Jim Owens's blog

DITA adoption -- seven years later

DITA has come a long way in the seven years since my last blog post. There are more resources, more and better tools, and livelier discussions on the DITA user groups. Yet Tony Self's What's Impeding DITA Adoption?, written just two years ago, still has currency. Why?

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But why gain experience with DITA?

Some visitors to xml.dita.org may be wondering what all the fuss is about.  Presumably, they are looking for answers to their technical publication problems.  Is DITA right for them?

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Tools for gaining experience with DITA

To write in DITA for learning purposes, and then convert back to unstructured Frame for PDF and CHM generation, requires two tools and a modest investment of time.

One of the tools we're using is the FM_DITA Application Pack beta recently released by Adobe. With this, you can develop DITA topics, map them into documents, and then generate a book from the map.

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Learning DITA while maintaining unstructured documents

We need time and resources to identify new technologies and methods, evaluate them, and adopt the ones that show promise. At the same time, we need to continue developing and delivering information to customers using our traditional tools. Is there a way forward that offers minimal disruption to our current processes?

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Getting from here to there

This is the story of a typical software documentation shop. We use unstructured Frame and WebWorks.  We deliver PDF and CHM. We deliver in several languages. We deliver customized documents for different markets. We barely have enough time and people as it is -- and there are new products, languages, and markets on the way.

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