Your technical writers are your first and best usability testers. In effect, they are the “canary in the coal mine”. If you let them, they’ll give you some of the best feedback you’ll ever get. And if you engage them early enough in the development process, they will give you great design suggestions, as well.
What usability means in a software system, and how to design your system to be intuitive.
Useful snippets of Ruby code.
Ruby is designed for language construction. But the language you create isn’t limited to the features you think to build in. Instead, any language you build is an extension of Ruby — so all of Ruby remains at your disposal. Much of Ruby’s power comes from its totally dynamic nature. It’s expressiveness comes from its convenient syntax for the kind of code you generally need to write. As with any powerful tool, there are risks and complexities. But those issues can be managed. When you do, Ruby’s value proposition is undeniable.
A Guide for the Practicing Programmer
If you’re not already coding in Ruby, you may wonder how to get started — especially when it comes to the more “interesting” language features like closures and evaluations. This article provides some tips for ramping up, along with links to Amazon books. (If you’re not sure whether Ruby is the language for you, read
Many organizations are bogged down in tedious, repetitive tasks — especially when it comes to documentation. The solution is to automate! Automation improves efficiency, saves time, eliminates redundant operations, and reduces costly errors. Any time your people are thinking, “there must be a better way,” there probably is!
RuDi stands for Ruby-based Utilities for DITA processing. The idea is create a build system for DITA projects that is easy to use, and the same time very powerful — something that is accomplished by using the Ruby language and Ruby-based tools. (The project was originally hosted at
Kenai. Until it finds a new home the project code is contained in the RuDi zip file.)
Figuring out which components you need and accessing the documents that describe them is a big issue for any reasonably complex system. Providing an end-user with the ability to do that is a huge part of “usability” in documentation. One of DITA’s most important advantages is the ability to define specialized document structures. That capability can be used to define a Decision Guide document type.