A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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The Extensible Markup Language (XML) is an open, general-purpose specification for creating markup languages. Its primary purpose is to help information systems share structured data, particularly via the Internet, and it is used both to encode documents and to serialize data. It is used in a wide variety of technical communication document formats, including Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, XHTML, DITA, DocBook, and RSS, among others.



DITA Tools from A to Z   (PDF)

Introduces readers to the major DITA tools for editing, content and translation management, and publishing.

Doyle, Bob. Intercom (2008). Articles>Software>XML>DITA


A DITA Wizard

Two of the oft-quoted benefits of DITA, the Darwin Information Typing Architecture, are 'single-sourcing' and 'content re-use'. These benefits do not only apply to the commonly-accepted definition of technical documents, but to many other forms of documents from outside the technical communicator's realm.

Self, Tony. HyperWrite (2007). Articles>Documentation>XML>DITA


DITA--A Standard for TD?   (members only)

The abbreviation DITA stands for 'Darwin Information Typing Architecture', an information architecture based on XML. DITA is not a mere reinvention of the wheel: rather, it sets the standards for known structuring requirements. The most striking feature of this architecture is the clear orientation towards a technology for structuring, which has already proved its worth in online documentation.

Closs, Sissi. tekom (2006). Articles>Information Design>XML>DITA



The Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) is an XML-based, end-to-end architecture for authoring, producing, and delivering technical information. This architecture consists of a set of design principles for creating 'information-typed' modules at a topic level and for using that content in delivery modes such as online help, books, and Web sites.

Yahoo. Resources>Mailing Lists>XML>DITA


DITA: From the Perspective of Someone Actually Using It

In this podcast, Marlene Martineau of New Dawn Technologies explains why they adopted DITA, how they adopted it, the benefits they're experiencing, and the reasons why she'll never go back.

Martineau, Marlene. Tech Writer Voices (2008). Articles>Information Design>XML>DITA


DITA: Opportunities To Help Shape The Standard, Promote DITA Adoption, Develop Real-World Solutions

Want to get involved in the formation of one of the most important XML standards impacting content professionals? You can. And, you should. The folks at OASIS—the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards—have made it easy for just about anyone to participate.

Content Wrangler, The. Articles>Information Design>XML>DITA


DITA: What You Need To know about the Darwin Information Typing Architecture   (PDF)

The Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) is a hot topic among those who author, edit, deliver and manage content. But adopting a standard architecture is an important decision that requires up front research and knowledge of the pitfalls. Find out if DITA is right for your organization. Read this whitepaper to learn more (PDF).

Manning, Steve. Rockley Group, The (2005). Articles>Information Design>Metadata>XML



A gathering place for information about DITA.

ditamap.com. Organizations>Information Design>XML>DITA


Dither Scatterplots with XSLT and SVG

Use XSLT and SVG to offset points in X-Y scatterplots so they do not plot on top of each other.

O'Reilly and Associates (2005). Articles>Graphic Design>XML>SVG


Diverging Directions for Tech Comm: Social Media or Structured Authoring

Two powerful trends in tech comm seem to be moving in different directions: social media and structured authoring. I have used a wiki as my primary format for documentation for the past year and a half. I tried to corral a group of volunteer technical writers to edit and update the wiki, because I embraced the idea that collective intelligence beats the individual thinker in the long run. But even the most advanced wikis don’t have a structured authoring backend.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2011). Articles>Documentation>Information Design>XML


DocBook (SGML/XML)

The DocBook document type definition (DTD) was developed during the 1990s to provide an application independent method for creating computer documentation. Versions of the DocBook DTD have been created for both SGML and XML. You can create an embedded index in DocBook using index elements.

Brown, Fred. Allegro Time! (2001). Articles>Indexing>XML>DocBook


DocBook Basics and References

DocBook provides a system for writing structured documents using SGML or XML. It is particularly well-suited to books and papers about computer hardware and software, though it is by no means limited to them.

dpawson.co.uk. Books>Documentation>XML>DocBook


A DocBook Basics and References

DocBook is an easy-to-understand and widely used DTD. Dozens of organizations use DocBook for millions of pages of documentation, in various print and online formats, worldwide.

