Generate tag cloud of keywords on any page using Urim Firefox addon

Urim is a nifty addon for Firefox that creates tag cloud of words and phrases of the open webpage. It generates the results on the fly and in real time. Some potential use cases where I find this addon very helpful are:
Urim icon

  • Analyze the primary keywords used on the open online article
  • Check where these primary keywords are used on the page from SEO perspective
  • Speed reading and skimming through sentences containing the primary keyword
  • Quickly understand the context and category of the content on a page

The interface is very user-friendly.

With the URIM sidebar open, you can switch between different tabs and quickly check the keywords density on any tab in real time. The generated word cloud shows single words, as well as, two or three word long phrases. A total of 50 words are listed for each page. Click on a word in the tag cloud to jump to the first occurrence of the word. To cycle through all the occurrences, keep pressing F3 shortcut.

If some specific content is selected on a page, Urim generates the tag cloud for the selected text. Urim needs to be (closed and) opened after the content is selected.

Tip: To open Urim use Alt+Shift+U keyboard shortcut or click on its icon in the Firefox navigation toolbar. Check in the screenshot below.

Urim icon in toolbar
Urim icon in toolbar
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Comparison of JavaScript API reference generation tools

Update: This list is now more social, shareable, embeddable, and improved at http://list.ly/list/FAS-auto-generate-javascript-reference-documentation. Vote or tag the existing tools or add the tools missing from this list.

JSDoc is JavaScript documentation–API reference content for your JS APIs. Recently I scanned the landscape of JSDoc generation tools looking for a good tool to generate JS API reference. I shortlisted the following open source software that served my purpose well. See if this information provides a starting point for you. My votes go to JSDuck and YUIDoc, in that order.

JSDoc tool

Salient info

Link

JSDoc 3* Updated version of the old JSDoc Toolkit. http://usejsdoc.org/https://github.com/jsdoc3/jsdoc
YUIDoc Slightly more verbose and generates very neat outputs; syntax similar to tools like Javadoc and Doxygen; provides Live previews; “generated documentation is an attractive, functional web application with real URLs and graceful fallbacks for spiders and other agents” http://yui.github.com/yuidoc/Sample output: http://yuilibrary.com/yui/docs/api/classes/Model.html
Docco “Quick-and-dirty documentation generator”; Produces output with explanation of code alongside the code itself http://jashkenas.github.com/docco/
Natural Docs Very many options and neat outputs; Style of writing is similar to Javadoc http://www.naturaldocs.org/features.html
JSDuck Infers info directly from the code. Big projects are already using it; Supports references to images and videos; Single exe file for setup on Windows with everything bundled. https://github.com/senchalabs/jsduck#readmeSee JSDuck video here.

* A JSDoc 3 output sample, if it is useful: We ended up publishing an Adobe LiveCycle HTML Workspace documentation piece using JSDoc here.

Index multiple PDFs and do full text advanced searches using Acrobat Professional

I face scenarios when I have to search for content across multiple documents. I talked about them in detail here. In this post, I share my favorite method to achieve this. As I said before, it gives a better user experience, is quite intuitive for anyone to follow, and fits well in the wider work flow.

  • Place all PDF documents in a single folder. If you have non-PDF docs, create PDF output of those.
  • Index the PDF files using Acrobat.
  • You can search in the index using Boolean queries of ALL your search strings.
  • Optionally (and this is best part!), you can export and save the search results as CSV or PDF. This enables further actions on search results.
    • I typically save the results as PDFs when I want to send them for a shared review with ability to comment on individual result.
    • I typically save the results as CSV when I want to create an Excel file with more columns for tracking or effort estimates for each result.

The following video is a quick demonstration of the above steps.

Tip: If you do not see ‘Document Processing’ option in the Tools pane, follow the three steps indicated in the following screenshot.

Document Processing Option in Acrobat

Note: Indexing multiple files is possible in Acrobat Professional only and not in Acrobat Standard. If you don’t find these options on the UI, re-check your Acrobat product.

Further references:

To just know about indexing PDF files, see this section in the article.
For a broader discussion about cataloging and indexing, see this article.
For advanced options for searching, see this article.

Checking specific content across multiple guides in a documentation suite

If you have multiple documents in a doc suite and wish to check one or more content strings across them, read on to find out how you can do it using Adobe Acrobat.

Possible scenarios when you may need to do this are locating mentions of:

  • Product terminology for editorial or legal review.
  • Companies’ trademarks and third-party terms to check if proper symbols are applied or not. Or to apply them in the first place.
  • Product name/version in all docs, to update branding/versioning.
  • A feature or a keyword to do bug fixes across documents.
  • Keywords and related words for SEO purposes.
Use cases for searching content across docs napkin
Use cases for searching content across docs

Following are the various methods I use to achieve the search, indexing, and exporting search results for further action.

