Power Hour! Archive

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ePublisher Development - Paragraph to HTML+CSS
December, 2014

The ePublisher platform offers users endless possibilities to customize formats to meet their business needs. The key to this flexibility lies in ePublisher's project format, which is open to extension and completely contains end-user custom code. Custom projects can then be packaged as stationery and distributed to whole teams for use with ePublisher Express and AutoMap. Understanding how to extend ePublisher increases your entire organization's publishing capabilities.

This session traces the process of taking content from source formats, through ePublisher's intermediate format WIF, and out to a specific output format. In this case, we will examine the process used to emit HTML+CSS markup. At the end, users should know enough to start their own experiements customizing an ePublisher HTML based format.

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ePublisher Techniques - Integrating existing HTML content
October, 2014

Audiences demand content from a variety of sources. Often, that content is curated and maintained in authoring systems such as Adobe FrameMaker, Microsoft Word, and OASIS DITA. Other times, the content lives inside source code files or database systems. How can ePublisher package and deliver existing HTML content?

This session explores techniques which enable you to create blended ePublisher/HTML deliveries. We will focus on tools such as Doxygen that pull content from programming source code and emit it into structured HTML input. Our goal is not to change what Doxygen creates; rather our goal is to leverage the value Doxygen output provides to our user audience.

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Dynamic Merge - Multi-volume Help on the Fly
September, 2014

Delivering effective help requires tailoring content to meet a specific user's needs. Context-sensitive help provides a method to navigate through a large help set and guide users to success. However, when users must learn broader topics, our goal shifts. Instead of presenting a complete encyclopedia of potential topics, we wish to limit our presentation to relevant topics only. The end result is a help system that is "just right" for any given user.

This session explores methods for delivering help content where available modules can be changed, either during installation or at run-time. We will focus on the capabilities provided in both WebWorks Reverb and WebWorks Help 5.0.

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WebWorks Reverb - Customizing Your Help
August, 2014

WebWorks Reverb makes it easy to deliver web-ready, mobile enabled content to your end users. While Reverb includes a number of skin choices, delivering a full experience means going beyond colors and layouts. Branding, copyright information, buttons, and other custom behaviors allow you to tailor Reverb to meet the unique needs of your user community.

This session explores methods for customizing WebWorks Reverb, from modifying icons and colors to modifying layouts and adding new behaviors. We begin with page template customizations for layout and buttons and move on to the relationship between Reverb CSS and Reverb's JavaScript run-time. Final topics to be determined based upon sign-up feedback.

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WebWorks Reverb - Migrating WebWorks Help Skins
June, 2014

The rise of the Internet changed user expectations for information access. Content, once locked away in arcane file formats and accessed by proprietary help viewers, became readily accessible via any web browser. Companies working to meet user expectations, needed a way to deliver help content on both user desktops and public web servers. WebWorks Help was crafted to meet this need, delivering a full help viewer experience in any available web browser. Years later, the iPhone and iPad drove demand for mobile access. WebWorks Help was not optimized for this new mobile world, so WebWorks created Reverb. WebWorks Reverb extends your content's reach to include desktops, web sites, and mobile devices.

This session guides users who are migrating from existing WebWorks Help projects to WebWorks Reverb. We discuss design changes made for WebWorks Reverb which support mobile devices and speed information delivery. With a solid understand of Reverb's basic design, we review techniques for replicating common WebWorks Help customizations in WebWorks Reverb.

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Embedding Video - Exploring options to improve ePublisher
May, 2014

Technical communication is successful when you fully deliver your message to your audience. That success depends upon your ability to identify the appropriate medium for your users. We often start with prose and extend it with images. Ultimately, we find certain tasks are best demonstrated rather than described. For those tasks, video is the only choice.

This session explores the state of video support on the ePublisher platform. We begin by reviewing possible methods supported on ePublisher today. Then our discussion examines options to improve upon those capabilities. Our goal is to ease the experience of both content authoring and delivery.

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ePUB - Understanding eBooks (2.0 and 3.0)
April, 2014

Quick! How would you rather relax on a cold, rainy day? Would you prefer to spend it reading websites from a laptop or sipping tea while flipping pages in a book? Most of us would choose the book. However, these days, we'd like our ever present smartphones and tablets to afford us the option to read anytime, anywhere. The goal of the ePUB book format is to give us an experience optimized for those moments.

This session delves into the history and details of the ePUB format. We'll examine earlier attempts to define a universal eBook standard, marvel at the accomplishment that is the ePUB 2.0 standard, and hang our heads in sadness at the state of ePUB 3.0 in the world. Along the way, we'll see that optimizing content for a long-form reading experience presents its own unique challenges.

