Things We're Thinking About

The S1000D User Forum 2013 in Vienna

“Common Global Standards. A Benefit for ALL!”


That is the theme this year at The S1000D User Forum 2013 in Vienna, Austria.

The annual event is taking place next week September 16th – 18th. It is one of our favorite premier events in the Technical Publications community. It is hosted by the Austrian Aeronautics Industries Group (AAI) on behalf of ASD.

The 40+ industry leading experts that occupy the agenda are expected to have an audience of more than 200 international attendees.

Our team at Crowell Solutions is looking forward to seeing some familiar faces roaming the conference halls and meeting many new colleagues in S1000D marketplace.

Check back here often as we blog about our Vienna experience and the latest enabling software and hardware technologies that will drive innovation into the S1000D and ILS marketplace.

If you are at the event, we would love to connect with you. Contact us via our website.

Hoffe dich bald zu sehen.


Using S1000D Architect

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We have implemented quite a few S1000D applications over the past few years and this experience led to the creation of S1000D Architect. Many S1000D applications that are on the market today are focused on the storage of data modules via a CSDB. While this is very important, equally (or maybe evey more imporatant) is how the S1000D program is managed. What we mean by that is:

  • How do you create data modules?
  • How do you insure you’ve created all the data modules you need?
  • How do you manage creating DMRLs and SNS structure?
  • How do you manage the project(s) itself as well as the people assigned to the project?

We have addressed each of these critical issues within S1000D Architect. Request our whitepapers and, by all means, give us some feedback!

BREX Data Module: What, Why, Who, When, Where & How


The Business Rules Exchange Data Module (BREX DM) is used to programmatically enforce business rules that govern what can and cannot appear in an S1000D data module’s content. The BREX DM uses XPath statements that verify that authored content conforms to the project’s business rules. For example: to ensure consistency in the units of measurement used in a program a BREX rule could specify and enforce the use of only metric values.

Note: There are business rules that are defined by a project that cannot be enforced programmatically. Business rules that cover general policy (such as publishing to an IETM environment) are dictated in a Business Rule document, but are not part of the BREX.

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Capstone S1000D Productivity Suite

In my previous post I mentioned S1000D Architect™ and BREXCheck™. I want to circle back to these posts and actually introduce our new suite of applications all of which fit under the name of Capstone™.

In the coming weeks we will be rolling out our latest product: Capstone S1000D Productivity Suite. Capstone is comprised of several individual applications which can be purchased individually or as a bundled item. These applications include:

  • Architect
  • DecisionPoint
  • BREXCheck
  • Delivery Manager
  • Applicability Manager
  • CSDB

I’m going to be blogging about these one at a time. First up is a re-introduction to S1000D Architect.

S1000D Architect

As I mentioned previously, we’re referring to S1000D Architect as our ‘next’ or ‘second’ generation S1000D applicaiton. First generation applications tend to focus on the storage of S1000D content. While important, we want to shift tool focus from storage to management. As such, some of the things you’ll be able to do in Architect are:

Develop DMRLS – Build your project roadmap
Knowledge – Know what data modules you need to create, how many in total there are, to whom they are assigned, and their current state.
Collaborate – Across your company and with vendors. Expose only the data that certain groups need to see.
Define and Manage Information Sets
Short cuts – Generate stub data modules from your DMRL list
Reporting – Use multiple configurable reports to manage S1000D projects

An important thing to note is that S1000D Architect is CSDB agnostic. It can sit on top of an existing CSDB or on top of ours. Your choice. We will be demoing Capstone along with our other tools and services at the AIA Tech Pubs Consortium May 10-11, 2012 in Clearwater, Fl and at the AIA S1000D User Forum in Denver, Co. June 18-21, 2012. Drop us a line in advance and we will set up a demo time for you!


Two New S1000D Applications

It’s March already! Where does the time fly? In Texas we decided to skip winter altogether. We have flowers blooming and, at present, I’m typing this with the windows to the office wide open.

Ahead of changes to our website and the various marketing initiatives that businesses must take when rolling out new products, I wanted to let you know that We are going to be rolling out a couple of new applications during March:

BREXCheck™ and S1000D Architect™.

BREXCheck™ – BREXCheck allows for on-the-fly BREX validation while creating S1000D content. It can work in the XML editor of your choice. Technical authors and content creators author their S1000D data modules as normal. BREXCheck operates in the background. If the author attempts to enter an element that is dissallowed, or an incorrect attribute value, BREXCheck will offer a notification. This should greatly speed up and improve the S1000D authoring and the QA processes.

The second is S1000D Architect™, which is a layer of logic that sits on top of an S1000D CSDB (Content Storage Data Base). S1000D Architect allows you to truly control and manage your S1000D project(s). Management of your S1000D project(s) includes:

  • Knowing how many data modules comprise your S1000D project(s).
  • Knowing where these data modules are coming from (your team, vendors, etc.).
  • Managing multiple SNS schemes (yours, your vendors)
  • Managing vendors’ data modules
  • Ability to efficiently build a list of all necessary data modules
  • Tying this list to a ‘stub-out’ of the data modules themselves (i.e., create a rudimentary XML document for each and every data module in your project).

Look for posts, additions to our website, and email notifications in the coming weeks. We are excited about these applications and rolling them out to general availability. If you want a sneak peek, contact us at








Tools That Help You Write Great Software

As all developers are aware, developing software can be hard. And I’m not even talking about the actual process of sitting down and coding. There are thousands of details that have to be accounted for in order for a software application to work. It is a significant challenge to conform every requirement with the ‘big picture’. The UI should look great and be intuitive. The workflow and logic should be accurate and guide you down the path of success.
Writing great software requires a combination of logic and creativity. Steve Jobs said, “it’s the programmer’s job to adapt the computer to the user, not the user’s job to adapt to the computer.” I agree. And, having been at this task for some time now, I’ve found a few tools that have proven quite helpful. I’ll share:

  • FxCop – FxCop checks your code based on a collection of rules. There are rules for performance, best practices, globalization, and more. As a human, if you do the same thing 100 times you are probably going to do it differently at some point. You can write your own rules that ensure consistency in the way you write code. It can also help ensure that the entire development team adheres to a set of standards. Link:
  • StyleCop – This tool is used internally by Microsoft. It is used to ensure that their public APIs are consistent and effective. It helps with naming conventions, class structure, etc. Link:
  • GhostDoc – Writing documentation can be an unpleasant chore. GhostDoc automates documentation authoring based on method names and parameters. As long as you follow best practices, GhostDoc does a really good job of inferring what the documentation should be. It gets you 80% of the way done and the remaining 20% can be authored by hand. Without a tool like GhostDoc, frequently documentation goes undone. There are free and paid editions. The paid editions are not very expensive. Link:

Using these tools can help you deliver great software. What are your favorite tools that help you in your work?
These tools are directed at the .net framework. What are your favorite tools for Java, Ruby, LAMP, and others?

Helpful resources: