A few months ago, I asked my publisher to take my Confluence wiki book out of print. The book is titled “Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate: A wiki as platform extraordinaire for technical communication”. It takes a while for the going-out-of-print process to ripple across all the sources of the book, but by now it seems to have taken effect in most sellers.
Update: Although the book is out of print, you can download a free PDF version of the book from the publisher, XML Press.
Why did we decide to take the book out of print? I’m concerned that it no longer gives the best advice on how to use Confluence for technical documentation. The book appeared early in 2012, and applies to Confluence versions 3.5 to 4.1. While much of the content is still applicable, particularly in broad outline, it’s not up to date with the latest Confluence – now at version 5.6 and still moving fast. I thought about producing an updated edition of the book. But because I don’t use Confluence at the moment, I can’t craft creative solutions for using the wiki for technical documentation.
Here are some sources of information, for people who’re looking for advice on using Confluence for technical communication:
- If you have a specific question, try posting it on Atlassian Answers, a community forum where plenty of knowledgeable folks hang out.
- Some of the Atlassian Experts specialise in using Confluence for technical documentation. The Experts are partner companies who offer services and consultation on the Atlassian products. The company I’ve worked with most closely on the documentation side, is K15t Software. I heartily recommend them for advice and for the add-ons they produce. For example, Scroll Versions adds sophisticated version control to a wiki-based documentation set.
- AppFusions is another excellent company that provides Confluence add-ons of interest to technical communicators. For example, if you need to supply internationalised versions of your documentation, take a look at the AppFusions Translations Hub which integrates Confluence with the Lingotek TMS platform.
A big and affectionate thank you to Richard Hamilton at XML Press, the publisher of the book. It’s been a privilege working with him, and a pleasure getting to know him in person.
For more details about the book that was, see the page about my books. If you have any questions, please do add a comment to this post and I’ll answer to the best of my knowledge or point you to another source of information.
The pages were previously housed on the wiki associated with my book, Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate. That wiki is now shut down, but the tips live on!
These are the tips currently available:
- Bypassing the Confluence rich text editor interface
- Converting Confluence rich text editor content to wiki markup
- Converting Confluence storage format XML to wiki markup
- Editing Confluence pages in an external validating XML editor
- Validating Confluence XML storage format
- Showing tag names and some attributes in the Confluence rich text editor
- Promoting heading levels
- Searching Confluence storage format XML for content or markup
- Finding duplicate page names in Confluence
- Adding custom toolbar buttons to the Confluence rich text editor with Greasemonkey
Many thanks to Martin Cleaver at Blended Perspectives, for hosting this treasure trove of tips. And many thanks also to Graham Hannington, for all the work and insight he’s put into investigating and documenting the tips.
Looking for a Confluence wiki to play with while reading the book?
If you’re reading, Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate, you may want a wiki to try out the techniques described in the book. For the first 18 months after publication, a Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate wiki site was available for readers to experiment with. That site is no longer available. If you like, you can get a free evaluation licence from Atlassian, to experiment with Confluence.
Flowers from a recent walk in the Australian bush. Early spring.
Great news! My book is now available in EPUB, Kindle and NOOK formats. The book is called, Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate: A wiki as platform extraordinaire for technical communication. It’s about developing technical documentation on a wiki. It has bits about social media, agile environments, search engine optimisation, and more.
The book is available at:
- XML Press – EPUB, Kindle (mobi) and paperback
- Barnes and Noble – NOOK book and paperback
- Amazon.com – Paperback only, for some reason. I’m chasing up on that.
Here are some screenshots of the book on an iPad. Click an image to see the pictures as a slide show.
Would you like to help write a guide to using Twitter, especially for technical writers? At the same time, you can try out Confluence wiki and learn from other tech comm Twitter experts.
An interesting fact: The top post on this blog is a technical guide to prepopulating tweets and embedding tweets in a document. (Here’s the post.) It has received more than 13 thousand visits to date. The next most popular post, about writing REST API documentation, has received 11 thousand visits and has been around for two years longer than the Twitter post.
People really want to know about this stuff. We can use Twitter in our documentation, in our careers, and in communication with our peers. How great would it be if we had a technical communicator’s guide to Twitter, written and regularly updated by us!
That idea came to me while I was writing my book, Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate: A wiki as platform extraordinaire for technical communication. Then I took the idea a step further and made the writing of the guide a project that Ganache, the hero of the book, was tackling. Ganache wrote part of the guide. The screenshots are in the book. She also wrote some stubs for pages that she thought would be useful in the guide.
Now it’s up to us to complete the guide, and to keep it up to date.
How to contribute to the Twitter guide for technical communicators
Go to the wiki, at https://wikitechcomm.onconfluence.com/display/CHAT/About+this+site, and follow the instructions to get a username. It’s free, and you can choose any username that hasn’t yet been taken. You will need to give an email address, but the email address won’t be shown to other users (unless you make your username the same as your email address).
Read the Twitter guide, and fill in the missing details. All contributions welcome. You can edit the existing pages or add new ones. Other people will probably edit your pages too. It’s a wiki, and all logged-in users have permission to update the pages. Content is licensed under a Creative Commons copyright, as specified in the footer of each page.
Who else is on the wiki?
Your name will appear along with the others who are already there. I’m there, and so is Ganache. 🙂
I’ve just spent a couple of days on the island of Oahu, in Hawaii, on my way to and from the STC Summit 2012. I couldn’t resist taking this snap: