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Upcoming Events



CIDM Online Conference
July 29, 2015


Best Practices 2015
September 21-23, 2015
St. Petersburg, Florida


CMS/DITA Europe 2015
November 16-17, 2015
Munich, Germany

Past Events


April 20-22, 2015
Chicago, Illinois


DITA Getting Started
July 21-22, 2015, Wakefield, MA

Optimizing the DITA Authoring Experience
July 23-24, 2015, Wakefield, MA

Advanced Publishing for DITA
August 3-7, 2015, San Jose, CA

Content Management Strategies
August 18-19, 2015, San Jose, CA

Content Management Strategies
September 10-11, 2015, Philadelphia, PA

Information Modeling for Topic-Based Authoring
October 12-13, 2015, Indianapolis, IN


DITA is Not Just for Software: How and Why DITA Has Spread to Other Industry Sectors
June 25, 2015, 12pm EDT

Beyond conditional processing: Practical reuse strategies for every situation
July 1, 2015, 12pm EDT

DITA Glass: Perceive everything as DITA
September 16, 2015 12pm EDT

Contact Us

Workshops Offered

JoAnn Hackos Workshop Series

Advanced Publishing for DITA
This workshop will provide attendees with a hands-on walk-through of the essential DITA fundamentals, programming skills, and DITA Open Toolkit configurations required to assemble, style, and publish DITA XML source. After a brief overview of the DITA framework, course lectures and exercises will focus on the key pieces of a DITA publishing architecture, how to set it up, and how to optimize its publishing capabilities using customizations and plug-ins. You will learn to set up a publishing architecture using the DITA-OT pipeline and learn how to configure and debug the DITA-OT. You will learn also about key features of the new specification as they relate to publishing, including keyref, conref push, constraints, and subject scheme maps.

Building Reusable Learning Objects in DITA
With the release of the learning and training specialization in DITA 1.2, training organizations now have a viable standard that takes into account their unique needs while allowing them to capitalize on the efficiencies of reuse and single-sourcing. This workshop provides an overview of the DITA architecture and how it can be applied in the production of training materials. Participants learn the basic skills for creating DITA topics and maps and then build on these skills to create specialized learning and training topics, including overviews, summaries, training plans, and assessments. Within these topics and maps, participants also learn to specify metadata focused on the learning and training industry. Finally, participants explore their processing options to create both student and instructor materials as print or electronic deliverables from the same files.

Developing a Content-Management Strategy
This workshop teaches a phased methodology for successfully adopting and transitioning to content management. In the workshop, attendees will learn the details of each phase and analyze their own department or organization-specific requirements, using those requirements to plan and execute a successful transition.

Developing Quality Documentation in an Agile Environment
This workshop focuses on the Scrum Agile methodology and how documentation departments can adjust to this high-speed development environment. You will come away with a firm understanding of the Scrum process and how documentation can effectively engage in the process for both engineering and documentation-centric projects. This workshop is exercise-intensive using complex but easy-to-understand examples to map out documentation planning and implementation within the Scrum process. If you have a documentation team transitioning to Scrum, we recommend coming to the workshop as a group.

DITA Boot Camp
The DITA Boot Camp covers the concepts needed to move to DITA successfully. The Boot Camp takes you from the DITA Basics to the skills you'll need to create a specific Information Model for your organization and your content. In this workshop, you learn about structured writing, information modeling, minimalism, business-process change, and DITA authoring, publishing, and implementation. Learn the structures of the core DITA specialized information types: task, concept, and reference. The Boot Camp requires that you bring a laptop computer and sample documents to complete exercises. Be prepared to learn to use an XML editor to author topics.

DITA: Getting Started
This workshop is designed as an introduction to Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA). DITA is an information architecture that presents a powerful solution for information developers. It is meant for those who need to implement structured documentation, including writers, editors, information architects, and their managers. During the workshop you will learn to design and create information using a topic/task-based structured-writing approach. You will also learn how to use XML markup with DITA elements and the importance of the DITA elements to information development.

Information Modeling for Topic-based Authoring
This workshop is the very best starting point for your implementation of DITA and XML topic-based authoring. We will cover all aspects of the Information Model, which is the set of principles that define your information architecture. Learn how to build an Information Model for your organization. Learn how to define your information types, the content units they contain, your standard document structures, as well as your metadata schema, file and graphic naming conventions, and folder structure. You will have an opportunity to apply the principles to your own content. You will analyze your organization's potential for content reuse and begin to define a reuse strategy.

Minimalism: Creating Information People Really Need
Minimalism is the first step to creating user friendly content that is fully structured. It is designed for anyone faced with manuals that users complain are too big and too detailed—or that aren't used at all. Be prepared to work on your own content during several hands-on activities. Use the four principles of minimalism to review your content and come away from the workshop with plans to create a new minimalist document. Learn how to reduce the quantity of documentation you produce by focusing on the needs of the users, eliminating unnecessary verbiage, and aligning your documentation strategy with your company's market position. This workshop is meant to promote team collaboration and consistency throughout the information-development life cycle.

Structured Authoring for DITA
To implement topic-based authoring for information development and publishing, organizations must structure the content they produce into discrete, standalone topics. Well-structured topics lead to more opportunities for reuse across products, user communities, delivery media, and other dimensions. More reuse leads to a greater return on investment, as well as the ability to deliver dynamic content to your information customers. In this workshop, participants are introduced to topic-based writing using DITA. They learn the importance of planning and structuring content and how to write content without knowing the context in which it will be presented. Using their own content during hands-on exercises, they learn to write information in a consistent manner to maximize reuse potential.

User and Task Analysis for Information Design
User and Task Analysis workshop provides the basis for linking customers and goals with technical content. In this two-day workshop, you learn to analyze your users and their goals, develop task lists, and link user tasks to the conceptual, background, and reference content users need. You learn to organize user tasks and supporting content into an Annotated Topic List (ATL). You then use your ATL to produce a topic-based architecture for your modular content. Apply the results of this workshop directly to your current projects. If you are moving to topic-based authoring and modular content, this workshop moves you many steps ahead in your planning process.

Web and Mobile Strategies for DITA
As DITA comes to full maturity, organizations seek publishing solutions that are more robust than PDFs and static HTML. They seek robust solutions that deliver interactive content to the web, mobile devices, and e-readers. In this workshop, Comtech instructors present the principles of Webhelp and Mobile deliverables: plugin development, standards for delivering content like jQuery, HTML 5, and CSS 3, methods to measure electronic delivery success, content access, design for tasked-based content, and implementation strategies.

For more information on workshops offered by Comtech Services, please visit the web site at www.comtech-serv.com.

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Strategic Planning
JoAnn Hackos

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