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DITA Specialization - Enabling specialized processing in ePublisher
February, 2014

DITA begins with a well defined taxonomy for structured content creation. Unlike SGML, DITA's architecture enables content architects to specialize markup for their own business needs while preserving publishing capabilities. This is made possible through DITA's specialization mechanism. The ePublisher platform fully supports publishing of specialized DITA content to a variety of online and print destinations.

This session examine each step in the process of integrating DITA specializations into ePublisher projects. This approach enables DITA specialization management through ePublisher stationery. Your DITA specializations go where your stationery goes: desktops with Express and servers with AutoMap.

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XML without XSL - Processing XML content without XSL
January, 2014

XML defines an extensible information exchange standard. The extensible nature of XML leads to the reality of specialized tools capable of processing XML's various forms. While the XSLT language (eXtensible Stylesheet Language Transformations) is most closely associated with XML processing, it is one of many possible options. These options range from simple parser interfaces for procedural languages, to DOM (Document Object Model) interfaces, to XML manipulation languages such as XQuery. Each processor has differing strengths and weaknesses. Picking the right choice for your problem can turn a difficult task in to a simple one.

This session explores methods for using alternate XML processors with the ePublisher platform. The first step requires that we identify a suitable processor for our given task. We briefly review the strengths and weaknesses of the available processing options. Next, we explore two possible methods for invoking these processors: script blocks and external programs. Both approaches enable you to leverage existing tools to deliver desired results.

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Images - Optimizing for online and print
December, 2013

Clear technical communication involves more than words. Presenting information in graphical form, diagrams or screenshots, can guide users on the right path and reduce tech support burdens. Single-source publishing is successful when content is optimally packages for each desired format type. PDFs often require high-resolution images for print (300-600dpi), while online documentation dictates lower resolutions (96dpi) to ensure fast load times and minimal bandwidth usage.

This session identifies techniques to optimize images for online and print both within source content and within ePublisher. Source content offers the most flexibility at the cost of management. ePublisher can automate many routine image transformation tasks with a, small, cost to quality. Finding the right sweet spot for your content requires consideration of your authoring environment, workflow, and delivery methods. Discussion will focus on your current methodology and ways to achieve your publishing goals.

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Extending Styles - Adding properties and options
October, 2013

Engaging content is possible when publishers combine well-crafted prose with effective presentation. Authors are responsible for creating the right message. ePublisher delivers consistent presentation results for a single writer or an entire work group. Our topic explores methods which enhance ePublisher's built-in presentation capabilities.

This session explores two areas: extending the Style Designer and publishing with extended capabilities. We start with a tutorial on enabling properties and options in the ePublisher Style Designer. Next, we transition to XSL and examine how information is made available in the ePublisher run-time. Finally, we leverage our new capabilities to emit our desired markup.

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ePublisher XSL Development - WIF Paragraph to XSL-FO
September, 2013

Single-source publishing in ePublisher is possible due to an XML intermediate format called WebWorks Intermediate Format (WIF). WIF enables ePublisher to combine content from a variety of source formats, such as DITA, FrameMaker, and Word, and deliver a unified output. The key to understanding ePublisher processing lies in the journey content takes from WIF to an output format.

This session follows a single paragraph from WIF to XSL-FO markup. We identify data made available from source documents and show how this information intersects with Style Designer properties and options. This exploration addresses the question of how an ePublisher format knows to pay attention to certain properties while ignoring others.

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DITA Debugging - Understanding the ePublisher Log Window
August, 2013

ePublisher enables single-source publishing from DITA, FrameMaker, and Word documents to a variety of output formats. FrameMaker and Word can be customized to meet user needs and then used transparently in conjunction with ePublisher. DITA offers exceptional flexibility, though this flexibility can come with a cost. In general, ePublisher users publish DITA content without delving into the gritty details of DITA processing. Those users who specialize DITA topics and customize default styling will need to interact with ePublisher at the DITA-OT (DITA Open Toolkit) level. Here, the full power of both DITA and ePublisher are exposed.

This session demonstrates how ePublisher's processing log can be used to resolve low-level DITA processing errors. This technique is useful when adding support to ePublisher for custom DITA specializations or modifying ePublisher styling. Attendees will also learn how to execute DITA-OT operations while leveraging ePublisher's flexible resource resolution capabilities.

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ePublisher Hacking Primer - Format Conventions (Pages, Templates, format.wwfmt)
July, 2013

ePublisher's consistent user interface and engine runtime enable flexible, managed publishing workflows. ePublisher Designer provides visual style control while XSL customization enables full control of generated output. Packaging those changes for others is accomplished through ePublisher Stationery. These capabilities can be used independent of ePublisher's own formats. However, most users would like to start from a working format and then specialize it for their particular needs.

