coast to coast and back again

For my first post, file this in the category of watching out what you wish for - what with all the new collaboration technology that lets you work with people without ever having to actually sit in the same room with them, I often yearn for the chance to travel and get to meet a lot of these people I work with.

Well, after just returning from the pretty amazing CMS 2006 conference in San Francisco, I head off tomorrow to attend the 14th annual WritersUA in Palm Springs.

CMS 2006 was an amazing experience. And has DITA arrived, or what? In the introductory remarks, Joanne Hackos reported a 68% increase in attendance this year compared to last, almost all of that due to DITA. Fully 27 out of the 42 sessions had DITA in their title, not including demos. At Andrea Ames' packed session on information architecture, a raise of hands showed that all but three people out of over the 100 there had come to the conference specifically to learn more about DITA. Each of the 20+ vendors in attendance had a major focus on DITA.

And the level of discussion about DITA generally went well beyond the basic intro level. Lots of lively and detailed discussions about the best collection-type attributes in map topicrefs, source-only vs. target-only linking, the structure of a task topic and how to extend it, and so on.

I finally got to meet my IBM colleague Erik Hennum, with whom I've worked closely over the past 4+ years on DITA, but whom I'd never met face-to-face. Glad to say, Erik is as engaging in person as he is by phone, and just as thoughtful and driven and forward-thinking, too.

Many conference attendees said they attended primarily to "hear from the experts at IBM " about DITA. Led by our fantastic SVL team, I'd say IBM delivered.

On the DITA track, Andrea Ames gave an excellent IA with DITA opening session, then Lori Fisher on the Management Track with the "big picture" reuse strategy, Shawn Benham on the manager's perspective and business value, Jen Fell & Carolyn Henry on components and maps, Carolyn Henry, Mary Paquet and Jen Wickman from Rocket Software on business partnering, Shannon Rouiller and Elizabeth Wilde on editing tips, Dan Dionne on content reuse nuts and bolts, Guanju Cai and Jeff Levitt on the DITA Open Toolkit and Ant builds, Paul Arellanes on taxonomy classification, Erik Hennum on specialization and DITA 1.1, and your's truly John Hunt on DITA and learning and the Task Modeler.

Oh, and I learned all about juniper berries at an "unofficial" tour and visit to Distillery 209. As for myself, I'll be stickin' with vodka for my martinis, but that 209 was some smooth stuff.

Look for more from me on DITA and task modeling and learning. Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
OASIS sites: OASIS | Cover Pages | | AMQP | CGM Open | eGov | Emergency | IDtrust | LegalXML | Open CSA | OSLC | WS-I