The Professional Writer's Ultimate Source for Information and Links
Here's what you have all been waiting to hear: I will begin to update this site as of 7-21-01. Due to reasons such as dot-com failures, some of my links have gone bad. I will be checking and correcting them, plus adding new features. This will be an ongoing process, so have patience. Thanks to all of you who have emailed to tell me that some of the links don't work.
This web site provides reference material for experienced technical writers, but also includes information for beginners and for tech writers looking for a job. This site includes links to various types of reference material, including HTML instruction pages, style guides, technical writing sites, tech writing tools, dictionaries, etc.
My goal is to help (English-speaking) persons who are in the business of writing and formatting technical documents. I've reviewed quite a few of the sites to which this page is linked, and have used some of the tools listed.
I welcome input from other technical writers, especially those who can provide additional links, identify outdated links on this page, and give editorial (or other) comment.
Because I live and work in the "Silicon Hills" of Austin, Texas, you will notice that some of the links emphasize the Austin area. This area is sometimes called the Silicon Hills because it is surrounded by the Central Texas hill country and it hosts companies like Dell, IBM, Motorola, Samsung, Applied Materials, Apple, Tivoli, Intel (coming soon), Compaq, and many others.
This is a live document and subject to change. In the future, this site will expand to include more of my own suggestions and observations. I also plan to add additional links. During these formative days, I've deliberately put all the information into one long document so that I can readily print it. This may change in the future. Please note that most -- but not all -- of the links are verified as of 2/19/00.
To do our jobs, technical writers need tools. In this case, the word "tools" means software that helps us to produce high-quality documents. These include browsers, web authoring software, help authoring software, screen capture software, editing software, graphics software, and other items. This section includes links to SOME of the web sites that provide these tools. I plan to add others in the future.
Create professional documents, including large books, using Adobe Framemaker. (I don't THINK they offer any free trials, but I didn't look at all the links.)
You can also buy Framemaker from a an independent vendor. See all of Adobe's products at the Adobe home page.
For information on RoboHELP, the world-famous help-authoring tool, see the Blue-Sky Software page that describes this application. Includes free 15-day demo download (as of 2/19/00). Warning to those considering purchasing this software -- RoboHELP is excellent, but NOT cheap.
The following sites offer web authoring tools for various platforms (computer types). With the exception of Arachnophilia, I have not tried any of the software, but have provided a description of each web site.
AdvaSoft. This site offers downloads for aswedit and ASwedit, which are web-authoring tools that run on a UNIX platform. This includes Linux, AIX, Sun Solaris, and others. The aswedit version is available FREE for students and staff in education and charitable non-profit organizations, and for free evaluation by individuals and commercial organizations.
Current release: 4.0 (released on 05 August 1998)
Linux Current release: 4.0.1 (released on 20 March 1999)
CodeEdit 3. This site lets you download FREEWARE editor called CodeEdit, Version 3, which claims to give you "complete control over your final product by not altering your code as some other editors do." Platforms include Windows 95/98/NT.
www.groundlayerz.com. This site provides links to several web authoring tools that offer free trial downloads. The site also offers screen savers, themes, freeware, wallpaper, and additional links to both free and commercial items.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) probably provides the MOST information about HTML, SGML, and web development of any site on the internet. Includes the lastest versions of HTML, plus information on previous versions.
Webmonkey offers a variety of web development information, including HTML guidelines.
Otmar's List of HTML Tags provides a quick and simple reference to the most common HTML tags. Depending on your job and your level of forgetfulness, this might make a good document to pin on the wall next to your computer. This reference includes special characters, lists, and highlighting types. This site does NOT tell how to use the tags, nor does it provide information about more complicated tasks such as creating tables, frames, or forms. (About 3 pages, printed.)
The HTML quick reference page lists both common and less-common tags, and gives brief explanations on how to use them. The referenced tags include forms, but not frames or tables. This document is a good quick-reference, but doesn't explain special characters very clearly, and calls them "Entities." The document is probably best for intermediate HTML users. It could be used by beginners as a quick-reference but not as an instruction guide.
Create a Website, by Whatis.com, is a set of tightly-packed links on just about everything to do with web development.
