DocTrain RIP

May 18, 2009

I was sad to get the news this morning of the demise of the DocTrain conferences. I’ve been to DocTrain West twice and was privileged to be able to present at this year’s conference. And, I was getting prepared to present two sessions at DocTrain/DITA, both on DocBook. Scott Abel, who was contracted by PUBSNET to market and run DocTrain, agreed with me that some sessions on DocBook would be a nice counterpoint to the incessant DITA drumbeat. I was especially looking forward to some spirited give and take on DITA and DocBook.

Scott’s involvement is the thing that distinguished DocTrain in my mind. He is an indefatigable organizer who kept the programs lively and attracted a broad base of presenters and attendees. Whenever someone posted the inevitable, perennial question, “which conference should I go to,” on a mailing list or news group, the inevitable, perennial reply was “go to DocTrain if you want substance and interaction.”

That was in no small part due to Scott. While the demise of DocTrain is bad news, the good news is that Scott is continuing to look for ways to connect people (Scott is a connector in the best Malcolm Gladwell sense; Gladwell detractors be damned, I think he’s spot on about connectors). You can be sure there will be new events, virtual and in-person, and I plan to be there.


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