The Darwin Information Technical Architecture (DITA) workshop, hosted by the STC Carolina Chapter on Saturday, October 17, taught me one fundamental thing about DITA – that audience is the focus of any good technical writer.
This review strongly recommends DITA 101 for its clear presentation of DITA basics, with practical examples and easy to understand language. Previously, authors and managers would need to have read the full technical specification to attempt to gather such information.
I just spent some time playing with this tool and find it a clean, quick alternative to the more complex Echidna/WinANT tool. DITAOT-GUI provides a simple interface, allowing users to select a map, DITAVAL filter, output location and output type. It bypasses the need to create a build file but therefore does not allow the use of parameters and properties to specify additional aspects of the build.
Although DITA is a fantastic infrastructure for content in a digital age, DITA tools are…well, where the heck are they? Putting your content in XML ought to allow you to do really cool things with your content because it’s no longer tied to format. In essence, having your content in XML makes it available to be handled programmatically in a way that’s just not possible in unstructured content (FrameMaker or Word).