The Bare Bones Guide to HTML lists a very large number of tags, with NO usage information. Besides the more common tags, this guide includes tags for colors, forms, tables, frames, special characters, scripts, java, links, graphics, and sounds. This document provides a very complete reference to HTML tags, useful even to expert Web page developers. However, this doc may mystify beginners.
The author(s) of the Bare Bones Guide to HTML also offers an HTML instruction guide called The WWW Help Page. In addition to simple HTML tagging, this document includes information on frames, Java, animation, sounds, counters, and other web page needs.
Clipart.com describes its contents as "the net's best clipart, font, photo, and web graphics links." This is an excellent site that provides links to many FREE clipart sites, as well as other sites for graphics.
A+B+C Graphics claims to have the world's largest supply of backgrounds.
Help-Site.com provides links to FREE and not-so-free online computer manuals for many types of operating systems. This is an excellent reference site.
Scott's Tutorial Hotlist, subtitled "Tutorials, Manuals, and User's Guides," is a very good page for "links to some of the best tutorials, manuals, user's guides, etc. that [the author has] found on a variety of topics." It contains an Internet/Computer Glossary, as well as links for UNIX, Java, Linux, Windows, GIF, and many other subjects. Don't miss this one!
Writing for the Web contains great advice whether you are writing for the web or not. This site actually includes the most important information of all -- it talks about the "audience." Whether you write web pages or not, you should look at this one.
International Mailing Address Formats - How to format international mailing addresses. Includes format information and/or examples for many countries, and links to additional references. Useful for figuring out how to write an address on your outgoing mail, deducing whether an address is complete, or even writing software that has to accept mailing addresses and not mangle them.
Screenwriter & Playwright Writing Style Guide Book - Screen & Stage Marketing Secrets book takes you beyond formatting a script to editing the script to maximize visual writing; a form that sells screenplays and stageplays. You may have to search for your topic for a while, as this page seems very comprehensive.
This is a site that technical writers and non-technical writers can both appreciate. It contains LINKS, links, and more links to sites that discuss writing.
The User Friendly Manuals' Website, by Peter Ring Consultants of Denmark, contains vast amounts of useful information and links. This is a very useful -- but not very flashy -- web site.
Willa G. Cline's Mood Swings page has been renamed a bit, but it's still GREAT. It used to be called "Mood Swings for a Better Tomorrow," which I really liked. This page presents a great layout, interesting (and humorous) information, and a large, eclectic choice of links. These include very good links to "Web Design Resources" and other similar topics. You MUST visit this site, especially if you write web pages. I personally rate this page "5 stars," even though it's not exclusively devoted to tech writing.
You can interesting information for "computer book authors" at the Computer Book Cafe, which bills itself as the site "where the computer book industry meets." This site includes articles by and about technical writers.
Shannon McCready home page. A fellow technical writer's home page. This is a much more beautiful page than the one you're looking at (which is in its infancy), and it also contains some interesting links (albeit many are not technical writing sites). This web page repeatedly comes up on the search engines (under "technical writer"), so I decided to include it.
webreview.com contains lots of good information for technical writers, desk top publishers, programmers, and web page developers. This includes good style guide information, tools, and other items. This site is subtitled, "cross-training for web teams." Unfortunately, I found this site to contain a lot more information than you may really want. Try starting at the part titled,
"Creating Your Site's Style Guide." Not only can you view style information, but you can click on additional links on the subject.
The IEEE home page is the main site for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE). This is an important site for standards information.
In the future, I'll add more items to this list. I suggest you use a search engine with the terms "jobs AND computers." This works well with Lycos, for example. You can also use "jobs AND your_area." For instance, search on "jobs AND Austin" or "employment AND Texas." Use the word "AND" to find sites containing both terms. Of course, you probably have your own methods for searching.
Monster.com. This site lets you post your resume and look at job listings from everywhere or just in your own region. Due to recent changes, it takes a bit longer now to post your resume, but you'll probably get a quick response from employers.
The Jobs Database for the Society of Technical Communication lists technical writing jobs worldwide. The STC home page also contains links to regional STC chapters, which may list jobs in your local area.
The STC Job Bank in Austin lists technical writer positions available in the Austin, Texas area.
The Writing Employment Center, maintained by the Writer's Resource Center, lists a variety of writing and editing positions, including technical writer positions nationionwide.