At the morning's keynote Tom Standage of The Economist gave us an insightful and historical perspective on social media. This took in the Romans and their scribes (photo below and video), Martin Luther and English Civil War and America's fight for independence. There's a book to follow. Given the emphasis on ethnography and anthropology in successful informatics - IT we should always be open to the lessons of history, but not constrained by it.
(Videos are appearing online now). My session pick started with Multilingual Drupal Solutions: Use Cases and Modules. This isn't the first session on this topic I've attended, but it was a helpful update - especially the use cases and modules. After dinner Jeff Noyes is clearly clued in on Creating and Measuring the User Experience. This is a must do, with a real potential dividend, but for hobbyists like me it was encouraging to hear Jeff describe a range of resources that included DIY testing.
Early on Jeff noted the benefit of having a project charter - so last evening I started one. Basically, what are my projects aims. Actually a things other things emerged from doing this.
I slipped up with node.js and Drupal, great stuff I'm sure but rather beyond me in terms of need and understanding. The principles were a good take home. For the final session the meeting on theming was packed out, so I headed to a BoF pivotal for the Drupal documentation team:
Doing Multiformat publishing & single source content with DITA in Drupal - status and roadmap
It's been a bit more than a year now that we started working on a DITA module for Drupal. In this session we'll review the current status, talk about the good & the bad and look forward to what we are going to be doing in Drupal 7.My new site requires new data items and on Tuesday after Entities - Emerging Patterns of Usage this was given as a key use case for entities. Of course 'entities' have been around ages in RDBSes (1969), but in Drupal they have a specific status now (a dialogue that also seems to bring in nodes, fields and taxonomy). The DITA BoF proved very relevant to me and h2cm as a health and social care -
DITA (Darwin Information Type Architecture) is an Oasis XML standard started at IBM that has become a major standard in enterprise technical communication. It's used in industries with modular products to publish documentation in a range of formats in minutes in stead of days while saving up to 60% of translation costs.
- learning experience;
- application (!)
Drupal's documentation is a recognised mess, hence the investment in DITA and seeking a solution. Back in Szeged 2008 I remember sitting down on that final code sprint day. I had it in mind to read some stuff and try and contribute. I do have an eye for docs. Well, I've been Editor here since April 2006. Previously (1995 - 2007) I read through and reviewed data definitions and information standards (and not just proof reading). In 2008 though I couldn't focus (really as I found out a year later). Maybe it wasn't just me! One thing: the next monitor I purchase will be optimised for text and portrait, or is that old hat these days?
With RDF, translation, and modules like Features, Panels, Entities, DITA, Organic Groups, Context ... there are so many lucky dice to play; but there is no single roll that proves a winner: there are several!
My photo: c/o the keynote speaker Tom Standage who stated the image has not been altered in what it represents.