Adobe DITAWORLD 2019 – Day 2 Summary by Danielle M. Villegas

by Danielle M. Villegas

Posted on 10-11-2019

Danielle M. Villegas reporting here on the activities of DITAWORLD 2019, Day 2! After the familiar DITAWORLD theme music played, we started the day! Like yesterday, Stefan Gentz, Adobe’s Senior Worldwide Evangelist, and Matt Sullivan, CEO of TechCommTools kicked off and moderated through the day.

In this post

  1. [Welcome Note] Kumar (Adobe): Changing the World through Digital Experiences
  2. [Keynote] Loni Stark (Adobe): From Marketing Digitalization to Fluid Experiences
  3. Dybdahl (Adobe): This is not a review. This is an experience.
  4. Aima, P (Mitel): Adobe FrameMaker Publishing Server as a Publishing Engine for DITA Content
  5. Cacciacarro (BlackBerry): From Opportunity comes Innovation
  6. Murfitt, Harrison (mekon): From Vision to Success
  7. Tiwari (Palo Alto Networks): Operationalize your move to DITA with Adobe FrameMaker and Adobe Experience Manager
  8. Swallow (Scriptorium): Simplify your rebranding efforts with DITA

Welcome Address

Changing the World through Digital Experiences

Adobe DITAWORLD 2019 | Vivkek Kumar, Adobe | Intelligent information for an intelligent world

Vivek Kumar, Director of Products at Adobe, kicked off the day with a quick introduction for the day, starting with this quote from Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe: “People buy experiences, not products.”

Content is integral to the customer experience—can’t separate it from products. If customers do not have an excellent post-sales experience, they’re likely not coming back. That’s where content makes a difference.

What makes the content experience great? Content should be searchable, consumable, socially enabled, relevant, personalized, and consistent.

What helps organizations create and deliver great content experiences? Several of the talks today (see summaries below) will be sharing the methods they used to make these happen for their companies and clients.

Keynote: From Marking Digitalization to Fluid Experiences

Why understanding your content’s future is the key to success

Adobe DITAWORLD 2019 | Loni Stark, Adobe | From Marketing Digitalization to Fluid Experiences

Loni Stark, Senior Director, Strategy & Product Marketing at Adobe delivered the keynote on Day 2 of Adobe DITAWORLD 2019. The latest digital experience trends show that digital experience consumption is increasing. The bar for more personalized experiences is rising quickly, and people are all over the place are putting more emphasis on the customer journey.

Case in point: in a recent study, half of all Americans use two devices at the same time constantly or frequently, and they used these devices more than eight hours every day!

The decision-making process is now a circular journey—active evaluation, or the process of researching potential purchases; closure, when consumers buy brands, and post-purchase, when consumers experience them.

The critical points for mastering the digital experience across the customer journey involve reach, which is the ability to deliver a message in the most optimal fashion possible, and engagement, which is anticipating the next best response or experience.

Reach means reaching all senses. Visual (text, image, video, VR/AR) and audio (voice) senses, but what about touch and smell? It’s all about inherently interactive content and the adaptation of content to its device or environment. Fluid experiences enable omnichannel delivery at scale, with new ways to store, manage, and measure content and how it could behave. Structured content could be created, managed, and delivered to any channel as a store locator, a Q&A/FAQs page, or, e.g. a contact info list. The trick is making it channel-agnostic information.

Immersive content is becoming more predominant. VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) are emerging rapidly. Audio/Chat is growing at a faster rate than mobile adoption! Embedded interactions are becoming more commonplace.

Engagement is about the first and next best response/experience and repeating that process. To do this, we can:

Loni quoted Thomas Edison by saying, “Vision without execution is hallucination.”

How do we continually drive personalized experiences? It’s about optimizing the content journey and including AI and automation as part of the performance to improve the experience.

This is not a review. This is an experience.

Making collaborative review easier for Subject Matter Experts (and you!) with XML Documentation for Adobe Experience Manager

Adobe DITAWORLD 2019 | Chad Dybdahl, Adobe | This is not a review. This is an experience.

Chad Dybdahl, Solutions Consultant at Adobe, started things on a great note! He started his talk with the following recommendation when it comes to collaborative review: Put away your red pens!

He then backtracked a little bit and said that some manual processes are good. Reading a physical book can still be something enjoyable sometimes, and some get value out of it. Handwritten notes or letters are something else from which we can derive value. Listening to music on vinyl also is a manual thing that has value. Modern alternatives are good, but not always better.

Some processes that are not as good include handwritten edits received from SMEs (Subject Matter Experts), manually incorporated edits, hard copy prints, edits put in the technical editor’s physical inbox on their desk, receiving handwritten edits from a technical editor, and the cycle that continually ensues in this manner.

When you hear, “We’ve always done it this way,” with this process, the problems that glare at us include no visibility into the process, significant manual effort, opportunities for errors, a process that is paper-intensive, and involves physical storage.

For a more modern twist on the same thing would be authoring in Word, emailing documents in review, dozens of reviewers/copies, and changes manually made in the source. It might seem a little better than a red pen and a hard copy, but it has its problems. This modern version is chaotic and uncontrolled, where reviewers can’t see each other’s comments; there are still opportunities for errors, and you’re using Word.

However, DITA alone is not the answer.

It’s about the money—ROI (return on investment) that comes from eliminating barriers for better content overall. These barriers include:

This also includes things that are harder to quantify, such as:

But, if we think about one more process in which writers are authoring in DITA, use “Review PDF” from DITA Open Toolkit, email the output to reviewers where feedback comes back as PDF comments if you’re lucky, and then you can make changes manually in the source—it’s a little bit smoother!

But can’t you just send me a Word doc? (Just say no!) Using Word is still chaotic. Reviewers want context, and they can’t do that if they can’t see each other’s comments, there are opportunities for errors again, manual incorporation of changes, and little to no traceability.

Collaboration is king! Chad gave a demo in XML Documentation for Adobe Experience Manager to show how collaboration works in this CCMS. You can create reviewing tasks and even have reviews going in parallel. And you also include reviewers outside the Adobe Experience Manager platform.

Adobe FrameMaker Publishing Server as a Publishing Engine for DITA Content

How Adobe FrameMaker helped Mitel to customize DITA Output Templates in a Day and automate publishing with Adobe FrameMaker Publishing Server

Adobe DITAWORLD 2019 | Chander Aima (Mitel), Ramabhadran P (Mitel) | Adobe FrameMaker Publishing Server as a Publishing Engine for DITA Content

Mitel is a global leader in business communications and collaboration. Chander Aima, Sr. Manager Technical Publications at Mitel, and Ramabhadran P, Documentation Manager at Mitel, were Mitel’s representatives at DITAWORLD 2019. The Technical Documentation team at Mitel began their journey to XML Documentation for Adobe Experience Manager last year, and they needed a central repository for DITA Content. They chose to migrate their legacy content to DITA and Adobe Experience Manager. Their next challenge was to customize DITA Outputs.

In the DITA Open Toolkit workflow, they transformed their content from DITA to XHTML/HTML5 with XSLT. This process was time-intensive and needed developers and XSLT and CSS development. In their new workflow, they are using Adobe FrameMaker and Adobe FrameMaker Publishing Server to author, render and publish DITA. Now they can design the templates in an intuitive, visual WYSIWYG environment.

Adobe FrameMaker Publishing Server (2019 release) Support was optimal, as it provided DITA DTDs, a WYSIWYG authoring environment, structured authoring templates for DITA, publishing setting output for DITA, but also several different customizations.

Their PDF Output Customization process was the following:

  1. Open the ditamap in Adobe FrameMaker.
  2. From the File menu, choose Publish.
  3. Create a new STS file.
  4. In Outputs, click PDF.
  5. Click the DITA Options tab.
  6. Select the Save PDF via Book with Components Route checkbox.

From there, you can customize the templates, then import the templates back to the STS file, click save and close.

You can also use STS files to store all your HTML5 settings. HTML5 Output Customizations are done at the screen layout level and content pane level. The method steps are:

  1. Open the ditamap.
  2. From the File menu, choose Publish.
  3. Click Edit.
  4. Click Responsive HTML5.
  5. Edit Manage Layout.
  6. Select the override styles for the output checkbox.
  7. Import your customized CSS file.

Mitel also offered the following resources that can help with troubleshooting issues:

They also did a short demonstration of Adobe FrameMaker Publishing Server so people could see how it integrates with Adobe Experience Manager as well.

