Some Relevant Comments About Life in the Dog Park

Some Relevant Comments About Life in the Dog Park


Posted on May 2015


Have I mentioned that Frank is a Dachshund who works as VP of Security at Simply XML?  He has a genetic or at least environmentally caused disease.  He doesn't play well with others except for his forced compatible play with his Dachshund cousin Lexi.  We've tried to work on this "bug" but positive results are elusive.

Like most urban and suburban towns, my town has a Dog Park.  I drive by it regularly and see lots of people and many different breeds running and jumping, chasing balls, and having a great old time romping.  I also notice that some owners seem go to the dog park for a human to human experience and some of their dogs are confined to the nearby ground, on leashes, with no canine to canine interaction. 

But the pack has dogs of different sizes, colors, breeds, and temperaments and it is a marvel how it all seems to work. To be honest, I am envious.

And then I think of Frank.  It would not even work in the dog park for him next to me with a leash.  Frank displays his "VP of Security skills" to most dogs, but also most humans and, when tempted, to the occasional rabbit or squirrel. He barks often and audibly and will physically challenge the big dogs.  

"What's your point, Doug?" asked Frank.  "Please get to the point so we can go for a car ride."

When I look at the dog park and all those different kinds of dogs playing together and obviously having fun, I naturally think about people and technology and the need for the various breeds of people and technology to play well together.  It is a real problem when the big dogs want to rule the roost and confine interactions to their breed.  The smaller niche dogs have a particular skill that makes them unique, but are no less lovable and playful.  Big dogs cannot make every dog into their breed any more than small dogs can become big dogs.

As organizations come to the rightful conclusion that important content in many departments requires an XML architecture to become efficient, reusable, and publishable to multiple media, let's try to make our organizations more like the dog park where all different breeds of people and technology can play well together. Let's also keep those who don't play well with others on a very tight leash.

Most organizations have multiple repositories, some confined to individual PC's, some for non-technical work groups, some for technical work-groups, and some for groups of work-groups or even the enterprise.  Somehow we need to find a way for these multiple repositories to play well together.  An XML architecture and common metadata can certainly help here.

Most organizations need to support multiple authoring tools.  MS Word, Arbortext, Oxygen, FrameMaker, browser-based, and more.  Somehow, we need to find a way for these multiple authoring tools to play well together.  An XML architecture and common metadata can certainly help here, regardless of the author UI.

The simple achievable goal of playing well together will make everyone's experience at the dog park of enterprise content productive and enjoyable.  We are doing our part.  We are integrating with more CMSs. Our last release supported round tripping of specialized DITA to Content Mapper and back to the repository with the specializations in tact.  Our next release supports the round tripping of Microsoft Word review comments and track changes to and from Oxygen.  We can even support authoring in Content Mapper and output to entrenched XML structures like DocBook. Come on vendors, let's play.

Woof-Woof, Bow-Wow!  Let's go for a ride.  Then you can have a cookie.