DITA for Help

Self on Help

Thoughts from the OASIS DITA Help Subcommittee Chair

It has been a few months since the DITA Help sub-committee of the DITA TC was formed, with me as chair and Stan Doherty as secretary. Murphy's Law has seen to it that I have been flat out busy ever since, and I haven't had the chance to put some heavy work in yet. One of my roles is as a lecturer at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne. We are moving the Graduate Certificate in Technical Communication programme online next year (2008) through Open Universities Australia. I have been co-ordinating this project, and that has been all-consuming. I have also spent a lot of time this year introducing a new Structured Authoring subject for the more advanced Graduate Diploma programme. Anyway, the university year is now over, and some time has now been freed up for me. I hope to devote that time to the DITA Help SC.

The aims of the DITA Help SC are to:

  • develop a top-level design for authoring of Help systems and user assistance content for implementation using DITA;
  • establish recommendations for the integration of DITA-authored Help systems and software applications using context-sensitivity;
  • remove the obstacles to effective use of DITA for Help systems through the creation of best practice guidelines, cookbooks and worked examples, and to promote the use of DITA for creating Help systems and user assistance content;
  • develop informal support for processing DITA for delivery as Help systems and user assistance;
  • establish guidelines that promote best practices for applying standard DITA approaches to Help systems and user assistance content. The deliverables of the DHSC will be:
  • recommendations to the DITA TC for specification changes to better support Help systems and user assistance content;
  • a high-level processing model description that defines the standard use of DITA for Help systems and user assistance content;
  • explanations and guidelines for the use of DITA for Help systems and user assistance content.  
I will be using this blog to note progress and developments. Please feel free to track this blog if you're interested in Help and user assistance.
XML.org Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
OASIS sites: OASIS | Cover Pages | XML.org | AMQP | CGM Open | eGov | Emergency | IDtrust | LegalXML | Open CSA | OSLC | WS-I