Tools and Solutions for Print and Online Publishing

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Specialist in online documentation development and efficient publishing processes. 31+ years as a technical publications application developer, overlapping with 8 years as a technical writer of user and developer documentation. Extensive design experience gives me the ability to creatively solve unique problems on short notice. Specialties include custom web application development, online document interface design, and authoring productivity enhancements. Adept at creating innovative solutions that facilitate content localization into many languages.

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» TC Camp, Inc. - Santa Clara, CA -- Oct. 2014 to present

CEO – A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing a local technical communication "unconference." (For more information see www.tccamp.org.)

» Leximation, Inc. - San Rafael, CA -- Feb. 2004 to present

Founder and President – Develop tools and solutions to increase the efficiency of authoring and publishing processes. For additional information and services, visit www.leximation.com, for partial list of clients see www.leximation.com/clients.php.

Focused on EPUB development, with particular interest in processes and workflows that enable automated generation of ebooks from existing content. Coined the term "EPUB Help" to introduce the possibility of using EPUBs as an online Help system (yes, it can be done!).

Continued development of DITA-FMx, a FrameMaker plugin that provides enhanced DITA authoring and publishing features. Version 1.0 released in July, 2007, version 1.1 released in October, 2009, and version 2.0 released in April, 2014.

Coined the term "AIR Help" after learning about Adobe's new AIR technology while attending the Adobe Community Summit in June of 2007. Has since experimented with options for making this technology more accessible for the delivery of online user assistance.

Developed numerous custom FrameMaker plugins to solve clients' needs. In particular, the core plugin bundled into the Adobe DITA Application Pack (related link: ad from STC's Telecom magazine).

Developed processes and scripts to migrate unstructured FrameMaker content into XML, then into the WorldServer CMS environment (Idiom, Inc.). Provided input to XSLT developers to achieve correct output for HTML Help and PDF transformations. Modified Ant build scripts to work properly in the WorldServer environment. Developed custom FrameMaker plugins for easier conversion by client.

Developed clients' web sites and web applications using PHP and MySQL.

» Autodesk, Inc. - San Rafael, CA -- Aug. 1991 to Feb. 2004

TechPubs Tools Developer (1993-2004) - Developed and maintained applications and processes that enabled employees to complete their tasks more efficiently. These applications are used throughout Autodesk publishing departments (in AutoCAD, AutoCAD Map, AutoCAD Civil, and others) for both content creation and localization into 19 languages (including, European, Eastern European, Nordic, and Asian languages). Developed the process to automatically generate AutoCAD's "3-Tab Help" (Concept, Procedure, and Reference) from FrameMaker files.

Technical Writer (1991-1999) - Worked on a wide range of user and developer documentation. Using my years of architectural and AutoCAD experience, I provided valuable, real-life examples in my documentation. To combine writing and application development, I researched and coded a number of interactive tutorials and embedded Help interfaces, some of which were used in shipping versions of AutoCAD.

» Architectural/Design Experience -- 1977 to 1991

John Falat Architect, Nahant, MA (1987-1991); CBT Architects, Inc., Boston, MA (1987-1990); Dept. of Architecture, W.S.U. (1987); Technical Services, Graphics, W.S.U. (1984-1987); Fazekas Assoc. Architects, Cupertino, CA (1984-1986); James Forgie Drafting, Lomita, CA (1982-1983); Edward Carson Beall & Assoc., Torrance, CA (1980-1981); Bergen Brunswig Corp., Carson, CA (1979-1980); Scott Allen Prentice, Design/Drafting Services (1977-1995).


» Operating Systems: Windows 7/Vista/XP/2000/98/NT4.0/NT3.5/95, SunOS 8.5, Mac OS X, Ubuntu, UNIX, DOS.

» Programming Languages/APIs/Formats: ActionScript, AJAX, AIR, AnswerWorks API, ANT, AutoLISP, C, C++, Cocoa, CFM, CLucene, CQ, DITA, DHTML, DXF, EPUB, ExtendScript, Flex, FrameMaker API (FDK), Structured FrameMaker development (EDD, R/W rules), HTML, HTML Help API, Java, JavaScript, JCR, mSQL, MIF, MIFML, MySQL, MXML, ObjectARX/ADS, Oracle SQL, Perl, PHP, PostScript, Procmail, SQL, UNIX shell scripting, Visual Basic, WebWorks macros, WinHelp API, WinHelp RTF, Word Basic, XML, XSLT.