This session orients users on the design and structure of ePublisher's built-in formats. The formats share many design attributes as well as coding conventions. Familiarity with these structures enable you to modify processing to suit your needs. The goal is to leverage what ePublisher provides out-of-box with a dash of your own code to deliver unique solutions.

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PDFs from DITA - Examining the process of DITA to XSL-FO to PDF
June, 2013

DITA defines standards for information architecture, content reuse, and presentation. Using DITA in your organization improves content consistency, enables multiple contributors, and puts you on solid ground to build a localization workflow. The next step is to publish your content. Successful information delivery implies that you provide content as your audience prefers. Understanding how that process works enables you to deliver the right presentation.

This session explores how ePublisher delivers PDF output from your DITA content. ePublisher leverages the XSL-FO standard to leverage DITA's structure with ePublisher's styling prowess. We start with a high-level overview of the process and then drill down into specific areas based on attendee interests. Our goal is to enable experimentation with the PDF - XSL-FO format included in ePublisher.

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XSL-FO - Basic Concepts and Markup
May, 2013

Single-sourcing empowers publishers to deliver content the way their audience likes it. Web and mobile based content rely on well defined standards to create deliverables, namely HTML 3.2, XHTML, CSS, HTML5, EPUB 2.0, etc. Print deliverables are another story. While PDF based content is the de facto standard for print content delivery, methods for producing PDFs vary widely. Workflows exist based on FrameMaker/Word, TeX/LaTeX, HTML+CSS+Extensions, and even PostScript pre-cursors to PDF. The XSL-FO standard was created to enable the production of print based (and even web based) outputs with full respect for print oriented needs.

This session explores the XSL-FO standard. We begin by identifying the differences between XSL-FO and PDF, using that discussion to guide our review of XSL-FO's structure. Topics such as master pages, left/right masters, content flows, and variables will receive attention. Throughout the session, we leverage ePublisher's own XSL-FO format as a guide and tool to help us on our journey.

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JavaScript - Leveraging 3rd-party code (jQuery)
April, 2013

Web content's evolution over the past 15 years has been extraordinary. Starting with HTML, a simplified version of SGML, web content quickly added CSS for consistent static processing and JavaScript for interactive components. HTML5 extends CSS' reach with support for animation effects in CSS3. In this new world, JavaScript continues to play an important role in extending the capabilities of older browsers and speeding client-side browser interactions.

This session explores ePublisher's open design with a focus on integrating 3rd-party JavaScript libraries. In particular, we will explore ways to include the jQuery JavaScript library in your ePublisher outputs. jQuery includes powerful CSS-based selection capabilities that enable smooth animation/interactive effects in your output.

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XSLT, Part III - Extending ePublisher Styles and Settings
March, 2013

The ePublisher platform relies upon the foundational technologies XML and XSLT. XML knowledge is widespread, with the technology finding use in a variety of products and services. XSLT began life as the blessed method for transforming XML. Given the variety of XML processing options available, many choose to "stay home" and use general purpose scripting tools to perform XML transformations. Those users miss out on the power afforded by XSLT to solve XML processing challenges.

This session continues our exploration of XSLT on the ePublisher platform. We focus on the mechanism ePublisher provides for users to extend the Style Designer and leverage those controls in their XSL control code. This capability expands the range of options available to users who find ePublisher fits their general requirements, yet lacks one key requirement that is unique to their organization.

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XSLT, Part II - Beyond the Basics, Applying to ePublisher
February, 2013

The ePublisher platform relies upon the foundational technologies XML and XSLT. XML knowledge is widespread, with the technology finding use in a variety of products and services. XSLT began life as the blessed method for transforming XML. Given the variety of XML processing options available, many choose to "stay home" and use general purpose scripting tools to perform XML transformations. Those users miss out on the power afforded by XSLT to solve XML processing challenges.

This session continues our exploration of XSLT on the ePublisher platform. We build upon our experiences from the December 2012 Power Hour. We will explore the structure of ePublisher's WIF (WebWorks Intermediate Format) markup. Knowledge of this XML format enables you to create solutions to fit your publishing requirements. We also touch upon the relationship between the ePublisher's Style Designer and XSLT processing.

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ePublisher - Invoking Tools and Post-Processing Outputs
January, 2013

Delivering content to your audience is rarely as simple as providing a collection of files and images. Often, the effort involves packaging your content or providing information in a specific format. The ePublisher platform allows you to integrate those actions into your publishing process to improve efficiency and guarantee consistency.

