MP: STC 2007 Day 3

Day 3 kicked off with the DITA TC meeting, phoning in from my hotel room - we completed our disposition of features for 1.2 versus 1.3, and approved the creation of a new Semiconductor subcommittee, led by Bob Beims of Freescale. I know this has been in the makings for quite some time, kudos to Bob for pulling it together.

In the afternoon, Robert Anderson and I presented our DITA Evolves presentation, including an overview of how DITA is being adapted to a range of different requirements, and allows projects to preserve their investment in content and reuse through standardized content and reuse mechanisms, even as their requirements and tools change over time. Robert finished with a demo of the DITA toolkit, including the new-with-1.1 DITA bookmap. I think we had about 150 people in the audience, and there was good Q&A with a lot of personal follow-ups, so I think it went well.

Before the session started, I asked my standard question about how many of the audience have heard of DITA, use DITA, use DITA beyond the pilot project stage: I remember asking this question at a workshop in 2004, and only a couple of people in the audience were using DITA (one of them Adobe) - both of them a surprise to me. Since I generally only find out who's using DITA if they publish a case study or come to a conference, I often find it difficult to judge the adoption rate. So it was gratifying to see that all the audience had now heard of DITA, and about half were currently using it (a smaller number - say ten or so - were beyond the pilot). Someone who came up afterwards to talk about bookmap was one of those ten or so full users, from a company I didn't know was using DITA, although I'd certainly heard of them (I forgot to ask her permission to blog about her company's usage, so I'm being a bit cagey here - let's just say her company is a major animation company whose films you've probably seen). I wish there were some way to get a more accurate picture of who's using DITA and how, because that would certainly help guide both the DITA technical committee and the vendor community in how we continue to develop DITA and the tools to support it. Maybe we could start with an in-depth poll of the dita-users mailing list - I'll try to save that thought for June (I'm off for a couple of rambling weeks in England and France before X-Pubs, so I'll be off the radar for a while).

In the evening was the STC awards banquet - I sat with the Southern Arizona Chapter, which won the award for its chapter size, which was wonderfully well-deserved. Then we all went to the reception, and I did things on the dance floor that have probably blown my back and my credibility for at least six months.

--MP in Toronto, post-Minneapolis Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
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