You might think of a DITA map as the Swiss Army Knife of lists. When you do a search on the web, you get back a list of topics that match that query. When you sort business cards from a conference by company or job title, you are creating a hierarchical list of people by that category. Similarly, a DITA map is basically a list of resources that fits a particular reading sequence and hierarchy, possibly one of many depending on how the information was organized. (more…)
Which element is not the most important element in DITA? Paradoxically, that would be the <dita> element. This element defines a container that can hold one or more DITA topics, but it has no formal meaning as a part of structured representation. You might use it to group several topics in a single file unit for ease of loading and working on in parallel, particularly when using file-based content in a word processor-based DITA editor such as FrameMaker or Simply XML or Quark XML Author. (more…)
I’ve had a long association with the DITA specification (more formally called the OASIS Darwin Information Typing Architecture). I’ve helped it evolve, from writing the first stylesheet that actually proved the feasibility of class-substring-based lookup to creating new applications of the architecture for dynamic DITA publishing. I used to imagine the day when DITA would be not only a new wave, but a virtual tsunami in the writing industry, but never expected the degree of traction the standard now has.
DITA per Day is my way of sharing my perspective on the standard, whether in explaining my own take on element usage or giving some insight on how certain elements or features came to be. I hope this personal look behind the curtains of this standard helps you in your use of DITA!
Banner photo: Sun Dog over Davis Springs, Canon 28mm LTM on Sony NEX-3, by Don R. Day
Ranking among the top XML technology leaders today, Don Day not only contributes to the success of individual projects and products, his influence can also be found on nearly every XML initiative in production. His efforts have resulted in multiple patents, official recognition for his contribution to re-engineering IBM’s information assets, and designation as an OASIS Distinguished Contributor for convening and leading the OASIS Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) Technical Committee. Don is well-known for advising and consulting on strategy, technology, and best practices for optimizing the value and usefulness of unstructured data. Don is a co-founder of Contelligence Group, which provides consulting and technology incubation.