This session highlights the variety of actions ePublisher invokes to prepare content for the 19 built-in ePublisher formats. We examine how ePublisher communicates with external tools and demonstrate ways for you to include your own tools into an ePublisher project and stationery.

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XSLT - Basics and applying to ePublisher
December, 2012

The ePublisher platform relies upon the foundational technologies XML and XSLT. XML knowledge is widespread, with the technology finding use in a variety of products and services. XSLT began life as the primary blessed method for transforming XML. Given the variety of XML processing options available, many choose to "stay home" and use general purpose scripting tools to perform XML transformations. Those users miss out on the power afforded by XSLT to solve XML processing challenges.

This session reviews the basics of programming with XSLT. Match templates, namespaces, and XPATH will be discussed. This knowledge is then applied to the ePublisher run-time engine. Togerther, we learn how the nuts and bolts of XSLT are leveraged to produce deliverables for your users.

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ePublisher Development - Exploring the publishing process
October, 2012

Building a successful workflow for your organization requires automation of routine publishing tasks. Tools which enable you to capture custom operations and replicate their behavior on your writers' desktops reduce errors and increase efficiency. ePublisher provides a wealth of formats ready made to reach a broad audience of end users. When you need to specialize your deliverable beyond out-of-box formats, it is time to explore ePublisher's publishing process.

This session takes you on a step by step tour of ePublisher's single-source publishing run-time. You will see how ePublisher is able to blend content from FrameMaker, Word, and DITA sources into a single combined output. You will also learn how to interpret and navigate ePublisher's format definition files to better understand where and how processing is performed. Finally, based on user feedback, we will touch upon other common operations of interest, such as launching external programs and performing regular expression matches.

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Page Templates - Leveraging Page Templates for Good and Evil
September, 2012

Creative page design attracts readers and invites them to stay. It complements your prose, adding to a reader's enjoyment of your efforts. Page templates allow you to place information when and where you want it. By controlling layouts, you control style. By controlling style, you communicate effectively. By communicating effectively, you and your audience succeed together.

This session explores the possibilities offered by ePublisher's page templates. We review how ePublisher formats make use of page templates to deliver your content. Next, we illustrate the link between your content and page template layouts. Finally, we explore methods for injecting custom data into your deliverables.

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Reverb - Toolbar/Look-and-Feel Customizations
August, 2012

Delivering content to your audience encompasses more than just words on the page. You must ensure users can access information wherever they may be, on the desktop, on the phone, or on a tablet computer. And throughout that experience, you are satisfying the goals of branding your organization and ensuring all interactions match the user's expectations.

This session explores techniques for customizing WebWorks Reverb, the HTML5 format with support for Responsive Design built right in. We start with simple visual, i.e. "skin", based changes and then explore ways to extend the default functionality included in the Reverb run-time.

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ePublisher Development - Review ePublisher 2012.2 release
July, 2012

Building a successful workflow for your organization requires automation of routine publishing tasks. Tools which enable you to capture custom operations and replicate their behavior on your writer's desktops reduce errors and increase efficiency. ePublisher provides a wealth of formats ready made to reach a broad audience of end users. When you need to specialize your deliverable beyond out-of-box formats, it is time to explore ePublisher's publishing process.

We will review the 2012.2 release of WebWorks ePublisher, highlighting the latest improvements to Reverb, that allow it to work from local file systems in any modern browser, including Google Chrome. We will also go over strategies for using Reverb with the WebWorks Help API.

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Usage Metrics - Learning about the audience
June, 2012

Understanding your audience is the key to successful communication. With understanding, you can present content in the pace and form that best facilities learning. The Internet presents new challenges for communicators seeking to connect with end users. Surveys and questionnaires largely go unanswered. Instead, we must leverage well-honed Marketing techniques which leverage activity tracking with statistics to read the tea leaves of customer intent.

This session focuses on Internet usage metrics, ways to monitor end-user activity and interpret that knowledge to improve our communication. We will discuss measurement goals, identify measurement tools, and criteria for goal success.

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Responsive Design - Optimizing the browsing experience for mobile and desktop users
May, 2012

The complexities associated with content delivery continue to expand. In the early days of the web, HTML provided limited layout options, having a browser meant you run either Netscape or Internet Explorer, and advanced multimedia meant animated GIFs. Today, advances in browsers and technology have filled with world with tables, smart-phones, massive desktop screens, and incredible flexibility in how information is displayed. Responsive Design refers to techniques when enable you to empower your content with the ability to consider a user's browsing environment without having to produce multiple versions of you content.

