DITA Help Forum at WritersUA Conference

Self on Help

Thoughts from the OASIS DITA Help Subcommittee Chair

Last week at the WritersUA Conference in Portland, I chaired a "Developing Help with DITA" forum alongside Alan Houser, Matthew Ellison and Scott Prentice (all on the DITA Help Sub Committee). There was a lot of interest from delegates (the majority of whom are Help authors) in using DITA, although most are only 'testing the water'.

The consensus amongst the group was that the features we've come to expect in user assistance should be provided by a DITA-based solution. Those features include indexes, glossaries, and layering. It also became obvious that a reference implementation of DITA for Help systems would be tremendously useful, and that will definitely be something the subcommittee will develop.


A reference implementation of DITA for (multilingual) Help systems is a great idea! Another important feature to consider here is context-sensitivity, and particularly efficient and fast ways to insert the context-sensitive "hooks" in the source content.

The ability to generate context-sensitive WebHelp (not HTMLHelp) directly from DITA source content is still the missing link in the Open Toolkit.


Yves Barbion

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