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