The Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) is an XML-based architecture for authoring, producing, and delivering technical information. DITA divides content into small, self-contained topics that can be reused in different deliverables. The extensibility of DITA permits organizations to define specific information structures and still use standard tools to work with them. DITA is often compared against DocBook, a similar XML schema.
The Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) has emerged as a standard topic-oriented document architecture. DITA holds many advantages over information authored directly in HTML, including better reuse, easily changed presentation styles, and easy single sourcing. This article, the first of two parts, explains how to get a quick start with DITA using HTML topics that are already available. It shows you how to use the provided XSLT transform to do the migration, and examines what is needed to ensure quality results.
The Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) holds many advantages over information authored directly in HTML, including better reuse, easily changed presentation styles, and easy single sourcing. In Part 2 of this two-part series on how to quickly migrate HTML topics to DITA, the author explains the details of migration, and shows you how to override parts of this process for ideal results.
This procedure is used to modify the DITA Open Toolkit build files to allow an external map file reference and alias strings to be added to the HTML Help Project file before building, as part of the transformation to Microsoft HTML Help (CHM) format.
When IBM decided to focus on topic-oriented documentation, it created the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA), even though there was already a huge investment in DocBook. Moving to a new architecture was a decidedly non-trivial undertaking--both technically and politically--so it is worth an inquiry as to the reasons for making that move.
DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) is an XML-based information architecture. DITA doesn’t reinvent the wheel – rather, it sets standards for known structuring requirements. One very attractive aspect of this architecture is its clear alignment to a structuring method that has proved itself for years in online documentation. The basis of this method is the division of the content into modules called TOPICS. Today, this structuring method is considered the ideal approach for the organisation of comprehensive contents. As with everything new, there are many questions about DITA.
In 2006, Business Objects faced a major challenge. How to migrate over 50,000 pages of unstructured non-topic based documentation it had acquired through rapid growth and acquisitions. The answer was to use DITA to standardize content creation, management, translation and publishing processes company-wide. In this short podcast, David Holmes talks about how he and his team migrated 50,000 unstructured pages to DITA. (DITA is an XML architecture that allows you to better single source your content.)
DITA enters a new phase this year with version 1.2. We'll learn about the big new features, such as keyref, and see them used in the latest DITA Open Toolkit. Attendees will know how to make use of new DITA 1.2 features using the DITA Open Toolkit. Attendees will understand key aspects of the new DITA 1.2 standard.
When you start working with DITA, there are some things that you may feel you need for traditional reasons that you won't find in DITA. Before you try to modify or specialize DITA, it may be worthwhile to rethink some technical writing practices that are outdated and not recommended today.
Tech writing has evolved into something quite different from what it was ten years ago when I first contemplated entering the field. It used to be that an English major and mastery of a style guide was enough to land a tech writing job, but these days employers are looking for technical expertise to go along with good writing and editing. I perused many of the job listings and found that knowledge of structured authoring and DITA are top preferences among employers in the technical writing field. So that’s why I set about to write a series of brief articles explaining what I’ve learned about DITA and how much I need to know in order to land a tech writing job.
Focuses on an overall process identification methodology and its eight phases, and documents both the technical and business processes undertaken to successfully launch the new CMS/TMS system, called GEM (Globalization and English Management System). Includes what CaridianBCT learned from previous efforts and describes the various approaches and pilot phase that were adopted to support the new GEM system in future efforts.
Enterprises looking to fast track their content strategy and minimize the risks of a big-bang initiative are choosing DITA–one of the most popular information models to suit today’s content–rich, multi-channel environment.
This paper, the second of a series, closes the loop by examining implementation issues from a technical perspective. It explores best practices within the five key steps of a successful transition.
This two-part series explores why DITA has created such a buzz in the content management arena, particularly among technical documentation teams--and how you can prepare for long-term DITA success.
A small documentation team working on a tight budget can now use the tool ecosystem enabled by the DITA standard to create the sophisticated content that previously required long and expensive projects. The author spent just nine person-weeks over three years to replace a custom XML system with a DITA system based on a combination of off-the-shelf software, authoring conventions, and custom scripts.
I'm starting to wonder whether the adoption rate of DITA and the DITA Open Toolkit is going to diverge. Widespread adoption of DITA leads to a a sort of herd effect with safety in numbers. Not so for the Open Toolkit.
DITA is an architecture. It is a collection of design principles that: is inclined heavily towards self-sufficient information modules; lets its basics to be inherited into derived classes; borrows its tags from HTML and XHTML.
In Part 1 of this series, I said DITA was about chunks and tags, and asked you to look at this user guide. My aim was to get you thinking in terms of topic types ("Hey, this table is a reference, what's it doing in the middle of a task topic"). In this post, I'll talk of writing your first DITA topic.
How do you develop a reuse strategy for DITA? A very good question. While there is no one-size-fits-all strategy, you can take a systematic approach to get there. Our approach has been one of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
DITA 101: Fundamentals of DITA for Authors and Managers (2009), by Ann Rockley, Steve Manning, and Charles Cooper, explains the open XML standard “that defines a common structure for content that promotes the consistent creation, sharing, and reuse of content.” According to Scott Abel, the book is “simple, easy to understand, and loaded with practical examples.” Provides a link to a free chapter, for your review.
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).
Single Sourcing reduces the need to create and maintain duplicate content, by enabling you to use existing “chunks” of content. This means you can have the same information in different publications, and you can have a library of existing content to re-use when you’re developing new documents.
When the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) emerged as a public standard for working with structured content, Content Technologies recognized its value. It also saw problems for companies trying to widely deploy an authoring architecture that requires XML experts and special tools. So the solution provider built DITA Exchange, which enables users to develop and publish DITA content using Microsoft® Office SharePoint® Server 2007. To make the process even easier, the company built an Office Business Application that enables any user to create DITA content within the Microsoft Office Word 2007 user interface. Because Content Technologies customers can roll out the authoring solution across the enterprise to simplify content reuse and maximize return on investment, the solution has received strong interest from many organizations.