A long-time wish for many of us building and using online documentation is how to grab only the portions we want and have it lay out well for print production, handouts, quick references. A new tool, Zinepal ("magazine pal"), attempts just that: it lets you create your own PDFs -- and even schedule daily rebuilds -- from online content. In an email, Zinepal staff claimed that 1-column layouts would be a quick enhancement, that the easiest way to leverage this tool for documentation is to set up RSS feeds exactly the way you want content to be grouped, and that more integration options are in the works. But as it stands today, it's a compelling example of how to give documentation producers and end users the power to build exactly what they need from online content.
I think it's most important to show just how well and easily this "user as editor" approach works. In this example, pointing Zinepal to my blog enables it to detect the feed; from the feed, I can select exactly those pages I want:
The real power is in the next page, where you can customize the output and save those customizations to a template:
Many output formats are available:
The front page can be customized with rich text and saved to a template:
Here is a sample of an internal page
A powerful approach to solving an ever-growing need to customize information delivery! Thanks to Melissa Burpo for finding it.