This session presents the concepts involved with Responsive Design and explores various implementation techniques. CSS3 includes powerful media filters which can enable capabilities which previously required custom JavaScript code. We will also review the 2012.1 release of WebWorks Reverb, highlighting where this format takes advantage of Responsive Design techniques to delivery a single deliverable optimized for multiple browser environments.

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Customizing Output - Enabling users to configure online help
April 2012

Traditional help formats deliver your content as unchanging knowledge centers. Today, expectations have changed. Users demand interactive content, content that connects them to communities and product support. Comments, ratings, tags, and open platforms such as wikis offer content providers new ways to interact with end users. The next step, beyond simple interactions, means empowering end users to customize your content delivery to meet their personal needs.

This session explores ideas for end user output customization. Success of this webinar will depend heavily upon everyone's willingness to show up and share their ideas. Where possible, we will attempt to prototype interactions to learn their potential value in creating end user success.

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Wiki - Native Markup Support
March 2012

Wikis are great platforms to gather feedback from users and subject matter experts (SMEs). They offer reviewers the ability to leave simple comments or make whole sale changes to content. All of this is possible with the ability to quickly view changes and keep tabs on where folks need the most help. Wikis do come with trade-offs. Many wiki markup languages lack the ability to perform complex layouts (namely tables). The easy out for this problem is to leverage HTML markup instead. The issue is that when using HTML markup, the wiki itself loses insight into the structure of the content it manages.

This session begins with a review of the state of native wiki markup support in ePublisher's wiki formats. This review include discussions of limitations inherent in each supported wiki's markup capabilities. We will then delve into the changes required to support native wiki markup on the MediaWiki server. We will close out with a discussion of possible next steps to improve ePublisher's wiki publishing capabilities.

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Automation - Scripting Solutions With AutoMap
February 2012

Building a successful publishing system is a huge undertaking. It requires that you define your content architecture, design your deliveriables, capture the entire process end-to-end, and find a way to reproduce the process and environment where needed in your organization. ePublisher Designer and Express set you on the right course to accomplish these goals. When you need the next level of automation, AutoMap steps in to enable the integration of ePublisher capabilities into your own processes.

This session demonstrates how best to script AutoMap. We will consider scenarios where AutoMap runs the show and scenarios where AutoMap is simply a supporting player. You will see how AutoMap can perform your final quality checks before sending content out to your end users.

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XSLT - Making XSLT Your Friend
January 2012

Technical writing, like any complex field, constantly evolves. Practitioners must continually upgrade their tools and knowledge to remain effective in delivering value to their audience. In the past decade, XML emerged as a bedrock technology in the science of Information Architecture. XSLT empowers users to build new information delivery platforms using the XML standard, much as SQL enabled new database applications in the 1970s and 1980s.

This session demonstrates the concepts and practices underlying XSLT. Starting with simple, conceptual examples, users learn that XSLT is just a fancy name for making matches. Next, we learn how those matches leverage XML structure to offer exceptional power when applied to data processing. Finally, we connect the dots and demonstrate how you can integrate your XSLT code into ePublisher formats.

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WebWorks Reverb - Moving from WebWorks Help 5.0
December 2011

Keeping pace with your audience is not an easy task. Twenty years ago, WinHelp was synonymous with online help. Ten years ago, the Internet and HTML brought us Microsoft HTML Help. Later, web help formats optimized for desktop browsers became the norm. Today, your audience accesses content from their desktops, their tablets, their mobile phones. In each case, they desire an experience optimized for their preferred device. In the desktop era, WebWorks Help delivered cross-browser, cross-platform help systems with a familiar interface and top notch features. In the mobile era, WebWorks Reverb takes over where WebWorks Help left off, continuing to deliver a great desktop experience while making mobile device users part of the family.

This session demonstrates how users with existing WebWorks Help projects can migrate to WebWorks Reverb. You will learn that for standard WebWorks Help projects, e.g. those without customizations, moving to WebWorks Reverb is quite simple. Users with complex customizations can learn how Reverb's cleaner design makes it easier than ever to build the help solution your audience demands. Time permitting, we will explore the migration of an existing WebWorks Help customization to WebWorks Reverb.

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Effective CSS Techniques with ePublisher Formats
October 2011

Communicating effectively requires great content and great presentation. Single-sourcing with ePublisher enables your organization to take care of one part of that equation (great content). CSS (cascading style sheets) enable you to polish your presentation and reach your audience.

This session explores the use of CSS with ePublisher's formats. Starting with a review of the Style Designer's default CSS options, we will move on to output specific considerations and hand-edited CSS techniques. Combining ePublisher's out-of-box capabilities with targeted CSS tricks can make your content come alive.

