Secondary Memory: "Didn't I ask that Before?"

I've been seeing posts that we're collectively outsourcing parts of our brain to online search engines like Google.

As a slight departure from the "sharing is awesome" theme, I wanted to describe how the TridionWorld forum has served a similar function for all-things-Tridion for me, with the following catch.
The more I document and share stuff, the easier it is to find later.
It's not a case of ego surfing when I recently searched for "XML IDE Alvin Reyes" on the forum. I wanted to find these keywords when the idea, "working on XSLT templates is so... manual without an IDE" popped into my head. Like other seemingly perceptive points, this wasn't the first time I thought of it.

Tridion-friendly XML Editors

Luckily, awhile back I had asked the Tridion gurus on TridionWorld what they used and we came up with the following list of XML IDEs (yay, developer tools!):

(Let me know what kinds of ads pop-up on this blog, I've noticed the type and flavor of the ads change, eerily following my content. The above info is an honest-to-goodness copy & paste from the forum, but for full transparency I'm aware of the advertising implication. And yes, I notice the non-Tridion enterprise WCM links that come up too!) 

For Best Posting Results

I understand there are a large number of lurkers in any forum and that's okay. But when you are ready or have a question, here are some tips.
  • Ask a question, the group loves engaging and helping others.
  • Come prepared when looking for technical help, the more you test, try, and document what's happening the better. Even when you think your system hates you.
  • Answer a question even if it's simple and you think someone else may answer it. It might be obvious to you and others, but the person asking (and this guy) will appreciate it. You can actually help the asker and other answerers in the process. 
  • Offer additional feedback for perspective, even if someone else has already answered something. It helps to know someone else had the same issue and the fix worked. Or the fix didn't work in a different scenario. A simple "thanks for sharing" goes a long way, even better when the solution helped you long after the initial problem.
  • Have fun. Silly banter, smileys/emoticons, and the occasional perceptive, well-timed joke can help smooth over the life-and-death scenarios of system implementations and deadlines (best when used after said life-and-death situations resolves itself).
Let me meander back to my main point. For anyone that posts, consider making sure you  have specific keywords and phrases, spelled correctly, in your content. Clear, descriptive titles help as well. The closer it matches what others may search for, the better. This will help your future self when he or she is groking for an answer and needs to ask your past self what exactly you posted, solved, or asked oh so long ago.

And yes, I marvel at both the ingenious and bonehead remarks by old Alvin on the forums. See you online!

Update (Feb 2014): A colleague asked about XML editors again. Here are a few more tips:

  • Visual Studio has its XSLT Debugger as well as a profiler add in (tip from Chris Morgan)
  • IE itself has an XSLT engine inside (thanks, Mihai)


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