Is it posible to include variable-dynamic data?

I'm thinking to use DITA to generate technical (and safety) data sheet's for chemicals products. This documents are not too much big but there are about 30.000 products and 20 different languages.

Is it possible to include concepts that will be updated on the building process (e.g. color = red, list of ingredients, .... ).

Thanks in advance

Thanks to all for your comments and suggestions.

My doubts are well explained by Elliot in the following post:

How To Integrate Database Data with DITA Content (

Su-Laine: Do you know some example or tutorial on how to setup "the right software" to pulling in content from a database?

Warm regards


Your requirement to output data sheets in a large number of languages means that you are in a good position to benefit from systematizing your translation process.  I'm sure that you have been told that by keeping a single source in a format that is easy to systematically translate, you can gain substantial savings. If you set up an environment that can support DITA-based translations, you should be able to support all the document assembly features that you need.

DITA is ideally suited to technical information such as the information that appears in technical data sheets. You may feel a need to plan ahead for your layout requirements, since sometimes these sheets have highly customized layouts.

If you join OASIS, you can collaborate with others in the Machine Industry specialization subcommittee, which would be quite relevant for your needs. They have been working on enhancements that would improve the support for this sort of technical information in future releases of DITA.

You can see the subcommittee web site and the documents that are posted there for information on what they are working on.

Bruce Esrig, Information Architect

In general, DITA is good at dynamic stuff, but I don't think I understand your question completely. Can you elaborate more on what you need?

I am not sure if dita is only focused in user manuals and similar documents with more or less static information but my documents have several variables and lists specific to the product that must be updated on the fly, i.e, the manufacturer is static information for all documents, the distributor information can be filtered depending of the country where the product is introduced, but the code/reference of the product or its phys-chem properties must be read from a db and updated in the document. Is it possible?

DITA is certainly designed with those kinds of uses in mind. Filtering distributor information by country should be quite straightforward. You can, for example, set an attribute on this information indicating what country it is supposed to be from. Pulling in content from a database is certainly possible as well, if you have the right software set up.


Su-Laine Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
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