The following is some of what we have heard from people we work with:
Bernard is an excellent and entertaining presenter and trainer with a firm focus on pragmatics. He focuses in on the details that are needed by a particular audience and makes the information stick.
I have worked with Bernard on several projects over the past few years across a few different companies and I can honestly say that he is one of the brightest guys I have worked ever with. His ability to not only understand deep technical issues, but explain them in terms that anyone would understand is second to none. He has solid reasoning skills and often thinks outside of the box in order to solve complex problems. He is always the highlight of any conference or event he participates in, and is as entertaining as he is informative! Whether addressing business users or an entire IT department, his strong interpersonal skills give him the ability to work in any environment and be credible in that environment. If you are looking for someone to help you ensure the success of your project, Bernard is your man! I can wholeheartedly and without hesitation give Bernard my highest recommendation!
I had the pleasure of first meeting Bernard through training services for Adobe Framemaker that he provided to the documentation team at the firm I was with. His delivery was excellent, he knew his stuff, and his "unscripted" approach - he knew his stuff but didn't follow in a rigid manner - made the training very worthwhile.
I have hired Bernard for many diverse projects, for three companies. He has been extremely aggressive using new technologies to tackle initial publication challenges (and I've given him many), and ongoing growth and maintenance needs. A true expert and professional in his field. I confidently recommend him to anyone who has web, electronic and traditional publishing needs.
Bernard provided hands-on FrameMaker training for our group at Ken Cook Co and his enthusiasm was infectious. Bernard cleverly introduced learning tasks and followed that with unique ways to apply the learned skill. Everyone was challenged but came away with new-found mastery of the product. During his visit, Bernard also shared his expertise with the Wisconsin STC chapter by presenting an overview of structured authoring. Chapter members report that Bernard's talk made difficult structure concepts accessible. Bernard is a quintessential problem solver. Give him a challenge and he quickly offers solutions. I am always looking for new opportunities to work with Bernard. He is a skilled trainer, a lively presenter and he is always learning!
Bernard Aschwanden is a consummate professional -- an XML publishing expert, author of books, articles, and white papers, and an excellent presenter at industry conferences. Bernard's excitement for his topics and his ability to clearly and creatively communicate complex ideas to those less technically inclined, makes him a great fit for any organization hoping to make the move to structured XML authoring and content management. His grasp of standards like DITA -- and the possibilities such specifications provide us -- make him a valuable resource for any organization that values content as a business asset and is seeking to find ways to improve they way they create, maintain, and deliver it to their customers.
I have been a speaker at numerous conferences with Bernard and have always found his presentations to be highly original, devoid of "fluff", and genuinely useful. Bernard is a master at thinking outside of the box and coming up with innovative solutions using new or old tools. He has a firm grasp on the many complexities of XML and high volume document structure and has worked with a very demanding and diverse customer base. I call on Bernard often for technical advice and have never been disappointed. I recommend him highly for all things related to publishing, web, UI and content management. He is also a very gifted author with enviable writing and editing skills.
No one does it better than Bernard when it comes to teaching folks the “hows” and “whys” of content authoring and publishing. He does this through compelling stand-up training classes, scintillating presentations at industry events, interesting articles in technical publications, informative whitepapers, and expert advice - in others words, if you need to how to create content or produce deliverables, he can help you. To maintain his command of current and evolving practice, Bernard uses client challenges as opportunities to learn and adapt new technologies to craft custom solutions. I can’t recommend a more enthusiastic, dynamic or innovative professional to be a speaker, author and trainer.
Bernard is one of the brightest lights in our profession as technical communicators. His reputation as a leader and innovator is well deserved. In 2005, Bernard accepted my invitation to serve as my vice-president at the STC Toronto chapter during my term as chapter president. He has proven himself to be a tireless, dedicated, and dynamic team player. Since then, I have worked with Bernard to secure new business for SiberLogic.
T2 Systems is a privately-owned software company that provides technology solutions for the parking industry. As technical writers, we are responsible for all of the user documentation we deliver with each of our software and hardware solutions.
