Revision of But why gain experience with DITA? from Tue, 2006-12-12 22:00

Some visitors to may be wondering what all the fuss is about.  Presumably, they are looking for answers to their technical publication problems (unless they have come here accidentally while enquiring into Ms. von Teese's burlesque entertainments).  Is DITA right for them?

For anyone asking that question, my recommendation is to read Anne Rockley's Managing Enterprise Content. This book doesn't say much about DITA, but it does frame very effectively all the questions you need to ask before you reach a decision. I borrowed it from the library and read it cover to cover. There were parts I almost skipped, and I'm glad I didn't. After I finished it, I bought my own copy.  

When you systematically analyze your corporate information requirements, you will have a clearer idea of what problems you need to solve, how you can do it, what the benefits will be, and how much it will cost. Then -- if you decide to go ahead --  you can think about your information structure, and whether you can leverage DITA to develop it.

What sets DITA apart from other structures is leverage. Faced with the choice of developing your own structure from scratch (a Herculean task, if not a Sisyphean one), or molding your requirements to a prefabricated structure like DocBook, you may find DITA appealing. It promises to solve 90 per cent of your needs right away, while leaving the door wide open for customization and future interoperability.

I say "promises" and "90 per cent." Be forewarned: the corollary phrases are "actually" and "10 per cent" (aka "perspiration"). DITA is still growing, and it has growing pains. But given the current alternatives, I'm on board. Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
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