SDL Upgrades Contenta, Makes S1000D Compliance Easier

3 minute read
David Roe avatar

The upgrade from Contenta 4.0 to Contenta 4.1 has taken two years and sees the acquisition of its creator XyEnterprise by SDL. But v4.1 is out now and comes with new authoring features that enable users to insert and validate information references without leaving the authoring environment.

While there are many new, individual functions, Contenta as SDL’s (news, site) Common Source Data Base (CSDB) for S1000D takes a step towards streamlining production workflows for the S1000D standard.

S1000D International Specification

S1000D is an international specification for the procurement and production of technical publications. An SGML/XML standard for preparing, managing and using equipment maintenance and operations information, it was initially developed by the defense and aerospace industries in Europe and is used widely in the US now.

Included in the specification are prescribed methods for interchanging, managing and publishing technical content.It requires a document to be broken down into individual data items which can be marked with individual XML labels, and be part of a hierarchical XML structure.

Upgrades to Contenta v4.1

And with v4.1, SDL says it can enable content to be approved and fielded under the S1000D standard faster than before while at the same time simplifying the adoption of the most recent S1000D specifications.

Already in use by many companies in the aerospace industry including Boeing, the U.S. Navy, Gulfstream, Sikorsky, Contenta is a core element of SDL's solution for S1000D, which includes publishing and Interactive Electronic Technical Publication software as well as component content management.

Learning Opportunities

With automated workflows that distinguish between work-in-process and approved or published content, it provides status updates throughout the editorial and publishing process, and administers access to content using Data Modules that are distributed across the enterprise depending on user needs and permissions. New functions include:

  • Authoring assistance for inserting cross-references to other data modules without leaving the authoring environment
  • Reference Tables that are automatically constructed and updated as work progresses while authors are able to carry out quality checks early in the process.
  • Creation of new S1000D Publication Modules without applying XML mark-up or using an XML editor
  • Drag and drop functionality in publication modules enables users pull content from one publication module to another.

SDL and XyEnterprise

SDL acquired XyEnterprise -- and Contenta as a result -- in June of last year for US$ 14.7m. The acquisition of XyEnterprise added deeper xml and component content management capabilities to their global information management solutions.

The deal to acquire XyEnterprise built on the previous 2008 acquisition of Trisoft, a provider of Component Content Management (CCM) systems for technical writing organizations. With this acquisition, SDL has seen a rapidly growing demand for component based technology solutions, particularly those built on DITA.

Following the acquisition SDL is creating a new business unit within SDL called SDL XySoft, an integration of SDL TriSoft and XyEnterprise.

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