Open Help: Lee Hunter – Drupal for Tech Comm: Walkthough to full-featured CMS

Lee Hunter is a technical editor specialising in enterprise applications and enterprise architecture. He’s contributed to Drupal docs since 2006 and been the Drupal Docs Team Lead since February.

Drupal as a Technical Communication Tool

Drupal’s useful features for technical communication:

  • workflow
  • multilingual
  • content locking
  • taxonomy/metadata
  • Powerful database query tool
  • Actions/triggers
  • PDF output
  • tour/walkthrough
  • user interaction (flags, comments, rating etc)
  • Endlessly configurable and extensible

There are some things missing:

  • authoring tool for conditional text (back end modules available now)
  • content maps creation/navigation (back end modules available now)
  • DTD validation for DITA  (DITA = an XML standard for doing structured content)

Lee wants to

  • make Drupal into a CCMS with decent authoring
  • create a Drupal tech communication distro
  • get this into university technical communication programs
  • get the technical communication community to use the distro and then get them to contribute back to Drupal

To get there he needs to get some money. Possible ways to get there are crowdfunding, grants, and do project work.

A Tour Explosion

A lot of websites have tooltip tours – e.g. Facebook, Google

It can be challenging to get these set up.

Walkthrough – creating an infrastructure for implementing and managing your tours.

Used for:

  • end user docs like tutorials
  • increase conversions on complex forms
  • document business processes
  • Record site specific best practices
  • ensure a user story is done
  • improve user acceptance testing

Video tutorials provide a guided, rich experience

Text tutorials are editable, searchable, comment-able and translatable.

The walkthrough provides the best of both worlds. It leverages Selenium, an add-on for firefox, that captures interactions with the interface.

When you have tour + Drupal + Selenium + Walkthrough Hub you have tutorials that are manageable, shareable, interactive and powerful.

Lee demonstrated the Drupal walkthrough tour.

The tours can appear on any site. You can have the tour installed on Drupal but the tour can take you to any website. This can all be administered from one site. You can also have a tour that goes from one site to another. These don’t need to be Drupal sites.

More info is on the website.




  1. This is an excellent new for tech comm. I have used traditional authoring software and used WordPress also for product knowledgebase development, but Drupal always fascinated me. Tom ( has frequently talked about using for tech comm, and this should interest him also.

    Thank you for sharing it, tech comm is moving in right direction to embrace open source CMS that are flexible, scalable, and easy to learn and use.


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