» Internet Servers/Applications/Protocols: AEM, Apache HTTP Server, Apache Solr, AJAX, Cold Fusion, MS IIS, PHP/MySQL, web spiders, CGI, HTTP, FTP.


» Publications:

» Conferences attended: Adobe Community Summit (2007-2008); CIDM CMS/DITA North America (2012); CIDM CMS/DITA Europe (2017); DITA-OT Day (2015-2017); DITA West (2007); FrameMaker Chautauqua (2004-2006, 2008); SDL DITA Fest (2009-2011); STC Summit (2004-2015, 2017, 2019); TC Camp (2013-2019); TC Summer Camp (2016-2017); TCWorld conference, Germany (2008-2018); WritersUA (WinWriters) conference (1997-2012);

» Presentations:

  • 2019: STC Summit, Denver, CO, "Website Search with Apache Solr" (slides [1.2MB PDF])
  • 2018: TCWorld, Germany, "Website Search with Apache Solr (tutorial)" (slides [1.4MB PDF]); TCWorld, Germany, "EPUB Help -- Coming soon to a desktop near you?" (slides [1.8MB PDF]); TCWorld, Germany, "Hands on with EPUB (and DITA) (workshop)" (slides [2.3MB PDF]);
  • 2017: TCWorld, Germany, "What's New in EPUB?" (slides [2.9MB PDF]); TCWorld, Germany, "Hands on with EPUB (workshop)" (slides [2.1MB PDF]); TCWorld, Germany, "FrameMaker Structured Application Development (workshop)" (slides [0.7MB PDF]); TCWorld, Germany, "What's Now, What's New, and What's Next? (panel)"; STC San Francisco chapter, "What's New in EPUB?"; STC Summit, National Harbor, MD, "Regular Expressions for Technical Writers" (slides [1.8MB PDF]);
  • 2016: TCWorld, Germany, "Regular Expressions for Technical Writers" (slides [1.7MB PDF]); TCWorld, Germany, "Reality of EPUB: Making it Work for Your Documentation" (slides [864KB PDF]); TCWorld, Germany, "PDFs from DITA using WYSIWYG Tools" (slides [6.0MB PDF]); STC East Bay chapter, "Responsive EPUB: Really?" (slides [499KB PDF]); STC Berkeley chapter, "Converting FrameMaker Content to DITA" (slides [534KB PDF]);
  • 2015: TCWorld, Germany, "Miramo Plus DITA-OT Plugin: DITA to PDF"; TCWorld, Germany, "Responsive EPUB: Really?"; TCWorld, Germany, "Publishing to EPUB: Working with the limitations of today's tools"; STC Summit, Columbus, OH, "EPUB: One format for all deliverables"; STC Rocky Mountain chapter, "Responsive EPUB: Really?"; STC Silicon Valley chapter, "EPUB: One format for all deliverables"; STC Sacramento chapter, "Converting FrameMaker Content to DITA": (slides [534KB PDF]);
  • 2014: TCWorld, Germany, "EPUB: The Holy Grail of Techcomm?" (slides [3.2MB PDF]); TCWorld, Germany, "EPUB: Pushing the Limits," workshop (slides [0.5MB PDF]); TCWorld, Germany, "Publishing to WordPress from FrameMaker" (slides [0.8MB PDF]); TCWorld, Germany, "All About Outputs--Tips, Tricks, and Context," panel discussion; STC San Francisco chapter, "EPUB Help: A viable Help delivery option?"; STC Summit, Phoenix, "EPUB Help: A viable Help delivery option?" (slides [1.6MB PDF]);
  • 2013: Adobe webinar, "Optimize your content for a smooth XML migration (FM to XML)" (info); TC Camp, "PDFs from DITA without Compromising Quality and Control" (slides [565KB PDF]); TCWorld, Germany, "EPUB Tools for Techcomm" (slides [2.3MB PDF]); TCWorld, Germany, "EPUB Tools: In-Depth Review," workshop (slides [501KB PDF]); TCWorld, Germany, "FrameMaker to XML Conversion Options," workshop (co-presented with Yves Barbion of Scripto); STC San Francisco chapter, "Converting FrameMaker Content to DITA"; STC Summit, Atlanta, "EPUB and Techcomm: Are we ready?" (slides [2.2MB PDF]),
