In this episode, a truly great and fun conversation with prolific and influential technical writer Tom Johnson. Tom joins us from Silicon Valley to talk about his interesting path to technical communication, failed Career Day booths, being a leader in techcomm, content management systems, DITA, static site generators, and much more.
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In the past two days, I’ve had two experiences at work that make me wonder if search has killed the table of contents (TOC). Continue reading Is the Table of Contents Dead Online?
I often get frustrated when people ask in technical communication forums and email lists what are the “current trends in help”. Why limit help to such a small, self-enclosed space, when we have an incredible wealth of knowledge that is current and also contains what users want: the Web.
There’s really no reason that help has to look like traditional “help”, and not like a web site, especially since framesets, the “technology” that creates the tri-pane TOC/content/navigation most help authors are familiar with, went out of style in, oh, 1999. MadCap is finally taking the lead here with frameset-less output, though I suspect Adobe’s RoboHelp isn’t far behind.
Continue reading Leveraging jQuery scripts and CSS3 in your Online Help #techcomm
This story is for intermediate to advanced help developers. It requires knowledge of HTML, CSS, and a help authoring tool such as MadCap Flare or Adobe Robohelp.
Have you ever been bored using Georgia, Tahoma, Verdana, and (sigh…) Arial over and over in your help projects? The font-face property has been available for some time in Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), but browser and font foundry support are only now allowing use of fonts other than those that ship with operating systems and applications, without workarounds like sIFR and cufon.
New technologies have sprouted up, with Google creating its own font API, and Adobe announcing font support through TypeKit. However, you can also save and host freely available font files on your company’s web server, or install on your users’ PCs, and use these fonts in your WebHelp projects. The web site Font Squirrel creates the CSS for you, using only free, embeddable fonts.
There are thousands of free fonts out there, but not all font creators support font embedding, so be sure to read any license agreement before using them in your projects.
MadCap’s Flare help authoring tool (HAT) uses CSS to style its WebHelp, so you can easily embed fonts into your help. This should work similarly in Adobe Robohelp. Continue reading How to Embed Fonts in MadCap Flare WebHelp