Well, it finally happened. After many years of existence of the S1000D specification, civil aviation finally adopted it in earnest. In my estimation it started with Boeing on the 787, followed closely by Airbus with the A350, and the soon-to-enter-into-service Bombardier C-series commercial aircraft.
But the costs can be very high. We ourselves watched with interest the forces pushing for S1000D in civil aviation. Six years ago we made efforts to get educated on it, and to see what the costs would be to get into it.
What we found, unfortunately, is that it was cost prohibitive for smaller organizations to adopt this specification. Software was (and is with one or two exceptions) very expensive to acquire. We also found that it was very difficult to get good, solid information about this from the mainline software companies. It felt like you had to “drink their Kool-Aid” before they would really open up and speak in plain English. Then came the installation and implementation. We said “no way, this is way too expensive and we will never get a return on our investment.”
Fast forward to 2014, and we discovered a perfect software supplier, and partner. Now that we have selected the software, installed it, and completed our first project, our writers are saying “we need to move all our tech pubs to S1000D.” It offers what we have all wanted to be able to do (and tried to do in the past): database publishing.
But S1000D is more than just database publishing. It now brings us to the place where we can do real-time publishing. Make a change, push a button, and your digital content is updated instantly. No more 90-day or 180-day cycles to do revisions.
S1000D is here to stay. I say Amen! Let’s promote it, implement it, and use it to its fullest. It’s a wonderful world we live in, and S1000D just made tech pubs more interesting, and fun!