In fall 2008, we turned to Bernard Aschwanden at Publishing Smarter to help us convert a large amount of legacy Word content to DITA using FrameMaker. We also had to implement a CMS to manage all of this new XML content. Bernard's expertise has proved invaluable. Although Bernard (and his company) can provide turnkey solutions, our goal was to be self-sufficient. Over the course of only 3 days of onsite training, Bernard taught us the basics of FrameMaker, customized our application to meet style and use requirements, walked us through the Word to DITA conversion process, loaded our new content into the CMS, and configured our publishing profiles in FrameMaker. Since then he has provided ongoing, customized training and support for our workflow, tools, and authoring needs. Bernard is an efficient, effective, and very personable instructor.
Bernard's close relationship with Adobe and a number of CMS providers has been an added benefit. He is a strong advocate for the customer to the software providers. With his support, we have been able to work with the software providers to improve their products while improving our documentation.
Moving from an unstructured authoring environment to managing DITA content in a CMS is a huge undertaking even for those who already understand the technologies and tools. Without Bernard's expertise, we would still be struggling up the steepest part of the learning curve. Instead, we have now finished converting almost all of our legacy Word materials to DITA and are well-acclimated to our new environment. We are able to author in structured Frame, perform basic CMS administration, and publish content in multiple formats.
We highly recommend Bernard and would be happy to talk with you about our experience with him.
Lori Neuman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Saturday morning. Early. I got up, got dressed like I was going to work, grabbed my coffee, and headed back to college. I left behind my sleeping family, and a laundry list of the usual Saturday chores. I was off to Tri-C to create in XML!
Bernard Aschwanden was better than I could have imagined. In addition to his vast knowledge, he provided the sort of witty repartee I don’t always get to indulge in my daily life. He was quick with the one-liners and sardonic humor as he dished out perhaps the clearest explanation of DITA and XML authoring I have ever heard.
For those of you new to the DITA camp, the acronym stands for Darwin Information Typing Architecture. It is a set of XML-based constructs for authoring. Those of us (myself included) who work at companies embracing DITA know the justifications. Re-using content because it is retrievable and reusable because it is tagged with DITA elements. Freeing up writers to create technical masterpieces because we don’t have to spend time formatting. All good. But DITA is also cool because it is XML, and, that, as we know, is the language of the Internet. It impresses my 13-year old stepdaughter (though she won’t admit it) to actually know someone who can author web content. I can tell because of the way she fails to hide her covert admiration when I toss out “BRB!” (be right back) in internet-speak when I leave the room, or “ROTFL” (rolling on the floor laughing) when she says something funny.
Back to DITA and XML. After showing us what DITA looks like, and how it fits into the larger world of XML, Bernard got down to it. Although he used specific tools, never once did this session feel like he was shilling for a vendor. Bernard showed us how to author in both Adobe FrameMaker (Structured; V. 8), and JustSystems XMetal, two power players in the emerging DITA authoring world. Bernard pointed out strengths and weaknesses of each tool, and showed us how to go from one tool to the other. For those of us who ever believed that it was easy to convert Word files into something else, like FrameMaker, and were sorely disappointed, this was Nirvana. Because it is XML, and because it used DITA constructs, going between one DITA-compliant software and another is truly painless. As it turns out, FrameMaker is great for authoring because of the simple authoring pane and tag view it displays. XMetal, on the other hand, is a great single-source engine, allowing you to dynamically create many outputs, including on-line help.
The day whizzed by, aided not only by Bernard’s swift, on-track delivery style, but by the boxes (yes, boxes!) of Starbucks Café Verona our Chapter hosts and hostesses provided. Cool authoring tools, my favorite coffee, and a break from the usual grind. Great way to spend my Saturday!
I first met Bernard at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in 1996. He was representing Adobe at a trade show. Over the years, I’ve taken courses taught by Bernard and attended his many workshops and presentations. Because I’d know him in his capacity as a software guru and indefatigable, serial entrepreneur, I knew he’d be a great addition to STC Toronto’s Executive Council when he joined as Rob Hanna’s vice-president in 2005. As the STC was undergoing a transformation and chapters had to become more self-funding, I sensed immediately that Bernard was the right person at the right time. I had every confidence that he’d bring his technical expertise, endless humour, and entrepreneurial spirit with him. He’s done just that – and more. It’s rare that you find someone with Bernard’s combination of gifts. The only thing greater than Bernard’s awesome technical and business skills is his winning way with people. It just doesn’t get any better than Bernard Aschwanden. Did I mention he can do a mean handstand?