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Customizing WebWorks Help 5.0
September 2011

WebWorks Help delivers content to countless end users on a wide variety of platforms. Ever evolving, WebWorks Help is known as the cross-platform, cross-browser delivery format for application or web based help. Tech writers in environments with limited IT support deliver a high-quality user experience without complex server configurations.

This session examines the many ways in which WebWorks Help can be customized. Starting with capabilities offered in the ePublisher Style Designer, we continue on to page templates and ultimately code level modifications which enable WebWorks Help to succeed for your organization.

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DITA, DITA, DITA - Exploring your needs
August 2011

Information architecture challenges organizations who wish to manage complex information. The OASIS DITA standard is a milestone in the relentless quest to improve IA practices and technology. IBM turned an internal project into an opportunity to improve information sharing, reuse, and tooling for everyone. Today, through the efforts of numerous volunteers, OASIS guides the DITA standard forward into the future.

This session explores DITA support on the ePublisher platform. We begin with a guided tour of the ePublisher DITA publishing process. Users learn how DITA structure transforms to style based information, suitable for publishing to a variety of sources. Then, we move on to learn about the challenges and requirements users face in working with DITA+ePublisher in their own organizations. The goal is to identify areas where ePublisher can be improved to meet today's content publishing needs.

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Understanding ePublisher Document Processing - WIF Files
July 2011

The ePublisher platform is an XML/XSL based, single-source publishing tool. The key to ePublisher's flexibility lies in the WebWorks Intermediate Format (WIF) XML specification. WIF enables ePublisher to combine content from a variety of source document formats, such as FrameMaker, Word, and DITA, and combine them into a unified result. It also enables the rapid introduction and advancement of new output formats on the ePublisher platform.

This session delves into the details of the WIF file format. In combination with format definition files, we will demonstrate how ePublisher derives help, web, eBook, wiki, and PDF content using the power of XML and XSL. Demonstrations of key techniques and in-depth discussions help you shape out-of-box formats into powerful, custom solutions.

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DITA Styling - Configuring ePublisher's DITA style mapping
June 2011

At the beginning of the 21th Century, the technical writing community embarked on an effort to define a new standard for information representation. The result is known as the OASIS DITA standard. This public standard enables companies to share information across departmental and corporate boundaries. The key to such widespread interoperability lies in DITA's approach to structured knowledge representation and extensibility.

This session examines ePublisher's approach to processing DITA content. ePublisher is primarily a style based publishing engine. DITA content is based upon structure. Publishing DITA content effectively means understanding how to map structure to styles. This is especially true for style based formats such as PDF XSL-FO. We will review ePublisher's default style mapping rules, demonstrate how these rules may be customized, and finally show how this capability enables you to have the best of both DITA and ePublisher.

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PDFs with XSL-FO - What is ePublisher missing for you?
May 2011

Today, PDFs have displaced physical, printed documentation. When users state they have a "print requirement", inevitably this translates into "we need to generate PDFs". Print deliverables are the most demanding delivery format in existance. Today, PDFs are changing. They are now most often viewed on iPhone, iPads, laptops, etc. These new viewing devices are far less demanding of PDFs. In this new world, the ability to quickly generate PDFs for archival purposes or quick communication has led to the emergence of XSL-FO, XSL Formatting Objects. XSL-FO is a standards based markup langauage which can be use to generate PDFs.

This session examines the current state of PDF creation using ePublisher's XSL-FO format. Together, we will identify areas in need of improvement while highlighting current capabilities. Special attention will also be paid to use cases for generated PDFs. Are your PDFs being used for review? Final deliverables? Fallbacks for traditional help? Join the discussion and help us better understand your needs.

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DITA - Understanding how ePublisher works with DITA content
April 2011

Over the past few years, DITA has become synonymous with topic based authoring and standards based publishing. Some folks believe that options for publishing DITA content begin and end with the DITA Open Toolkit. ePublisher offers flexible publishing options for authors who require high-quality publishing with GUI ease of use.

This session dives into the low-level details of ePublisher's DITA support. Our discussion explores how ePublisher maps structure to styles, handles DITA specialization, and reviews options for generating web help + PDF from DITA sources.

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Accessibility - Identifying ways to improve ePublisher
March 2011

Reaching your audience requires more than delivering raw words and information. You must carefully choose the form and style of your deliverables. One aspect, ensuring your message is accessible to audience members with disabilities, is too often overlooked.

This session reviews the current state of accessibility on the ePublisher platform and explores areas in need of improvement. Starting with a review of ePublisher's accessibility reports, we move on to learn about WebWorks Help's accessible interface. Finally, our discussion continues to the topic of structured lists and other potential improvements to ePublisher's baseline accessibility support.

