cool Top interviews of 2023

We love sharing interviews with technical writers. Here are the top interviews that you enjoyed reading this year.

We love to highlight technical and professional writing stories at Technically We Write. As part of that passion, we love to interview writers about the work they do, the process they follow, and the tools they love. This year, we highlighted several outstanding authors and were fascinated by the insights they shared with us. Here are the top six interviews enjoyed by our community:

Brian Kernighan

Many technical writers of my era may have started with a text formatting system rather than a word processor. Nroff and troff were the original text formatters on Unix systems, and remain in use today, typically implemented as GNU groff. With nroff and troff, technical writers add formatting instructions in the body of a document, such as .br to create a line break or .sp 3 to add a few lines of empty space between paragraphs or sections. Troff also provides tools like eqn to generate equations and tbl to build tables within documents.

We asked Brian Kernighan about the history of nroff and troff, and how technical writers can explore these tools today. You may recognize Brian Kernighan's name. He is the "K" in Awk, the "K" in "K&R C" (he co-wrote the original "Kernighan and Ritchie" book about the C programming language), and he has authored and co-authored many books about Unix, programming, and technology. 

Ron McFarland

Ron McFarland has been working in Japan for over 40 years, and he's spent most of that time in international sales, providing sales management training, and expanding sales worldwide. We asked Ron about communicating effectively across cultures and languages.

Don Watkins

Don Watkins is a technical writer about Linux and open source software, highlighting tools and apps you can run on your favorite Linux desktop. Don got started in technical writing while working in a school district as the technology director. Don shared his advice on the writing process, and discussed his favorite open source writing tools. Thanks to Don for this great interview about his work in technical writing. 

Jerry Saltzer

Jerry Saltzer is known for many things in computing. He was a team leader in the Multics operating system in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and led MIT's Computer Systems Research Group. Saltzer also created RUNOFF, an early text processing system. 

RUNOFF was a significant milestone in technical writing. It's not surprising that RUNOFF inspired the roff document preparation system on the original Unix—and by extension, the nroff and troff systems that followed. We asked Saltzer about his work on RUNOFF.

AmyJune Hineline

Thanks to AmyJune Hineline for this interview about her journey in technical writing and her work with Drupal. AmyJune also described her work in accessibility, highlighting that technical writers need to use clear concise words and phrases, break up content into digestible chunks, use headings and bullet points, and add alternative text to anything visual, such as charts, images, tables, screenshots.

Seth Kenlon

One of our first community contributors is Seth Kenlon. Seth has a rich history in technical writing, having transitioned from working in the film industry. Seth shared his approach to writing and his favorite tools in technical writing. For example, Seth loves writing in AsciiDoc, a plain-text minimal-markup system similar to Markdown.