Walsh, Norman. dpawson.co.uk (2004). Books>Information Design>XML>DocBook


DocBook Demystification Howto

This howto attempts to clear the fog and mystery surrounding the DocBook markup system and the tools that go with it. It is aimed at authors of technical documentation for open-source projects hosted on Linux, but should be useful for people composing other kinds on other Unixes as well.

Raymond, Eric S. tldp.org. Articles>Documentation>XML>DocBook


DocBook for the Masses

Having new DocBook standards in place may do little to push adoption. An important factor in driving user adoption is the availability of software that implements the standard. It would be interesting to see whether big software companies would jump on the bandwagon...Unless the open-source community comes to the rescue!

Talbot, Fabrice. LiveTechDocs (2008). Articles>Documentation>XML>DocBook


DocBook Wiki   (Word)

DocBook is officially available as a [WWW] Document Type Definition (DTD) for both XML and SGML. It is unofficially available in other forms as well.

Docbook.org (2003). Resources>Documentation>XML>DocBook


DocBook: The Definitive Guide   (Word)

This book is designed to be the clear, concise, normative reference to the DocBook DTD. This book is the official documentation for the DocBook DTD.

Walsh, Norman and Leonard Muellner. Docbook.org (2003). Books>Documentation>XML>DocBook


Document (re)Presentation: Object-orientation, Visual Language, and XML   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article demonstrates how the combination of object-orientation and Horn's notions of visual language morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics may be used to analyze and describe the mapping of marked-up XML files onto user documents. The article also raises the question of whether—or to what extent—the coupling of object-orientation and visual language might be exploited more directly for design purposes in a document production paradigm based on XML.

Johnsen, Lars. Technical Communication Online (2001). Design>Content Management>XML>Metadata


Document Model Selection: Off-the-Shelf, Altered-to-Fit, or Bespoke?

Document Model selection is a key success factor in XML. Approaches include: adopting an existing model, modifying a model to meet your needs, and creating one to meet your needs. Advantages and disadvantages of each are discussed.

Usdin, B. Tommie. IDEAlliance (2004). Articles>Information Design>Standards>XML


Document Models and XML Vocabulary Building for Business Users

Our work presents an experiment with a modeling tool that captures domain knowledge in a fashion natural to business users while producing formal models for use in IT processes. We demonstrate the use of this tool for designing XML Schemas.

Spraregen, Susan L. and Douglas Lovell. IDEAlliance (2004). Articles>Information Design>Standards>XML


Documenting Schemas   (PDF)

The issue of documenting schemas—or any machine readable language—goes beyond simple additions of comments. Thereal challengeistocreateschemasthat arereadablebothdirectlybylookingat their sourcecodeandbydocumentation extraction tools.

van der Vlist, Eric. O'Reilly and Associates (2001). Articles>Information Design>XML>Documentation


Does Being Technical Matter? XML, Single Source, and Technical Communication   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

XML is a recent Web design language that will enable technical communicators to produce documentation that can reuse information and present it across multiple types of media for diverse audiences. However, little is understood about how XML will impact technical communication in terms of theory, academic research, and pedagogy. In this article, I argue that XML requires more interdisciplinary approaches toward the teaching and research of technical communication, particularly with respect to the integration of technical and rhetorical knowledge.

Sapienza, Filipp. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2002). Articles>Technology>Single Sourcing>XML


Doing It With XML

An introduction on using XML for web development, tools for editing XML, and how to use CSS or XSL to control the presentation and processing of XML.

Sall, Ken. WDVL (1999). Design>Web Design>XML


DOM, SAX and Standards - Where Now?

It's been 7 years and three "levels" since the first W3C DOM activity. XML and the way it is used has changed vastly over that time. DOM itself has moved from an API to access and manipulate an in-memory tree with no concept of namespaces, to an end to end XML technology, where parsing, modification of the tree (with the ability to check for validity with a schema as you go) and serialization are all specified.

Reakes, Gareth, Alberto Massari, Lucian Holland and Neil Graham. IDEAlliance. Articles>Web Design>Standards>XML


Don't CSS your XML

CSS should not be used to present homemade XML as web pages. You end up with nothing but style. Neither man nor machine can understand the structure of your document. CSS should only be used for widely supported XML applications like XHTML.

Tverskov, Jesper. Smack the Mouse (2004). Design>Web Design>CSS>XML



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