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Power CSS - Understanding ePublisher Page Templates and generated HTML
February 2011

Making your delivery often requires exacting control over CSS files. ePublisher's default CSS management approach supports high-fidelity content transformation. In certain cases, users may wish to trade high-fidelity for reduced file counts or increase consistency.

This session takes you through ePublisher's existing CSS processing architecture. We will examine techniques to get the CSS results you need within that architecture. When you do need to bend the rules, we'll identify possible strategies to get you on a path to success.

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Implementing Context-sensitive Help
November 2010

Delivering content to end users when and where they need it can determine the success of your product or service in the market place. Context-sensitive help is a technique which associates a task with the information required to complete it. While the details vary between help systems, applications types, and services, the overall design remains the same. Understanding the basic concepts involved enables you to find success regardless of your authoring and delivery environment.

This session begins with an overview of context-senstive help concepts. Next, we will demonstrate how to specify help contexts in your source documents so they can be processed by ePublisher. Moving on to ePublisher, we can explore the many forms in which context-sensitive help can be delivered. Finally, our session will conclude with a discussion of the pitfalls you will encounter as you implement content-sensitive help in your own organization.

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Building Custom Formats
October 2010

WebWorks ePublisher adapts itself to varied business requirements through custom formats. Custom formats are a set of resources and actions which produce a well-defined deliverable. Custom formats enable end users to apply a designer's work to new or changing content. Further, designers can empower end users to adapt custom formats for departmental or product specific needs through the ePublisher UI. This capability separates ePublisher's custom formats from simple collections of scripts and batch files.

This session first introduces the concepts involved with creating ePublisher custom formats. These concepts are then mapped to the concrete files and actions required to make custom formats a reality. At the conclusion of this session, users will have a good starting point to begin their own experiments on the ePublisher platform.

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XSLT Tutorial - Getting Started
September 2010

XSLT is a powerful, enabling technology available with the ePublisher platform. Designed for high-volume content processing and transformation, XSLT is widely supported both by web browsers and server side tools. While ePublisher does much to insulate users from XSLT through the ePublisher UI, your specific workflow may demand full control of the processing pipeline. ePublisher enables you to leverage the full power of XSLT to maximize ePublisher's automation benefits to your organization.

This session introduces XSLT to users who wish to customize ePublisher for specific applications. We will begin with an overview of XSLT concepts. Next, we will apply those concepts to solve real world problems. Finally, we will round out the session with pointers to available XSLT resources and interactive tools.

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Debugging XSLT - See how the WebWorks crew does it
August 2010

The ePublisher platform leverages XML and XSLT technologies to deliver a high performance, reliable publishing system. While you can always customize your content deliveries through ePublisher's high-level interface, some challenges may require custom XSLT code. Having the ability to debug XSLT running inside ePublisher itself enables you to learn and build the right publishing work flow for your organization.

This session takes you through the steps necessary to debug XSLT code on the ePublisher platform using Microsoft's powerful and freely available Visual Studio Express environment.

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Deployment Clients - Extending deployment options
July 2010

Getting your content in front of your audience is the final step in the publishing process. ePublisher is a complete publishing solution which enables you to deliver content as your audience expects, where they expect to find it. Deployment clients enable the ePublisher platform to reach everywhere your content needs to go.

This session demonstrates the use of ePublisher's available deployment clients. Next, we will review the deployment client interface and show how it works with a simple demo client.

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AutoMap Scripting - Automating ePublisher
June 2010

ePublisher AutoMap enables users to deliver content on a schedule, integrate ePublisher into nightly build environments, and access content from version control systems.

We will demonstrate two ways of using ePublisher AutoMap. AutoMap can be in charge of scheduling your build process or it can be just another tool in your arsenal. Either way, the combination of AutoMap with scripting enables you to deliver results for your organization.

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May 2010

ePublisher provides users with many ways to customize the design of their generated content. Page templates enable you to make big changes quickly. Page templates are an excellent starting point for deeper ePublisher customizations.

Beginning with a simple page design, we will demonstrate how to vary your page layout based on hints found in your source document and the ePublisher Style Designer. Once our basic design is in place, we can then introduce content to our pages via ePublisher variables. Finally, the session will close out with a brief overview of the mechanics necessary to leverage page templates for your own, custom content.

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April 2010

ePublisher's XSLT runtime includes a secret weapon: Extension Methods. This mechanism enables ePublisher's XSLT runtime to perform all tasks necessary to produce a wide variety of output formats.

