Commercial and volunteer projects
Since I started my company in 1994, I have served customers in many different business domains. From consulting to writing manuals, from teaching programming skills to presenting about presentation skills, from Norway to Japan to South-Africa to Brazil.
Apart from serving customers, I have also devoted my time and ideas on a number of volunteer organizations for technical communication, for which I have organized conferences and designed websites, as well as serve on the board. I am a member of a number of committees involved in developing the DITA standard and getting it adopted by the industry. Apart from these more or less organized efforts, I am trying to get some of my own projects realized.
Some of my past, current and future projects, both commercial and not-for-profit, are briefly described below. If you want to hear more about a particular project, contact Jang.
Course development and delivery
In the first decade of my professional career, I have developed training materials for parallel programming and for several parallel processing applications. I have delivered these courses to customers all over Europe, the Americas, South Africa, the Middle East and the Far East.
My course materials have always been very illustrative and effective. My main goal in training has always been to make absolutely sure that a technical concept has become crystal-clear in the minds of my students. This is also true for the many presentations I have delivered at conferences around the world. The average customer rating of my training materials and delivery over the past 20+ years is 9 on a scale of 10.
Dynamic, effective websites
Websites of many volunteer organizations are horribly outdated, because the webmaster is a volunteer who has limited time and energy available to keep the website up to date. Crowd-driven websites quickly become a styling disaster as nobody sticks to the rules and spammers take over as soon as the site goes public.
I created an ASP-XML driven website for an STC chapter which addressed all the above issues effectively. While input for the site could easily be entered via an HTML form, the entered data was automatically checked for completeness and correctness, stripped of any illegal formatting or code snippets, before it became visible in the right categories and pages of the website. But not before a validator had received an e-mail with a link to the new content, opened the preview and ticked a checkbox to allow the material to be published. For news items and job openings, the info disappeared automatically after the expiration date. Effectively, there was no webmaster and the site thrived and won an STC award.
Custom content management system
Commercial content management systems are pretty expensive, and often contain many features that a particular customer does not really need. My customers typically have small documentation teams or even a single person responsible for all documentation. With this small scale comes the small budget, which does not allow the purchase of a luxurious CMS or the time budget to get an open source CMS integrated with their documentation production environment.
For a couple of customers, I have succesfully created a DITA-inspired custom CMS, which allows the authors to work in the FrameMaker editor they already know, while easing them into the world of structured authoring and reuse. Using standard available plug-ins and scripting, I hide all the technical details and minimize the hassle of reuse. Each custom CMS has its own particular characteristics, as each customer has their own particular documentation process.
This approach has effectively brought the production time of new product documentation down dramatically, without the high money or time investment of a luxurious or open source CMS and without disrupting the documentation production processes that are already in place - at least not disrupting them more than is absolutely necessary to reach an effective solution for documentation component reuse.