(Still a)live from DITA 2006 (post-workshop)

After a rocky start with technical difficulties on the projector front, did get going - lots of questions, a very interactive audience. I'm always happy when there's lots of questions, because I think that's the real value of having me there in person as opposed to reading an article or listening to a recording. Unfortunately the slow start combined with such active interest did mean I fell behind and scrambled a bit in the afternoon, trying to jam all the DITA map and information architecture content into just a couple of hours, at the expense of coherence and of the schedule (I ended up running a good hour or so over the original closing time).

The good news is people generally seemed happy with the overall result. The bad news is that I don't think I did the best job on the map authoring explanation, which is simultaneously the trickiest and I think the most rewarding part of working with DITA. I did point people to some of the existing resources, such as the DITA deepdive on maps at http://xml.coverpages.org/dita.html#DITADeepDive (hidden in deepdive #2), Kylene Bruski's excellent article on DITA map reltables at http://www.infomanagementcenter.com/enewsletter/200511/second.htm, my own case study of DITA map usage at http://xml.coverpages.org/dita.html#PriestleyACMSIGDOC-2003-DITA, as well as the relevant sections of the OASIS DITA specs (architectural and language specs both have sections on DITA maps).

I need to get those links added to the knowledge base as well. Anyone else have resources they'd recommend?

I also mentioned the DITA Users Guide from ComTech Services, purchasable at http://www.comtech-serv.com/dita.shtml, and also the IBM DITA Users Guide, which is badly out of step with the open-source toolkit, and languishing for lack of a maintainer in the depths of the DITA Open Toolkit project. That said, we may have recruited a maintainer from the workshop, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed hoping it will work out.

Nearly got the URLs finalized for the recorded two-day workshop from December, so if you missed this one, you'll soon have the dubious option of listening to me on a .wmv recording for 16 hours instead. The bad news is you can't ask questions. The good news is you can fast-forward through my boring parts.

After the workshop some of us went out for dinner, although what started as a party of twelve or so ended up being a party of six - so my apologies to anyone else from the workshop who showed up that we somehow missed (the restaurant was rather large, and the cigar smoke probably reduced visibility).

Finally, Scott Abel was at the workshop, and has posted about it on his blog: http://www.thecontentwrangler.com/

From DITA 2006,


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