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I am a retired content engineer, and formerly used this blog to opine about the use of the W3C XML markup standard for developing and publishing intelligent, responsive content. But my second career is wet plate photography, which I document elsewhere. This legacy website address is:


The topicref element

A wallet stuffed with credit cards, gift cards, library cards.
Andrew Huff / Foter / CC BY-NC

Among the cards you carry with you daily, you are likely to have credit cards, loyalty cards, insurance and library cards, and more. Each one is associated by your name or other identifier to a member profile in a database. Besides your unique identifier, each profile of yours also records your level or role of membership in a group, your address, possibly some value or role that you represent to the respective group, among other data. A profile is a unique member record that describes how you relate to other members and to the group itself. You are a resource, and the profile is your resource description. And like a profile, a topicref is also a resource description. What kind of resource? Well, don’t let the name fool you. Topicref is DITA’s most versatile element!

The linkinfo element

One of the elements that is unique to the linklist structure is also one of the least understood: the linkinfo element. The DITA 1.2 Spec itself merely says that it lets you “place a descriptive paragraph after the links that are contained in a linklist element.” But a linklist already allows the title and desc elements to provide description, so how does this element add anything more to the design? Naturally, there is something more to this story, something we can trace from the foundations of human culture, as it were.  (more…)

Why DITA, especially “for the Web?”

Anyone can put their ideas on the Internet, but not everyone does it well. That’s because effective publishing must negotiate between conflicting strategies. On one hand, there’s the desire to push the most information to the most people in the most formats in the most languages. That’s a nice goal, but can you provide the right information in the right format in the right language to the right person at the right time?  Content that is personalized, easily found, appropriately scoped, and pleasant to interact with has a name: Adaptive Content. (more…)

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