From Opportunity comes Innovation

How XML Documentation for Adobe Experience Manager gives BlackBerry the power to innovate

Adobe DITAWORLD 2019 | Marco Cacciacarro, BlackBerry | From Opportunity comes Innovation

Marco Cacciacarro, Senior Technical Writer at BlackBerry, delivered a presentation this year as a sequel to a talk that Marco gave last year at DITAWORLD 2018. He followed-up on activities that BlackBerry had done since launching with Adobe Experience Manager. You can find the results of the work done at, which is where the documents for all BlackBerry software resides.

The main challenge BlackBerry faced was that they had a long CMS history. During a period of significant transition, CMS and web support structure crumbled, documentation got stuck in status, so the solution was to get a new CMS.

Why was Adobe Experience Manager the solution? It’s a fully-featured CMS that plugs into a complete web platform. It met or improved on their feature requirements, eliminated the web “middle-man,” provided a browser-based DITA management and authoring platform, has built-in map and topic authoring tools, is fully integrated with the web front-end, and gave them complete control over the full content creation process.

BlackBerry was on their own when creating their “DIY” migration strategies. While the process was both intimidating and exciting, the DIY approach made them a stronger team.

Their strategic approach included:

  1. Dedicated working groups

    1. Breaking efforts into measurable tasks
    2. Each group had a specific focus
    3. Volunteer-based on interests
    4. Define tasks to fit and overall schedule
    5. Opportunity to develop expertise
    6. Solutions through collaboration
  2. Streamline processes and requirements

    1. What you need versus what you are used to
    2. Opportunity to enhance what works, discard what doesn’t
    3. Changing attitudes and experimenting
  3. Develop relationships within your company—most important!

    1. You will have to deal with skill gaps
    2. Develop relationships to bridge those gaps
    3. Internal relationships set you up for future success

How has XML Documentation for Adobe Experience Manager given BlackBerry the power to innovate? Marco showed how they do many of their editing tasks in the Adobe Experience Manager web-editor through a demo and included the review process, building a map, building a product page, then rollout, verify, and publish live. It’s all pretty seamless and easy to use with templates.

The innovative lessons learned included:

The next steps for Blackberry are working on implementing Adobe Analytics and improving the accessibility of the content.

From Vision to Success

How DITA and XML Documentation for Adobe Experience Manager Empower Organizations with Supreme Control Over Their Content

Adobe DITAWORLD 2019 | Julian Murfitt (mekon), Dave Harrison (mekon) | From Vision to Success

Julian Murfitt, CEO at Mekon, and Dave Harrison, Project Manager at Mekon, continued with the learnings from a couple of real-life projects. Mekon was founded in 1990 with 30 consultants and developers leveraging XML technology to help customers turn content into a business asset. Their customer-focused, can-do attitude includes doing strategic consulting, information architecture analysis, solution prototyping, system integration (Adobe Experience Manager, API, etc.), stylesheet development, and training and coaching.

Their process follows four basic steps:

  1. Assess – Content Strategy Audit
  2. Design – Solution Design and Planning
  3. Prototype – Conference Room Prototype
  4. Implement – Iterative Implementation

This is a case study that looks at three of their customers who moved to XML Documentation to Adobe Experience Manager.

XML Documentation for Adobe Experience Manager is a DITA CCMS and builds on top of Adobe Experience Manager Assets, which is central to your technical content creation and management. The key is to create a roadmap to construct the rollout following the process listed above. It’s not a short process! It can take at least 12 months, more or less, depending on the size of the project.

Key challenges Mekon’s customers wanted to address and their solutions:

Mekon determined that the migration success factors included:

Customer outcomes showed that a typical implementation takes 9–12 months to complete.

As a result, staff morale turned around. Customers found that 95 % of the out-of-the-box functionality of Adobe Experience Manager served their needs, and it was able to handle critical timelines. Customers said that Adobe Experience Manager is stable, scalable, and very capable. It helped to drive productivity and creativity.

Operationalize your move to DITA with Adobe FrameMaker and Adobe Experience Manager

Building the business case and processes to make this transition successful

Adobe DITAWORLD 2019 | Sunitha Tiwari, Palo Alto Networks| Operationalize your move to DITA with Adobe FrameMaker and Adobe Experience Manager

Sunitha Tiwari, Senior Technical Writer at Palo Alto Networks, is involved since the beginning of Palo Alto Networks’ transition to DITA over the last two and a half years.

Why DITA? The classic, non-XML FrameMaker document didn’t scale. They found that their current processes were too time-consuming, prone to errors, and had limited graphics and media quality. Translation costs were high, and not much focus was on the quality. Add to that the system crashes, customers complaining about the bad graphics, no opportunities to add metadata … it was a recipe for disaster.

