“Learning Author-it” Is Here!

Way back in 2002, I started working on training materials for Author-it. This year, I pulled together a book based on those training materials, and it’s now available.

From the XML Press website:

Let Author-it guru Char James-Tanny teach you how to get the most from Author-it. Char has taught hundreds in her acclaimed classes, and now she has drawn from her extensive experience to create the definitive resource for learning Author-it. Whether you are new to Author-it or an experienced user, there is something here for you.

If you are just starting out with Author-it, Learning Author-it will make the sometimes daunting learning curve for Author-it smoother and easier. You will learn how libraries work, how to wrap your head around Author-it’s object-oriented structure, how to work with your content, and how to publish your output.

If you are an experienced Author-it user, get a refresher from someone who uses Author-it like a technical writer. Char provides dozens of tips, helpful screenshots, and more than 150 tasks to help increase your efficiency (and lessen any frustration). And you’ll find lots of tips and tricks that will improve your productivity.

Char wrote and published Learning Author-it entirely with Author-it beta version 5.5, except for the front and back covers.

You can purchase the book at:

Using the Mark of the Web (MOTW)

If you develop websites and you add even the littlest bit of JavaScript (like the “framebuster” script I used to add to my sites), you get a warning message when you preview the site in Internet Explorer because of Active Content. I thought the only option for disabling this message was to modify my security settings (which I’m very hesitant to do, given some of the files that I receive). However, Microsoft has provided a way to disable this message for those pages that you know are safe.

Called Mark of the Web (MOTW), it’s a comment added to the <head> section that indicates what website the content belongs to. The MOTW must follow a specific format, including the number of characters in the string. For example:

<!-- saved from url=(0025)http://www.helpstuff.com/ -->

The MOTW must start with the comment code and text “saved from url=“. The numbers in parentheses must match the number of characters in the URL string (including the trailing backslash).

If this is for a new site, or if the domain is not known, you can use about:internet as a valid URL. For example:

<!-- saved from url=(0014)about:internet -->

I’m slowly adding MOTW to the sites I develop…it will take awhile, but because it only helps me in development, there’s no rush.

For more information on MOTW, visit MSDN.

Don Lammers from Shadow Mountain has informed me that MOTW, when used locally, will prevent links to a PDF from opening, and users don’t receive any warning as to why the links aren’t working. If you have to create links to PDF files, you won’t be able to use MOTW. This only affects those folks developing local HTML-based Help.

LavaCon presentation: Getting the Most Out of Twitter…Everywhere!

On Friday, 1 October 2010, I presented “Getting the Most Out of Twitter…Everywhere!” at the 2010 LavaCon Conference in San Diego.

You can view the slides of that presentation at SlideShare. (I was hoping that my animations would be preserved…maybe someday :-).)

Jackie Damrau from STC Lone Star Chapter reviewed my session (along with several others and LavaCon) in the October 2010 issue of Technically Write.

Nov 8-12: Take advantage of Char’s visit to Houston!

I’ll be speaking at STC Houston about HTML5 and CSS3 on Tuesday, Nov. 9, from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. (Get more information at the STC Houston website.)

While I’m in Houston, I’m offering half- and full-day consulting slots to companies who want me to come onsite. The time slots are being offered in the following order:

  • Tuesday morning (half-day only)
  • Monday afternoon or Monday all day
  • Monday morning
  • Wednesday morning or Wednesday all day
  • Wednesday afternoon
  • Thursday morning or Thursday all day
  • Thursday afternoon
  • Friday morning or Friday all day
  • Friday afternoon

Terms and conditions:

  • Any topic is fair game, EXCEPT for HTML5/CSS3. Some possibilities include collaborative authoring, creating CSS-based layouts, virtual teams, accessibility, and Help authoring.
  • Companies can choose to “pick my brain” or receive specific instructions on a topic, or a combination of both.
  • Fees will be determined after we discuss what you need. I will cover all expenses (although I won’t say “no” if someone wants to take me to lunch ;-)).
  • A 50% non-refundable deposit is required, which holds your time slot. All deposits must be received by 15 October 2010. Purchase orders for the deposit or entire fee will be accepted.
  • First come, first served. Once a time slot has been reserved and the deposit or purchase order has been received, it will be removed from the list. (I’ll update the list as people tell me that they want slots.)
  • All arrangements must be in process by 28 September 2010. (I have to make travel arrangements that week!) If you make any changes after that date and those changes affect my travel plans, you are responsible for change fees.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions! (And I hope to see you at the STC Houston chapter meeting. Come by and say “hi!”)