Lightweight DITA at CMS/DITA North America 2013

Two weeks after the fact, I'm still processing stuff I learned at the conference. Over two and a half days with four tracks of presentations, there wasn't a single hour when I didn't want to be in at least two places at once.

I'm told there were over 350 attendees from 17 countries around the world, many of them new to DITA. The conference provided incredible depth of technical content, but will definitely need more introductory sessions or workshops next year as well to balance things out. The community is growing!

My own session, in the Emerging Technologies track, was well-attended. I was given a large room, and it was pretty full - I think I probably got about half the conference in there, and they weren't shy. When I turned to the first chart with actual markup showing, half a dozen hands shot up with questions, and I actually had to cut them short to get through the rest of the presentation. 

I don't think I've ever presented at this conference without having a good Q&A, but this was exceptional. I think lightweight DITA is hitting a real need in the DITA community. A few things I addressed in the Q&A (or in hallway conversations afterwards):

  • Customer authoring is as important, or even more important, than SME/developer collaboration
  • Learning and training content definitely needs to be in the picture
  • Although the current proposal does include a super-simple topic that disallows even list nesting, all the other out-of-thebox topic types will allow nested lists (with an option to turn off nesting through a pre-defined constraint)

I've already thought of a bunch of changes/additions I want to make to the charts, but I also want to get what's already there out for wider comment. So I've uploaded the charts to slideshare, and welcome comment back through the lightweight DITA communities I blogged about previously.

Slides here: 

Lightweight DITA discussion here:

I'm looking forward to talking more about lightweight DITA. I'm already seeing the proposa evolve in interesting directions as bring more perspectives to bear on it. And if I can find the time I'll post some more impressions of the conference and the sessions I attended.

Thanks to JoAnn Hackos and the folks at CIDM, as well as my fellow presenters and attendees, for a fantastic conference.

--Michael Priestley Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
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