DITA Newsletter 1.6

Features in this issue (see the web version at www.ditanewsletter.com)

DITA User Group Meetings

Boston DITA Users Group

The next Boston DITA Users Group will be in February.

Monday February 10 6:30 (networking), 7:00 (presentation):.
Eliot Kimber will present his "DITA Quick Start"

Place: Probably IBM Research Lab
Cambridge, MA
Check the Boston DUG page for details.


Central Texas DITA Users Group

Wednesday January 23, 2007 7:00 - 9:00 pm Central CST:.
Ann Gentle of BMC will speak on "What does DITA have to do with Wiki? — Part 1"

During the September 2007 meeting, an ultra-condensed overview of topics discussed during the 2007 Best Practices Conference revealed an area of strong interest in the CTDUG community: is there a way to use Wikis to capture DITA content? Anne Gentle of www.justwriteclick.com fame is putting together a two-session deep-dive into this exciting area of expertise. Watch this space for more details!

Research Triangle Park DITA Users Group

Wednesday, January 23 at 5:30-6:30 PM

The RTP DUG is being revived. They will meet at

Place: Systems Documentation, Inc.
1005 Slater Road, Suite 220
Durham, NC, 27703

Contact Kris Eberlein (keberlein at sdicorp.com) for more information.

Silicon Valley DITA Interest Group

Wednesday, January 9 at 7:00pm PST:

An introduction to the new DITA Troubleshooting specialization, presented by Carolyn Henry and Dan Dionne of IBM.

Open Toolkit User Guide 1.4.1 Available

Anna van Raaphorst and Dick Johnson have completed the latest version of their OT User Guide. They have posted it (in PDF and CHM) on their website VR Communications.

The OT User Guide is a must read for those installing their own version of the Open Toolkit.

Michael Priestley Online DITA Course

The online course will run from February 4 to March 21. It consists of pre-recorded lectures and demonstrations with assignments, workshops, and discussion, covering:

  • Background to DITA: XML, topic-based authoring, and the DITA standard
  • The DITA content types: concept, task, reference, and glossary
  • DITA maps: how to use maps to plan your information, organize your topics, and manage links and metadata for your deliverables, as part of a task-oriented information architecture and process
  • DITA conditional processing and content reuse
  • DITA specialization: how to create new content types and maps using DITA's specialization architecture
  • Futures of DITA: explore the potential of DITA in Web 2.0, enterprise content strategy, lifecycle and cross-discipline integration

Tuition is $553.50USD. For enrollment details, go to UC Extension in Silicon Valley.

Eliot Kimber Quick Start Tutorial

Presented at the XML 2007 conference in Boston. Recorded, encoded, and available at DITA Users Tutorials.

This tutorial provides a quick start introduction to the DITA specification with a focus on how to create and process DITA-based content as well as key DITA concepts including modular writing, re-use, linking using maps and relationship tables, and specialization. At the end of the class students will be prepared to evaluate the applicability of DITA to their own documentation and publishing requirements and start experimenting with the authoring and production of DITA-based content using any XML editor and the DITA Open Toolkit.

Quicktime files are large, so they may take some time for progressive downloads to start playing.

While watching the video, open the Powerpoint in a separate window to see the slides perfectly. You then can advance the slides when Eliot does, or navigate them separately.

Download Powerpoint slides

Powerpoint Demonstrations - Q&A

Bluestream XDocs at 1.1 release

Bluestream announced the 1.1 version of their XDocs XML CMS.

Gershon L Joseph, Director of Technology and Single Sourcing Tech-Tav Documentation Ltd., and Secretary, OASIS DITA Technical Committee, Secretary, OASIS DITA Translation Subcommittee, said, “We have thoroughly reviewed XDocs 1.1 and are very impressed with its maturity and stability. The team producing XDocs understands their target market and has fine-tuned their product to provide a powerful system that authors find intuitive and easy-to-use. We’ve found that publishing performance far exceeds that of most other CMS products. DITA support is truly built into the product, making XDocs a very serious out-of-the-box DITA CMS solution.”

