Dances with Words:
My Life as a Technical Writer

Martha J. Kolman-Davidson -
236 West Portal #143; San Francisco, CA 94127; (415) 648-4232


Writing Samples from Modulant Solutions

The following samples, which I designed and wrote from scratch, show how I approach technical topics and present information to software developers. Some are entire works; others are excerpts from longer documents. Some are from manuals released publicly; others never saw the light of day before development was halted. All samples, including pre-release documents, posted with permission.

The following PDF documents can be viewed on any system that supports Adobe Acrobat Reader.

From Version 1.0 (Modulant Curtana Interoperability Platform):

  • Creating a Sample Context Map - This chapter contains a tutorial for creating context maps using the original version of the Modulant mapping tool. For the first version this tool was called Modulant Balisarda, and was later renamed Modulant Contextia Context Mapper.

  • Using the Data Converter - This chapter describes the original version of the Data Converter, a component of the run-time Interoperability Server. In this version, GUI support was negligible, and most specifications were made by hand in the XML file that contained the context map.

  • Mapping Tool Quick Reference - This reference card describes the basic operations of the Balisarda mapping tool on a two-sided page, to be folded in thirds. It encapsulates the bulk of the tasks described in each of the preceding two sample chapters. The design of the next release changed so dramatically that the information on this card became not only obsolete but unnecessary.

  • Developer's Guide - This guide describes a simple Java API for configuring and queuing interoperability runs to perform semantic mediation and data transformation.

From Version 2.0 beta:

  • Creating Data Descriptor Files - This chapter describes the process for creating a description of a physical source of application data. Originally called data descriptors, and later called data maps, these descriptions are in XML. This chapter describes the process for creating a descriptor file by hand, before the Data Mapper tool provided a GUI interface for performing the same tasks.

From Version 2.1 (Modulant Contextia Interoperability Platform):

  • System Overview - This guide provides conceptual information about semantic interoperability and the high-level process for enabling disparate applications to share information using their own native formats and context. This guide describes Modulant Contextia version 2.1, which was significantly improved from earlier versions.

  • Resolving Structural Conflicts - This chapter was intended to be part of a downloadable tutorial where potential customers could complete a very small project to get a flavor of the power of Modulant Contextia. This tutorial uses version 2.1, which is much easier to use (and to explain) than the original version.

  • Using SOAP Messages - This chapter from version 2.1 of the Developer's Guide describes how to use SOAP messages to connect as a Web service to the Modulant Contextia Interoperability Server to perform interoperability runs to transform data.

Intended for Version 3.0:

  • Documentation Plan - This plan contains my vision for changes to the document set for release 3.0, which never came into being. The product design represented a major step toward increased usability, which I intended to reflect in the updated manuals and help system.

These sections were published in both PDF and HTML format, generated from FrameMaker source using Adobe Acrobat and WebWorks Publisher Professional, respectively.

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Copyright © 1999-2001, M. J. Davidson. All rights reserved.