We will start with a basic ePublisher format and give users the grand tour of ePublisher's built-in extension methods, as documented in the WebWorks Wiki. The discussion will focus on the most common usage areas, such as:

  • Executing external scripts
  • Processing strings with regular expressions
  • Working with file names and URIs
  • Image processing
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March 2010

March marks the end of the quarter. That means a new release of ePublisher is coming soon. Join us to learn more about the first release in the ePublisher 2010 series, 2010.1, as well as see how to leverage our recently introduced PDF XSL-FO format. The 2010.1 release supports per target Style Designer settings. This capability enables you to do more with a single project design and single Stationery.

We will demonstrate how this the capability makes the PDF XSL-FO an attractive solution for users who require fine-grained control over generate PDF documents.

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February 2010

This month, our focus is on wiki based projects. We'll start by demonstrating how to create a new wiki project. Then, we'll work on an existing project together, learning the many ways ePublisher can solve problems in your environment.

Our project this month is brought to us courtesy of Cory Carpenter. Cory is migrating functionality he implemented in Publisher 2003 with the macro language over to ePublisher's XSLT runtime.

This session should be a lot of fun as we work together. Jesse Wiles, Senior Developer, will be joining us as well.

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October 2009

We're due for our post-RoundUp Power Hour session. We'll start off with a quick status update on ePublisher 2009.3 and then move on to talking about a few things we learned from customers at RoundUp 2009. Finally, Jesse Wiles, Senior Developer, will join us and show what he's been working on with ePublisher and Google Docs.

**Recording Not Available**
September 2009

We've got lots going on this September here at WebWorks.com. In addition to preparing for our RoundUp conference in October (www.webworksroundup.com), we have been working hard to deliver our ePublisher 2009.3 release. This month, Jesse Wiles, Senior Developer, will join us to give users an early look at ePublisher's enhanced PDF production capabilities. 2009.3's PDF solution enables users to leverage the full power of the ePublisher Style Designer when producing print deliverables. Also, Ben Allums, Director of Engineering, will talk about how the 2009.3 release provides a safe upgrade path for existing Designer (Pro) projects. This new upgrade enhancement ensures users can stay current with the latest ePublisher release without headaches.

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August 2009

Last month, we focused on ePublisher 2009.2. This month, we'll talk about what users can expect from ePublisher's unified PDF publishing solution, part of our 2009.3 and 2009.4 releases. In the "XSL Workshop" segment, we'll conduct an in depth review of ePublisher's extensible reporting system (Hopefully, this time we'll avoid the epidemic of power outages which hit us last month). Users will learn how ePublisher formats, combined with the power of XSL, can ensure quality and consistency in documentation deliverables.

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July 2009

This month's feature segment on the Power Hour focuses on our upcoming ePublisher 2009.2 release. We'll take a quick tour of 2009.2 and talk about ePublisher's new support for Atlassian's Confluence Wiki and Adobe's FrameMaker 9. In the "XSL Workshop" segment, we'll dive under the covers to learn about ePublisher's extensible reporting system. Creating custom reports can help you maintain quality in your documentation deliverables.

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June 2009

June's Power Hour is focused on two specialized areas of ePublisher knowledge. First, the session will take users on a tour of the WebWorks wikis, demonstrating how you can help improve the platform you trust. Next, the session will delve into the in and outs of DITA configuration with the ePublisher platform (time index 31:26). Attendees will see how ePublisher leverages the best of DITA with the best of ePublisher to deliver real solutions to your own user communities.

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May 2009

This month, we'll discuss WebWorks.com's approach to gathering user feedback through the wiki servers and methods for adding publication dates to generated projects.

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April 2009

In this month's Power Hour, the topic is "Working with Support". Lauren Lever will explain how our case system works and what you can do to help ensure issues are resolved quickly. We'll also have our regular installment of "Maintaining Customizations", featuring ePublisher customer Joan Thomas of IPC Systems, Inc.

Finally, don't forget the QA session. It's your chance to ask Engineering about our upcoming 2009.1 release or a special project.

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March 2009

We discussed numbered and bulleted lists and how ePub processes. Ben chimed in mid-way through about migrating from ePub 9.2 to 2008.3 with live customer docs.

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February 2009

The ePublisher Power Hour is a live webinar with the Director of Engineering Ben Allums. This will be a monthly webinar that will provide you with a wealth of information to customize and streamline your ePublisher processes. Ben will pick a new topic each month gathering information from our support queue, customer feedback and development. This is an hour not to miss!

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January 2009

In January, we addressed the issues of managing Upgrades and use of the WWHelp Optimizer (time index 43:27).

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November 2008

We discussed numbered and bulleted lists and how ePub processes. Ben chimed in mid-way through about migrating from ePub 9.2 to 2008.3 with live customer docs.