By Matt Wood, VMWare, Inc. Technical Writer
WebWorks Reverb Technology for Navigating and Searching
Most discussions about vCAT focus on content, but I’d like to take a moment to talk about the downloadable documentation center package available with this release. vCAT 3.0 is a freely available set of documents that provide the latest information about architecting, operating, and consuming a cloud using the VMware vCloud® Suite. As with previous releases, a downloadable, zipped package of PDFs is provided, but an industry-leading reference library deserves a presentation medium that complements the content by making it more accessible and usable. To accomplish this, we also provide a downloadable documentation center package that can be installed on your local machine and used offline, or installed on a Web server and served to your organization.
Documentation Centers are nothing new—VMware provides searchable documentation centers on vmware.com for most major products. However, the vCAT 3.0 Documentation Center is based on the latest WebWorks Reverb technology and offers capabilities not yet available in other documentation centers.
Off-line Search Capabilities
After installing the documentation center you can navigate and search through all of the toolkit documents from a simple, easy to use interface that works well with Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Safari browsers (FireFox also works, but not with Google translate). Beyond common documentation center features, the vCAT 3.0 Documentation Center provides a client-side search that supports offline use, enables you to view a pre-generated PDF of any document in the toolkit, optimizes presentation on mobile devices, and when served from an Internet-connected Web server, provides access to Google translate for almost instantaneous translation of displayed pages into dozens of languages.
vCAT on Mobile Devices
Optimization of presentation on mobile devices is essential as their use has become a common part of our everyday lives. We have not formally tested most mobile devices, but I’ve had a great user experience over a period of several weeks using a Safari browser on an iPad to browse a vCAT 3.0 Documentation Center served from a Web site. Everything formats and functions very well, and it’s easy to imagine using it to quickly find configuration maximums while working on your vCloud.
Of the new features, the ability to use Google translate is perhaps the most interesting. Localizing documentation sets is very expensive and, for that reason, usually only a few tier-1 languages are translated for most products. The rest of the world has to rely on their ability to read and understand English or one of the translated tier-1 languages, or on often haphazard local efforts to get the most critical information translated.
The accuracy of Google translate is known to be variable. Generally speaking, translations of Western languages are better than Eastern, and tier-1 languages are better than tier-2 or tier-3. However, informal feedback from a number of different native language speakers seems to indicate that even with poor translations, professionals such as VCPs who are familiar with VMware technologies can often figure out what the documentation says.
Google translate offers only a partial translation solution today, but Google continues to refine an adaptive approach that should result in improved translations over time, and at some point it may become accurate and reliable enough to be “good enough.” Ultimately, the goal is to enable access to everyone, and for native speakers of languages such as Albanian and Swahili, we might already be giving them the best access they have to VMware technology.
Download vCAT 3.0
Visit the VMware vCloud Architecture Toolkit page on vmware.com (http://www.vmware.com/cloud-computing/cloud-architecture/vcat-toolkit3.html) to obtain access to the downloadable documentation center package or the vCAT 3.0 documentation center Web site on vmware.com. See the Release Notes for an overview of how to install and use the documentation center.
We welcome feedback and are especially interested in user experiences with the translation feature. You can comment on this blog, or send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.