Report from Helsinki: TCWorld Roadshow with FrameMaker

One of our key European partners, Jang Graat, is representing Adobe at a series of road shows this month. This is Jang’s first guest blog on an event in Helsinki.

Helsinki Highlights

HOTELIn the grandeur of the beautiful Paasitorni hotel in Helsinki, the tcworld Roadshow Europe 2013 took off today. Co-organized by the German tcworld organization for technical communication and sponsored by Adobe Systems, the roadshow gathers technical communicators together for a 1-day event in six different cities in Northern and North-Eastern Europe. In two weeks time, the roadshow hits Helsinki, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Eindhoven, Antwerp and Paris.

At all of the events, I represented Adobe Systems and presented a talk centered on FrameMaker.

The Paasitorni Congress Hotel was a great first location for the roadshow. The hotel was originally built in the 1920s and the entrance still looks like it must have been back then. Fortunately though, the conference rooms were quite modern and the turnout was good, considering the distance that some of the participants had traveled to get here. Finland is not a small country and Helsinki is on the very South end of it. But trains are efficient here and the room filled up with around 40 people from a wide variety of industries.

Jang and screenThe first talk on the program was delivered by the CEO of the organizing tcworld organization, Dr. Michael Fritz, who talked about trends in the technical communication profession. His talk covered a lot of aspects and took a little longer than planned, but everyone welcomed the information with great enthusiasm. My own talk was the second one and featured smooth transition from unstructured to structured FrameMaker and modularizing that content to move it into a content management system. The talk was basically the same topic that I blogged about earlier under the title “Changing the engine without stopping the car” including a “Part 2“.

The next presentation, by Chris Hill, showed the return of books in the form of eBooks. But even though the production chain from DITA via the Open Toolkit to ePUB format is available as free software, the work involved in making the output match your company style and the lack of decent import of feedback notes into the source materials does show that it has some drawbacks compared to the use of PDF as the basis for electronic publishing and reviewing (as is available via FrameMaker and Adobe Acrobat).

In the afternoon, we broke out into parallel discussion groups in which various topics in technical documentation were discussed. Results were presented to the entire group and then the day closed with a short panel discussion. All in all, it was a successful event, even though it was small.

Jang Graat

Jang F.M. Graat, Chief Technologist at The Content Era LLC, has almost 3 decades experience in the technical communications industry. After studying Physics, Psychology, and Philosophy, he started on a fast-track career in the high-tech computer industry, working as a systems designer, marketeer, technical author, trainer, consultant and programmer. Jang has delivered countless presentations and training courses around the globe. His talks were always entertaining as well as thought-provoking and met with enthusiasm and often a certain degree of bewilderment. Thinking inside a box is not one of his strengths. After being self-employed for 20 years, he has joined Tom Aldous at The Content Era, where he is developing his often revolutionary ideas into clever solutions. He has done tons of coding in ExtendScript, always trying to make the jobs of technical authors less tedious and more effective. You can also connect with Jang on facebook and follow Jang Graat on Twitter: @4everJang

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