  • 2012: TCWorld, Germany, "EPUB 3: What does it offer, and is it ready?" (slides [2.8MB PDF]); TCWorld, Germany, "Hands-on with EPUB," workshop (slides [528KB PDF]); Silicon Valley DITA Interest Group, "Bluestream XDocs CMS with Oxygen and FrameMaker"; STC Austin chapter, "EPUB: What, Why, and How?"; STC Summit, Chicago, "Customizing a FrameMaker Structured Application--You can do it!" (slides [565KB PDF]), STC Summit, Chicago, "Creating EPUBs: What's the best tool for me?" (slides [3.7MB PDF]), WritersUA, Memphis, "EPUB: Pulling it all Together" (slides [575KB PDF])
  • 2011: TCWorld, Germany, "EPUB: What, Why, and How?"; TCWorld, Germany, "AIR Help: Create your own Custom Help System with Open Source Tools" (code samples); TCWorld, Germany, "ExtendScript in FrameMaker 10 - You can do it!" (code samples); Silicon Valley DITA Interest Group, "DITA to PDF Publishing with DITA-FMx and FMx-Auto" (slides, presentation video [1 hour]); STC North Bay chapter, "EPUB: What, Why, and How?"; STC San Francisco chapter, "Creating AIR Help from DITA"; STC Summit, Sacramento, "EPUB: What, Why, and How?" (slides [4.4MB PDF], handout [152KB PDF]);
  • 2010: TCWorld, Germany, "Publishing PDFs from DITA"; TCWorld, Germany, "Creating AIR Help from DITA"; STC NorthBay, "Publishing PDFs from DITA"; STC Summit, Dallas, "Using Adobe AIR for Online Help"; Scriptorium webinar, "DITA Authoring and Publishing with FrameMaker and DITA‐FMx"; WritersUA, Seattle, workshop, "Building your own AIR Help Application"; WritersUA, Seattle, peer showcase, "An Unconventional Way to Create Software Videos"; Silicon Valley DITA Interest Group, "DITA to AIR Help";
  • 2009: TCWorld, Germany, "Using Adobe AIR for User Assistance"; Bluestream webinar, "Using FrameMaker and DITA with XDocs Content Management System"; WritersUA, Seattle, "Using Adobe AIR for User Assistance"; STC NorthBay, "Using Adobe AIR for Online Help";
  • 2008: TCWorld, Germany, "Introduction to AIR Help" and "Using DITA with FrameMaker"; STC Berkeley, "Using DITA with FrameMaker"; STC San Diego, "Using DITA with FrameMaker"; Bay Area Editors' Forum, "DITA for Editors"; STC Summit, Philadelphia, "Introduction to AIR Help"; FrameMaker Chautauqua, Raleigh, "Using DITA with FrameMaker" and "FDK for Dummies"; WritersUA, Portland, peer showcase, "Introducing AIR Help";
  • 2007: STC NorthBay, "Using DITA with FrameMaker";
  • 2006: Silicon Valley DITA Interest Group, "Using DITA with FrameMaker";
  • 2001: WinWriters, "Case Study—Adding Natural Language Query to Online Help"


» Memberships: IDPF, EPUB Indexes Working Group, invited expert; North Bay Communicators Network, founding member; Silicon Valley DITA Interest Group (SVDIG), coordinator and founding member; Society for Technical Communication (STC), Associate Fellow;

» Training/Education: Crane Softwrights (G. Ken Holman) XSLT and XSL-FO training; Cold Fusion training, Allaire; Advanced VB class; C, C++, and UNIX classes, U.C.Berkeley Extension; PostScript Level 1, Adobe, Inc.; UNIX System Administration, Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Washington State University, Pullman, WA, Bachelor of Architecture degree
Washington State University, Pullman, WA, Architectural Science degree
University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark, semester abroad