iiRDS You Can Touch: The New iiRDS Open Toolkit
This fall, the iiRDS Open Toolkit was launched: a freeware tool allowing everyone to create iiRDS packages quickly and easily – whether you are an iiRDS newbie or a professional. In this article, we introduce you to the tool and its functionality.
The development of the tool
The idea for the tool was conceived by the iiRDS working group “Tools – Validation – Content”. Its goal: To give everybody the ability to create iiRDS packages with intuitive software and thus to become familiar with the standard.
The idea was followed by a call for tenders: A company was sought to design and develop such a tool. And so the project finally ended up with us, i.e. ICMS and plusmeta – because two are better than one.
Together we defined the concept and requirements, which were then implemented on the basis of the plusmeta platform.
The most important requirements for the tool were
- Simple, intuitive operation
- Ease of access
- High data security
For this reason, the Open Toolkit was developed as web-based software, with a simple workflow principle and without data exchange with a server.
How does the iiRDS Open Toolkit work?
The iiRDS Open Toolkit runs completely in your browser. As it uses the latest web technologies, a modern browser like Chrome or Firefox in the latest version is required. The tool is designed so that the files do not leave your computer. Furthermore, you don’t need an account – you can start right away.
This ensures high data security. However, for exactly this reason, the tool is unable to reopen old versions. If you start a workflow, you must finish it and download the iiRDS package created in the last step.
Only basic settings are saved locally, including language and page help display. You can reset these settings to the default via the menu. There is no data exchange with a server, so the Open Toolkit is also suitable for sensitive data.
However, there is a function that allows you to download metadata you have created in the Open Toolkit and upload it again to a new workflow. How this works is explained further along in this article.
In order to use the iiRDS Open Toolkit as intuitively as possible, a fixed workflow consisting of 4 steps is followed:
- Add content
- Assign metadata
- Generate iiRDS packet
As an additional support, most pages include page help. If you are already a professional, you can of course hide this. However, it will not be displayed in future workflows, as this preference is saved in the settings.
In the second workflow step, you now upload files that you want to bundle as an iiRDS package. You can use HTML, PDF, XML, and Word files as well as ZIP archives.
The blue arrow takes you to the third workflow step, where the files can be classified with metadata.
Some metadata are already displayed, which can then be filled with values. Which metadata is displayed depends on the object type. The Open Toolkit differentiates between Document, Topic and Fragment. Document and Topic are assigned automatically, whereas a PDF is always marked as Document and HTML and XML files always as Topics. The object type “Fragment”, on the other hand, you must set yourself in the drop-down list “Object type”.
In addition to the metadata already displayed, the green plus sign can be used to display additional iiRDS metadata.
The values defined in the iiRDS standard are stored for the metadata. These values can easily be selected in the Open Toolkit from a drop-down list of the relevant metadata.
As not all metadata have values in the iiRDS standard, you can also create your own values: To do so, simply write the desired value into the field of the corresponding metadata and confirm with Enter.
But not every metadata field has to be filled in. Fields that are not required can, with a few exceptions, simply be left blank. The exceptions are the mandatory metadata, which are marked with *. Thus, the Open Toolkit ensures that a basic set of metadata is included in the iiRDS package.
In the last workflow step, the iiRDS package is automatically created. It can now be downloaded using the blue download button.
By clicking on the blue checkmark, you at last reach the final page of the workflow.
For pros: The metadata import
For those who are more confident, metadata import is a great tool. This allows you to easily reuse metadata you have created yourself in another workflow.
To do this, on the final page of a workflow, the metadata values you created must be downloaded as an RDF file, for which there is a button. This file can then be imported into the next workflow in any workflow step via the ⁝ menu. These metadata are then available in the “Assign Metadata” workflow step.
Special feature: ZIP archives for HTML files
In technical communication, there are often complete packages consisting of several HTML files, images, style sheets, etc.
The iiRDS Open Toolkit offers the option to import them completely, in the form of a ZIP archive, into the Open Toolkit. The HTML files are extracted from the ZIP archive for the metadata assignment. When generating the iiRDS package, however, the complete structure of the ZIP archive is preserved, so things like images, links and styles will still work. So, in principle, the package is expanded only by the iiRDS metadata file.
Not too much – not too little. The iiRDS Open Toolkit is the optimal solution for you to have your first quick and successful encounters with iiRDS. This also includes help from well-known technologies, intuitive handling and a lot of knowledge in the back end of the tool.
About the authors
Fabienne Lange studied Communication and Media Management in Bachelor and Master at the University of Applied Sciences Karlsruhe and has been working for plusmeta GmbH since this year. Her main focus is Intelligent Information, especially the topics of semantic product models and artificial intelligence in technical editing.
Mariell Längle is team leader at ICMS GmbH. She supports customers in the selection, introduction, migration and operation of the right system solutions in the area of information and content management.