Method1

The simplest possible method is to dump all the files in a parent folder and run full text search from Windows explorer on the parent folder. Things to remember:

  • Entire content of plain text content like TXT, XML, and HTML files can be searched directly.
  • To enable indexing of various other file formats, install the corresponding iFilters. Get the download links from this Wikipedia entry.
  • On Windows 7, full text search is the default behavior. For Windows XP, to install Windows search 4.0, see this article. Some tips for advanced search are here.

Method2

If for some reason you cannot install/use indexing services on the OS, use a specific tool for searching. Like UltraFileSearch or WinGrep.

Method3

You need Adobe Acrobat and PDF documents to achieve this. This is my personal favorite as it gives a better user experience, is quite intuitive for anyone to follow, and fits well in the wider work flow. More details and video demonstration are in this post.

Method4

This is a subset of Method3 above. With free Adobe Reader you can run advanced search a folder full of PDF files. However, as the free Reader does not index PDF files, the search is slower.

See what works for you and let me know. Share you methods below.

Crowd source your feedback via social lists

Everyone in the IT sector is looking for feedback from social media.

  • Product managers for the products.
  • Support staff for the overall perception of their support.
  • Investors for the new hot field to invest in.
  • Like-minded people to discuss topics, follow feeds, attend events, contribute to causes, etc.
  • And us communicators for our documentation, videos, forums’ efficacy, and usefulness of blogs.

However,

  • Surveys are now a thing of past.
  • Tracking user behavior is limited in various ways, for various reasons.
  • Doing such market research is relatively costly.
  • Face-to-face customer engagement is a bit formal and restricted media for open feedback.

Listly's feature wish listSocial and crowd-sourced lists are a great tool for all the above use cases and then some more. While lists have always been around and ranks and ratings have always been part of the websites, but these have not been so prominent, so user-friendly, never had such a large user base, and never went social.

List.ly has overcome all these shortcomings in a great way. Here’s a great example of list.ly seeking wish list items from the community!

Oh and you can find yours truly listing here. To join Listly, use this link.

Quick FrameMaker tips

Here’s a running list of FrameMaker tips I am compiling. I shall continue to update these, so feel free to bookmark and keep visiting this post 🙂

These are quick to read and are an immense productivity boosters. Happy authoring!

  • Refresh the display by pressing Ctrl+L, if the display doesn’t seem correct while authoring.
  • Create a new table row by hitting Ctrl+Enter.
  • Add a tab inside a table cell by pressing Esc+Tab.
  • Use FluidView format to preview documents. More info here.
  • Modify the ClipboardFormatsPriorities property in the maker.ini file, to change the order of Paste Special options or the default paste option. Use this Google search to find the relevant information.
  • Open the Paste Special dialog box, when pasting, by pressing Ctrl + Shift + V.
  • Apply character formats using Ctrl+8 or F8. See a demo here.
  • Apply paragraph formats using Ctrl+9 or F9. See a demo here.
  • Create a site dictionary containing organization-wide terms like, product names, company name, and so on. It helps all your writers use spell checking effectively. More info is here.
  • Run advanced searches in FrameMaker search window by using wildcards and some regular expressions. A list of wildcards is here.
  • Jump to hyperlinks and cross-reference destinations in a FM doc by holding down Alt and Ctrl while clicking an xref.
  • Lock or unlock a FM document using the shortcut Esc F l k. Or you can use the lock icon in the toolbar for Toggle View Only. Try this option if you suddenly cannot edit a document  in spite of having edit permissions on the file.
  • Use this desk pinup to quickly refer to keyboard shortcuts in Structured FM.
  • Use this mind map to quickly refer to keyboard shortcuts in Structured FM.

What quick tips do you have under your belt? Share them in the comments below. Feel free to add a link (or two!) for more details.

Analyze disk space usage and delete files to increase free space using WinDirStat

What would I ever do with this space?
I am not going to rip all my music CDs and keep them on the hard disk!
 
Low disk space error message on Windows
Low disk space error message on Windows

And then we get that dreaded pop-up balloon from the tray saying low disk space. Well, shit happens!

And while purchasing it, you wondered why would you ever need a 500 GB hard disk. Turns out, over a long time, your operating system or your software may end up doing what you resolved not to do–that is, fill up your disk space.

Many tools are available for analysis of disk usage. However, after trying a good number of those, I have settled for WinDirStat (WDS for short) for years now.

From its Wikipedia entry:

WinDirStat is a graphical disk usage analyzer for Microsoft Windows, notable for presenting a sub-tree view with disk use percentage alongside a usage-sorted list of file extensions that is interactively integrated with a colorful graphical display (a treemap).

Let me just share some salient points of WDS below:

  • WinDirStat allows you to not just identify the large files, but also delete them using something called ‘built-in cleanup actions’.
  • And all this while remaining extremely user-friendly. The generated views are sorted by file size, so that one can focus on the biggest offenders 🙂
  • Statistics about the file types help in quickly identifying the offending file types, as well.
  • It is completely free and available as a portable app too.

As an example, check below, an analysis my Windows 7 64-bit installation, which is ~1 year old now. 22.5 GB in just the Windows folder? Holy shit MicroSoft!

Space taken by Windows folder on Win7
Space taken by Windows folder on Win7