by kvantomme / 14 April, 2011

Last week I attended Content Management Strategies/DITA N-America, afaik the leading conference in the DITA community. The conference with 300 participants reminded me a lot of my first Drupalcon in Brussels, there are some obvious differences (e.g. most attendees are not programmers but technical writers, the food was as good as the food we got on the Drupal Gov Days) but if you look closer you'll see that the DITA community has a sharing culture much like our own. On Tuesday I attended an informal meetup where we could ask questions to the members of the DITA Oasis committee in which it was brought up that we need to get more people involved in the development of the DITA Open Toolkit. I suggested to organize a code sprint and it seems that already now some of the practices in our... Read more

by kvantomme / 9 February, 2011

This is a presentation that I gave at the Drupal Developer Days, on 6 February 2011. It's meant as an introduction to single sourcing. It contains the results of the documentation questionnaire we ran. What would the ideal documentation system for a community driven project like Drupal look like? From the outside Drupal is perceived as a well documented project, and several people choose to work with Drupal because of this. On the inside however, a lot of people complain about the documentation. What's the reason and the meaning of these differences in perception? In this session I want to present the results of a survey that I'll do in preparation for Drupal Dev Days to investigate the general level of satisfaction with the Drupal documentation system and the main areas where people... Read more

by kvantomme / 28 November, 2010

This is a crosspost of the wiki I create at In February LeeHunter posted his wish list of features for "an awesome technical communication CMS". I've copied his list and processed the comments in the discussion and some of my own, and added our current status implementing these features and ideas of how any missing features could be implemented in the near future. I'm very much aware that in the coming months most documentation efforts will probably go into getting the documentation updated for Drupal 7, and it's strategically a bad idea to at the same time change from a freeform format to a structured documentation format, rebuild the infrastructure and do a mayor content update. Nothing prevents us however from dreaming up the ideal infrastructure... Read more

by kvantomme / 25 August, 2010

If we want to make it as easy as possible to edit the DITA documentation we need to make it easier and as fool proof as possible. We previously implemented a WYSIWYG editor for RDFa in Drupal, which basically made it possible to add custom tags around selected text. The classic WYSIWYG editor however had a couple of downsides when used for this purpose:

Limited set of markup that starts being unaccessible once there are more than 10 properties Intuitiveness of what is where in the RDFa subject predicate object model Difficulty to recognize the parent entity to which a property is being added Validation issues

We can make the WYSIWYG editor smarter so that it only let's you add valid markup and we can add a display that gives meta information about where you are in... Read more

by kvantomme / 19 August, 2010

The following is a part of a first proposal for the specification of the Documentation system we want to build as part of the modulecraft project. It is by no means complete, and it strongly needs your feedback. This is our first encounter with DITA and our ideas should really be proof checked by technical writers that have extensive experience using DITA. The actual specification is being built as a wiki at comments can be added here or you can edit the wiki directly any feedback will be incorporated into the wiki.


Several people from the community have indicated DITA as the ideal architecture for a new redesigned Drupal documentation. Darwin Information Type Architecture is an open XML standard curated by the Oasis consortium that was originally... Read more

by kvantomme / 1 August, 2010

Tonight a tweet from Laura Scott lead me to a blogpost by Zack Rosen at Semantic Focus. From the first sentence it seemed a bit odd, it's been more than 12 years since Tim Berners-Lee started working on the Semantic Web and most if not all of the points that followed seemed outdated. Only at the end of the article in the comments it then turned out that this was actually an article from 2006 (later a notice was added). Anyway, the article made me think about all the ways that Drupal is making the Semantic Web so much more attainable today.

Most important of all perhaps is that Drupal is going to make a big dent into the RDF chicken and egg problem: Drupal 7 will come by default with RDFa marked-up output. For most people that start building a new site with Drupal 7, the improved... Read more
by kvantomme / 19 February, 2010

We've blogged before about the Knowledge management feature package that Pronovix developed for Open Atrium. To make it really easy for you to test out the features, we made a tarball that contains an installation profile that by default will enable all the knowledge management goodness:

Mindmaps a.k.a. Graphmind, a mindmap module for Drupal that allows you to upload mindmaps to your Drupal site and even use data from your site to build mindmaps. Semantic editor: makes it possible to mark up snippets in a text using a WYSIWYG editor with RDFa markup. Semantic layers/filters: these 2 technologies together allow you to add CSS classes to RDFa marked up text and then change the way these are displayed. This could be used to let users choose the type of information they would be... Read more
by kvantomme / 25 November, 2009

Ever since Open Atrium went public we've been working on integrating our knowledge management features into it. Yesterday we cleared the final hurdle to get our stack into beta. In this screencast you'll see the following features/modules in action:

Knowledge trail Semantic WYSIYWYG editor Semantic filters/layers Faceted insert Graphmind

In the next months we want to wrap our features into a new distribution. Obviously this all still needs some clean up and it'll take us still a bit of time to finish the package. Somewhere early 2010 we'll start providing a hosted version of the distribution to make it's functionality accessible for people that want hassle free functionality upgrades or that don't have the knowledge/time to do security updates. We are not yet sure if we'll be... Read more

by kvantomme / 10 July, 2009

Imagine: you are doing a project for a customer who doesn't know Drupal. Even before she contacted you, she made a bunch of wireframes and detailed specifications. That's a dream case right? Just one problem, all the user interfaces and features are just a little bit different from the way things are done in Drupal. This is one of the problems we want to address with Spezzle.

Spezzle is a planning tool that helps you and your customers make Drupal site specifications that will require minimal custom coding. The platform is intended to become a library of use cases and feature descriptions for Drupal sites that can be used also by people with little Drupal knowledge to compose a complete site description. But this site feature description is just the start, in the background a... Read more

by kvantomme / 24 February, 2009

If you ever wrote a specification, you've come across the following problem: Once you finally built your spec you need to cut it into feature-tickets, spec units that you can properly follow in your project management system. This basically duplicates your information, in a fluent text and a ticket version. It's a lot of extra work and worst of all it disconnects your specification from your project management system. In most cases this means that from that point on, the written document is dead: the fluid text version will never be rewritten. A recipe for a communication disaster. Today during an R&D meetup with the colleagues, I realized that it's possible to solve this problem with RDFa mark-up. Most specifications have a content hierarchy with hierarchically grouped features (... Read more