to enterprise-level publishing solutions. Operating from offices in the UK and Canada, we support commercial publishers, technology companies and government agencies around the world in their pursuit of structured content. For more information, visit https://www.stilo.com/about.

 

Note to Stilo shareholders

The transaction was executed December 22nd 2020 and a public announcement date of January 18th 2021 was agreed with IXIASOFT.  The financial consideration received will be included in our 2020 accounts.

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Stilo International Limited

If you are an existing shareholder and have follow-up questions that you would like to raise, then please contact us at investors@stilo.com.


Post Buy-Back Announcement

8 January 2021

We are pleased to announce that, pursuant to Stilo International Limited’s (the “Company”) recently completed share consolidation and buy-back, the Company purchased and cancelled a total of 1,740,000 ordinary shares. As a result, the Company’s issued share capital now stands at 96,420,000 ordinary shares of 1p each.

ONE Advisory Limited
Company Secretary
8 January 2021

 

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ENQUIRIES

Stilo International Limited

If you are an existing shareholder and have follow-up questions that you would like to raise, then please contact us at investors@stilo.com.