A couple of months ago, quietly and without too much fuss, Author-it released a Software Development Kit (SDK). This is a huge leap forward for Author-it and, I believe, gives them a huge advantage over their competitors. Why? Because now with the SDK, you can make Author-it work for you. You no longer have to change your processes and systems to fit Author-it; Author-it can now change to fit your workflow.

What can it do?

Well, lots. The SDK exposes a huge array of Author-it functionality to developers (and wannabe, or ex-developers, like me). But there are two main ways the SDK can work. You can create both:

  • Stand-alone applications (using .NET, JSON, SOAP, TCP, or ASP.NET) that can access your Author-it library and manipulate almost all aspects of it. For example, you could create a:
    • Self-service publishing web application -  A web user could build a book structure using topics that exist in your Author-it library and then publish that book (on an Author-it Publishing server).
    • Desktop application that integrates with other systems – An app that reads in content from an external database or files and automatically creates or updates topics directly in your Author-it library.
  • Plug-ins that that let you customise the Author-it user interface and launch actions from directly within the Author-it Editor. For example, you could create a plug-in that:
    • Automatically sends an email to a user when a topic’s release state changes to 'Ready for Release'.
    • Let users 'watch' objects so they are notified when an object is saved or its release state changes.
    • Puts shortcuts in the right-click context menu to embed commonly used graphics (for example, note icons) or paste topic contents (for example, boilerplate text).

Here is one I prepared earlier...

So, as they say on the cooking shows, here is one I prepared earlier.  I have created a plug-in that lets you annotate objects by attaching comments. Give it a go and let me know what you think.

What you need to know

The Author-it SDK takes customising Author-it to a new level. You do need an intermediate level of programming skills (in whichever flavour of language you choose) to get it up and running. The new Author-it DevHub does have a lot of resources (including sample applications you can download), and John on the DevHub forum is incredibly helpful with providing assistance.

If you do not have the programming skills to write an app or plug-in, now is the time to start buying your dev team mates beer and/or chocolate (or whatever it takes).

My experience

With John’s help, I got up and running reasonably quickly. For me, it was setting up the foundations of the plug-in that took the most effort (setting up the project, getting the references working, and setting up database connections). Getting the Author-it interaction working was relatively straight forward. The next plug-in or app will definitely be quicker and easier.

Making Author-it work for you

Author-it can now fit snugly with your other business processes and systems removing many clunky workarounds and manual steps. The SDK really does open up Author-it and makes it work for you; rather than the other way around.

Eliminate repetitive, mundane, and time-consuming tasks when publishing from Author-it Cloud

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Segue Consulting

Providing professional technical communication, Author-it consulting, and online communication services.

We are one of only two Author-it certified consultants in Australia.

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