Apple and IBM! The recent joint announcement by Apple and IBM of their “global partnership to transform enterprise mobility” just shows that given enough time, anything can happen, especially in an ever-evolving and occasionally unpredictable socio-mobile industry that touches everything from bitcoins and wearables to 3D printers and biometric sensors. Yes, even structured XML authoring.
But can XML authoring survive? As I noted in a previous post, “the DITA Open Toolkit was released only 9 years ago“. By comparison, MadCap Flare was launched only 8 years ago, and Syncro Soft Oxygen introduced visual XML editing only 7 years ago. But today, I can see the signs that XML authoring, like CDs and DVDs, is already past its prime and approaching the end of its useful life.
Apple + IBM
Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. While I’ve previously tackled the subject of XML authoring several different times from several different angles, I wanted to take another look in the new light of this “anything can happen” Apple and IBM announcement. Would it be poetic if IBM, which introduced DITA-XML authoring in 2001, helped to kill it by 2021?
Speed! Many of you might remember my speeding review of MadCap Flare 10 last month. So after seeing the nice retweets and email replies by the folks at MadCap Software, I was tempted to take another deeper drive with Flare. But to be fair, I wanted to give Syncro Soft Oxygen XML Author 15 another chance. Just because IBM adopted it doesn’t necessarily mean Oxygen can’t be “sexy”.
This time, instead of comparing MadCap Flare 10 to the classic downhill-drifting Toyota AE86 Trueno, let’s compare Oxygen XML Author 15 to the iconic uphill-gripping Nissan Skyline GT-R R32. Just as Japanese touge (mountain pass or road) racing reveals different challenges when racing downhill versus uphill, we see different advantages in XML-based authoring with and without DITA.
Gran Turismo 5: Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 (by Vertualissimo)
Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. After 3 years of PTC Arbortext Editor, plus a week of shifting between Arbortext and Oxygen, I finally felt confident enough to accelerate with Oxygen for my DOC-to-DITA conversion project. To verify my enjoyment of the IBM-customized Oxygen, I test-drove the free 30-day trial version too. Did I find it sexy?
Several weeks ago, on a day-off whim, I started watching the classic racing-anime series “Initial D” (1998) about a natural-born drift racer named Takumi and his 1980s Toyota AE86 Sprinter Trueno or “Eight-Six”. Immediately, I found myself being pulled into the passionate world of Japanese street racing. Before I knew it, several weeks later, I finished “Initial D: Fourth Stage” (2004-2006).
What does a Toyota AE86 have to do with MadCap Flare 10? In a word, passion! Just as Takumi’s natural attachment to his Toyota AE86 triggers his passion for downhill drift racing, my persistent fondness for MadCap Flare is fueling my passion for topic-based authoring outside of IBM. After all, overcoming difficult challenges is much more fun when you’re driven by some heartfelt passion.
Initial D: Toyota AE86 or “Eight-Six”
Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. In a previous post, I wrote: “When I attended my first local STC chapter meeting in September, I was exposed to Madcap Flare  for the first time too. Not only did the Flare demo impress me more than the Oxygen  demos, but ever since that presentation, I’ve thought about buying Flare for my own personal use.”
Variety! Last weekend, my little brother flew into town to attend a Las Vegas conference, and this rare occasion gave us the perfect excuse to explore a variety of mouth-watering restaurants. One thing we heartily agreed on was the enjoyment of rotating our food styles, for example, from the local I Love Sushi rolls to Settebello pizza to the Bellagio breakfast buffet to Kabuki sushi rolls.
In a nutshell, variety is the spice of life! Similarly, before IBM acquired TRIRIGA in 2011, despite our Waterfall-style methodology, “I enjoyed a broader cross-project and cross-product perspective of the release-wide documentation changes” where I wasn’t “pigeon-holed into a project-specific Agile silo”. In other words, I experienced a more-stimulating variety of project and product challenges.
Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. So if this “spicy” attitude works well with my dining choices, why can’t I apply it to my Agile team choices? Even if software developers and quality assurance testers don’t have a preference, why shouldn’t I break out of my own Agile silo and rotate my product-specific Agile teams as an information developer?
Like I mentioned in my previous post, I was lucky enough to attend the IBM Pulse 2014 conference for free by supporting the conference staff as one of the many hallway monitors. Despite staying on my feet for several hours until lunchtime, I thought it was fun to direct wandering attendees to the MGM Grand Garden Arena, North Pavilion, Marquee Ballroom, or Conference Center rooms.
For example, I received common questions like “Where’s room 108?”, “Where’s lunch being served?”, or “Where’s the Expo?” Luckily, I studied the MGM conference maps beforehand! But the best part was seeing familiar IBM TRIRIGA faces like @JoyceTse, @Melanie_Antonio, and @SmarterAssets, or meeting familiar names in person for the first time like @TristanOGorman1.
Jay @ IBM Pulse 2014
Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. To give you a taste of my Monday at IBM Pulse, here are 55 photos which walk you from the general session in the Grand Garden Arena, to the breakout sessions in the Conference Center, to lunch in the North Pavilion, and finally to the Solution Expo in the Marquee Ballroom. Definitely an eye-popping experience!
Three months ago, in a November post, I explored the “top 3 most-popular and most-reliable WordPress.org security plugins” at the time. Although some might blame the WordPress.org community for any security vulnerabilities, it is also the responsibility of the user to “actively maintain and update the software”. In other words, “your blog is only as strong as its weakest plugin”.
Later, in a December post and January post, I investigated the possible “downfall of topic-based XML authoring and topic-based information architecture” and the “growing impact of WordPress as an enterprise CMS and enterprise SaaS”. If XML CMSs mean extinction, I also wondered whether “XML-oriented integrations… will forever be incompatible with PHP-based CMSs like WordPress.”
Madcap Flare: Topic XML view and text view
Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. In my ongoing journey to explore topic-based DITA-XML authoring and its relationship to social-based WordPress strategies, I stumbled across a fascinating five-year-old solution that allows you to import your DITA-authored XHTML output into your WordPress.org installation.
Snow! When I say the word “snow”, what do you feel? Fun? Frozen? Frustration? A child might smile. An adult might curse. Fifty different people might feel fifty different emotions. Next, what comes to mind when I say “Windows 8.1”? Fast? Furious? Fascination? Again, the same fifty people might experience fifty different reactions. It just depends on your attitude, doesn’t it?
In a previous post, I noted that my 2011 Windows 7 gaming notebook met its untimely demise in the final days of 2013. So I was forced to order my new 2014 Windows 8.1 gaming desktop much sooner than planned. Thankfully, my sexy gaming PC arrived three weeks later. And I must say, wow, it rocks! Especially when running a next-generation game like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.
Windows 8.1 Start screen
Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. Now that I have a working Windows 8.1 system in my possession, I can finally decide for myself whether all of the negative reviews about Windows 8 and 8.1 over the past year is based on a knee-jerk reflex to unwelcome change or a logical reaction to unfriendly design. Or maybe it’s a mixture of both.