They knew the solution would be a unified content experience, with searchable content, dynamic linking, and multiple outputs for customers. It would focus on creating content, pre-validating content, and providing consistent output for content creators effortlessly.

To get started, they knew they needed the following:

There were three stages for their content migration. It was time-consuming and not easy!

  1. Pre-conversion – They needed to make copies, import tags from the new template, delete any legacy formats, retag content for a topic-based structure, identify and rename duplicate headings, review the work, zip up the work, and finally send for conversion.
  2. Conversion – They used a conversion vendor to auto-convert the content, which would return structured files containing bookmaps, ditamaps, and XML topics.
  3. Post-conversion – The final phase involved manual DITA validation, and PDF diff to bring content into sync. They also had to follow book publishing processes to cut over from unstructured content to a structured book on the website, while archiving older information as an “unstructured book.”

The entire migration took two years. It took the first year to go live with the first structured book. With the competencies built from that, it took only another year to structure the remaining 90 % of the content repository.

Sunitha then gave a demonstration of the structured content from upload, using XML Documentation for Adobe Experience Manager to generate output.

Streamlined workflows enabled better agility for remote publishing, individual topics, single sourcing, and bulk tagging. It also offered translation cost reduction, pre-validation, separation of style from content, consistency, and compatible UNIX commands for global changes.

The migration also helped measure customer engagement. They implemented Adobe Analytics to measure site adoption and check whether the adoption of this new documentation was at pace with new customer acquisition. It helped them identify the most used topics, identify customers and regions that were top users, and learn about the customer journey.

The advanced DITA capabilities of XML Documentation for Adobe Experience Manager allow Palo Alto Networks to explore advanced DITA concepts and Adobe Experience Manager features to simplify complex content, such as conref for content reuse, DITA profiling for filtering content, keys to create reusable topics and maps and use Adobe Experience Manager to generate HTML for translated content.

You can find the final results of this endeavor at

Simplify your rebranding efforts with DITA

How to rebrand your content in hours instead of months

Adobe DITAWORLD 2019 | Bill Swallow, Scriptorium Publishing | Simplify your Rebranding Efforts

Bill Swallow, Director of Operations at Scriptorium Publishing, had a few technical hiccups, but while he had to cut his presentation a little short, he still packed in much information.

Rebranding might get a new look, but it also means everything has to change.

The most common reasons to rebrand usually involve company acquisition, a company image makeover, a new product/service division, OEM/Partnership content sharing, or just pure whimsy.

You might say it’s a one-time effort. Highly unlikely. It is more likely to happen frequently.

What can change? It’s not just visual design, like logos, colors, and layouts. It also can include fonts, imagery, delivery formats, company name, product names, feature names, copyrights, legal disclaimers, and contact information.

In an unstructured approach, it would affect many individual files, maybe a template, perhaps adherence to the template, and lots of copied and pasted boilerplate content that people might not be using right in the first place. The unstructured approach is making changes to each file individually. You need to create new templates and apply them to all documents. Formatting overrides may break automatic migration. And finally, you need to republish all documents. It’s a very manual rebranding process, with large amounts of time for no other change than look and feel. In the best-case scenario, the updates would be minutes per source file or hours per publication. The more likely scenario would be hours per source file or days/weeks per publication.

The DITA approach to rebranding:

Before you move to DITA, create templates, standardize your content, and remove formatting overrides. Once you have made your rebranding conversion to DITA, relay solely on stylesheets, address all layouts required for the publication, and ensure that any presentation formats (such as PowerPoint or Keynote) also use stylesheets and named master slides. Make conversion to XML easier by facilitating scripting to convert styles to XML tags, as it’s easier to map a style to XML than formatting patterns. If paragraph and character style names are semantical, it becomes easier to match them against existing XML elements. Overall, remember to remove all formatting overrides!

If writing in Word, start writing and using different formats (like headings) as if you are writing in DITA. It’ll make conversions easier down the road.

And on that note, Adobe DITAWORLD 2019 came to a close. We’re now two-thirds of the way through the conference already! And there’s still more to come!

I look forward to Day 3!

Read also:

  1. Adobe DITAWORLD 2019 – Day 1 Summary by Danielle M. Villegas

  2. Adobe DITAWORLD 2019 – Day 3 Summary by Danielle M. Villegas

Topics: Technologies, Conferences, Events, TechComm, TechComm Import