DITA Exchange 1.9

DITA Exchange announced th latest release of their solution, which implements the DITA standard on top of the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS) and is sold on a per seat per month basis as a SaaS solution or as an internal solution.

DITA Exchange operates in a complete browser-based environment thereby lowering the entry barrier for SME's. Nobody needs to understand XML or DITA to write meaningful DITA content in DITA Exchange. The average training required is 4-8 hours depending on the type of user.

Mif2Go revision 50

Omni Systems announced that Mif2Go is at revision 50.

Mif2Go was praised on the dita-users mailing list for converting legacy documents. Labeling headings with "concept", "task" is not necessary if you use MIF2Go to convert unstructured FM content to DITA: MIF2Go can determine the correct infotype automatically, based on the styles used in the "body" section of the topic. For example, if you have a Heading2 followed by steps, MIF2Go will convert this to a task topic. Pretty nifty! (Yves Barbion)

DITA Users Memberships Now Free

The DITA Users international membership organization now provides basic online DITA editing and a personal workspace folder for free.

The full $100/year membership will include the choice of the leading book on DITA or a desktop DITA Editor to complement the web-based DITA Storm editor.

The book (a $50 value) is JoAnn Hackos' Introduction to DITA - either the original edition by Kylene Bruski and Jennifer Linton or the new Arbortext Edition.

The desktop editor is the $48 Academic Edition of the <oXygen/> XML Editor, now at version 9 with full DITA support.

Desktop editors communicate with web servers via FTP or WebDAV (distributed authoring and versioning). DITA Users can now WebDAV enable individual members' workspace folders.

Most DITA authoring tools offer WebDAV, some as a premium only available in their Enterprise Editions (for example, Syntext Serna and XMLmind).

DITA Users still offers a $50 discount membership without the book or desktop editor. Benefits include a WebDAV enabled folder and discounts on major DITA conferences.

Anyone with a WebDAV-enabled DITA authoring tool can use it on their DITA Users document sets. These include two docsets from IBM and the docset from Comtech Services in the Introduction to DITA book. They can also create their own projects.

Practically speaking, anyone already invested in an advanced DITA authoring tool may be beyond the need for the "DITA from A to B" learning offered by DITA Users. But the new access method may make online training valuable for small tech pub groups who can now use their familiar tools (like Arbortext Editor or XMetaL Author) on the DITA Users website, as well as use innovative tools like the web-based DITA Storm, while their teams get started with DITA.

In any case, DITA Users member fees underwrite our network of DITA support websites, including this newsletter. So please consider joining today.

About DITA Newsletter

DITA Newsletter is published by DITA News, one of a network of websites in support of DITA. It is available online at www.ditanewsletter.com.

Each of our websites is optimized for some community-oriented function.

DITA Users - helping members get started with topic-based authoring using a web-based editor (DITA Storm), the Open Toolkit on the server, a personal workspace folder on the web with three starter DITA docsets, and a private member directory to locate other DITA Users.

DITA Infocenter - the DITA architectural and language specifications, and the Open Toolkit User Guide, in an Eclipse Help format.

DITA News - a blog aggregator, a mailing list, and this newsletter on DITA.

DITA Blog - a group blog for DITA information developers (based on WordPress).

DITA Wiki - over 600 pages of resources in a format that encourages comments and discussions (based on MediaWiki).

Please consider joining DITA Users today. Membership is $100USD/year and includes your choice of either: Introduction to DITA by JoAnn Hackos or an Academic License to the <oXygen/> XML Editor, with WebDAV access to your workspace folder on DITA Users.

Your membership fee supports our network of websites, including this newsletter. Discounts on DITA conferences and workshops more than offset your annual membership fee


Bob Doyle
Editor In Chief, CMS Review - http://www.cmsreview.com
Founder, DITA Users - http://www.ditausers.org
Former Technology Advisor, CM Pros - http://www.cmprofessionals.org/membership/cm-profiles/bob-doyle
Contributing Editor, EContent Magazine -
President and CEO, skyBuilders - http://www.skybuilders.com
77 Huron Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
Tel: +1 617-876-5676 Skype:bobdoyle
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