Kay Whatley's blog

DITA: It's elementary

In doing some training recently, I've found that there are some specific things about structured writing, topic-based authoring, and DITA that can seem foreign to some.  I'm working at writing these ideas and logical concepts in a straightforward, beginning level tutorial.

I'd be interested in hearing from those who are struggling with learning DITA writing techniques.  If you are looking for some basic, descriptive info, please email me.  I will send you a draft and would love to have your feedback.

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Converting FrameMaker content to DITA (brief)

FrameMaker 8 includes DITA support, and works well for creating new content.  Converting existing FrameMaker content poses a few challenges.  One of these challenges, converting FrameMaker cross references to Structured FrameMaker cross reference elements, is addressed herein.

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DITA is not a PITA

When moving to structured authoring, DITA is working out to be less of a pain in the a** (PITA) than other options. The reason for this is that many of the tools have DITA support built in.

If you move to structured authoring and choose to make your own custom structure, there is set up you will need to do to get your tools publishing.  While all authoring tools require some kind of set up, I'll use FrameMaker as an example.  With a custom designed structure in FrameMaker, an EDD has to be created, the DTD or schema saved and adjusted, read/write rules written, and a Structured Application set up.  For DITA, FrameMaker's EDD, DTD, rules, and application are already built into the software.  So, with some tweaking of the FrameMaker DITA template (to look the way your docs are supposed to look) you can be up and running fairly quickly.

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One of the cool things about DITA is how applicable it is to multiple types of docs.  Lots of documents can be authored in a topic-oriented way, whether user guides or training guides or online help or ... whatever.

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