Better Contracts and Proposals with DITA

Most organizations that regularly produce contracts or proposals should consider using XML, and in particular the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA). Why? These documents use the same or similar sections over and over again, with enough variations — such as customer names and select clauses — to become the basis of expensive horror stories when mistakes are made as a result of search-and-replace or copy-and-paste errors. New technologies based on DITA can significantly reduce the risk of mistakes, while saving time and stress for staff as well.

Consider the common scenario of using the same basic contract or proposal for different customers. In this scenario, the only difference between one document and another is the customer information, such as name, address, and account numbers. These documents are typically created with a word processor. First you use the “Save As” command to create the new contract from an earlier contract. Then you use search-and-replace commands to update the contract with the new customer’s personal information. Finally, you curse silently when you discover the new contract includes information about the earlier customer...

Read the complete article by Su-Laine Yeo in CIO. Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
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