Posts by Joakim Ström

About the author

Joakim Ström

CTO

With over 15 years dedicated to software development, Joakim expertly drives internal improvements and often hands-on innovation here at Excosoft.

Perfecting the Review Process: Chefs, Tech Writers, and Questions from the Test Kitchen

By Joakim Ström

Many years ago, I heard my colleague (and founder of Excosoft) Jan Christian Herlitz say that reusable content is like food. Each reusable component is an ingredient in the kitchen, and with a recipe we can combine ingredients into a dish—a complete document.

Read More
Skribenta User Experience

Looking Back on 2016

By Joakim Ström

Our year of resolve, adventure, and innovation  

Read More
excosoft 2016

Managing Variation in Reused Content with Configuration and Automation

By Joakim Ström

It’s time to wrap up this series on Managing Variation in Reused Content. We have investigated some basic techniques in part 1 and part 2. In part 3,  I made the case that heavily customized documentation is often best handled in separate version branches. Before concluding, let’s take a quick look at two advanced topics: configuration, and automation.

Read More
Excosoft Information Design Skribenta

Managing Variation in Reused Content with Version Control

By Joakim Ström

In part 1 and part 2 of the Managing Variation in Reused Content series, we covered two basic techniques: Injection, and Conditions.  Injection is a method where values, or small pieces of text— often names or measurements— are extracted from topics, and stored as variables. When the topics are to be published, the values are loaded from the appropriate variables and injected into the correct place in the text. Conditions function as filters, sifting through parts of a topic, and adapting it to a given context. 

Read More
Excosoft Information Design Skribenta Tech Writer Tips

Managing Variation in Reused Content with Conditions

By Joakim Ström

In part 1 of the Managing Variation in Reused Content series we investigated the basic technique of Injection, in which interchangeable names are extracted from topics and stored as variables, which are then injected back into a given topic when it is published. Injection is extremely effective in some situations, but many content variations are more complex and require a different approach. A more versatile technique is the use of conditions.

Read More
Excosoft Information Design Skribenta

Managing Variation in Reused Content with Injection

By Joakim Ström

For technical communicators, the concept of reusing content is easy to understand. Chunk the content up into smaller, self-sufficient units that can be used independently of context, then combine the units as needed to assemble different documents. This is the fundamental idea behind topic-based authoring. One question that often comes up is, how small or large should the chunks be? This can be approached from two different angles: by considering either what is relevant for the reader, or what is practical for the writer. Ideally we should only consider the needs of the reader, but is that really possible? It depends upon the answer to another question: how is variation managed in reused content?

Read More
Excosoft Information Design Skribenta

Turning the Tables: Putting Technical Communicators in the Driver's Seat

By Joakim Ström

The role of technical communicators may be about to change. Corporations are increasingly making use of the knowledge production capabilities built up within their technical documentation teams to drive business processes, and create value beyond the documentation itself.

Read More
Excosoft Information Design Skribenta User Experience

Raising the Standards for Simplified XML Editing

By Joakim Ström

What would happen to Microsoft Word if its users were required to not only make sense of the complicated XML1 markup which is used to store files in the docx format, but also to put up with error messages proclaiming things like “myprojectplan.docx:67:20:E: document type does not allow element ‘p’ here?” The program would probably be a lot less popular to say the least, and most people would seek alternatives. Yet, technical communicators using XML-based editing tools are expected to put up with that sort of thing all the time— all in the interest of a higher purpose, such as quality improvement and slashed translation costs. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

Read More
Excosoft Information Design Info Tech Trends