I started my journey with S1000D over 18 months ago. In that time I have learned many lessons and would like to share a few of the things I have learnt with you. I hope this blog is an encouragement for you as you begin your journey with S1000D.
Don’t be intimidated by the spec
Version 4.1 of the spec is 3,513 pages long (as PDF). Don’t feel like you need to read the whole spec to get started. Begin your journey by learning about the history of the spec. It’s about 20 pages of actual content located in Chapter 1 (download links below).
As you begin to read beyond the introduction you will see that there is a lot of front matter and reference material throughout the spec. There are also many sections that are geared towards specific industries or products (e.g. 5.2.2 Air specific information sets vs 5.2.3 Land/Sea specific information sets), so you will be able to skip some entirely. This means that the actual content you need to go through is significantly less than 3,500 pages (phew!).
Also, feel free to skip around. If the current chapter or section is boring or difficult to grasp, come back to it later. If you see something that piques your interest or seems more relevant to you or your project, go read it. The spec is a great reference tool and doesn’t require front-to-back reading.
On a lighter note, if you have trouble sleeping at night, pick up the spec and start reading (I suggest Chapter 7). It won’t take you long to discover how great specifications are for curing insomnia.
The knowledge and experience you bring is valuable
I’ve been working in technical publications for the civil aviation industry for over 22 years. When I started with S1000D I was expecting a whole new world (cue song from Aladdin) that had no familiarity and no connection with my existing knowledge and experience. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Current issues of the spec are developed by the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD), the Aerospace Industries Association of America (AIA), and the Air Transport Association of America (ATA) together with their customers. Recognize any of those names? The spec incorporates many aspects of other specifications that you may already be familiar with (e.g. ATA-100, iSpec-2200, MIL-STD’s etc.) so chances are you already have a head start.
The spec is also designed to be flexible and to work with you and how you do business. You won’t have to throw everything you know out the window and start over. You will take your current processes, procedures, business rules, knowledge, and experience with you as you learn to develop information in the world of S1000D.
This is a Journey
The adoption of S1000D will not happen overnight. This is a journey that is going to take time, so be patient with yourself and your fellow team members. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions and get help from others who have already experienced the startup process.
Spec website: http://public.s1000d.org/Pages/Home.aspx
Download a copy of the spec from here: http://public.s1000d.org/Downloads/Pages/S1000DDownloads.aspx