About storing and managing content

DITA files can simply be kept in a file system, where it is important to observe best practices in naming files and file folders.

They can also be stored in a content management system (CMS).  Some CMS's store their files in a file system, but most keep the files in a database. Since DITA files are XML files, there may be an advantage to a CMS that uses a native XML database, though performance claims have been made for ordinary relational databases.


Following is a brief list of the major content management systems that provide specific support for DITA publishing. One of these is likely to be the way your DITA-structured content gets processed and published in multiple formats. DITA content management systems range in cost from several thousand dollars to a few hundred thousand dollars. Many can now be rented on a monthly basis, with no minimum contracts, for as little as a few hundred dollars per month. Software rental is known as SaaS, or software-as-a-service.


Astoria On Demand (www.astoriasoftware.com) builds, manages, and assembles dynamic, globalized DITA content from top DITA editors such as Arbortext, which have Internet access to the Astoria CMS. Astoria is SaaS.


AuthorIT (www.authorit.com) was doing single-source, reusable component content management long before DITA. Its help system output has made it a major help authoring tool. Its DITA support is idiosyncratic and controversial, but AuthorIT is widely used by tech writers, who will find it easy to move to DITA with AuthorIT’s familiar tool.


Bluestream XDocs (www.bluestream.com) is a low-cost CMS targeted at budget-conscious organizations. It offers integration for several editors, the DITA OT, and a native XML database.


DocZone (www.doczone.com) was the first hosted-only (SaaS) XML and single-source publishing solution. It features an integrated translation management system (TMS) from XML International.


IXIASOFT DITA CMS Framework (www.ixiasoft.com) features a native XML database CMS with XMetaL, <oXygen/>, and the XMAX Web-based editor. Users also benefit from a drag-and-drop ditamap editor, localization support, and a publishing engine.


Microsoft SharePoint (www.microsoft.com) is the underlying CMS for DITA solutions like Invision DITA Enterprise Suite (www.invisionresearch.com) and DITA Exchange  (www.ditaexchange.com).


PTC Arbortext Content Manager (www.ptc.com) is a version of PTC Windchill, now an integral component of the PTC Dynamic Publishing System, which also includes Arbortext Editor and the Arbortext publishing engine.


SiberLogic SiberSafe (www.siberlogic.com) includes semantic knowledge modeling technology, a novel method for tagging and retrieving content components using an inference engine to identify the meaning of each component.


Trisoft Infoshare (www.trisoft.be) features out-of-the-box full DITA support, integration with DITA editors and publishing engines, built-in translation management, and a link manager.


Vasont (www.vasont.com) includes a visual user interface that lets editors access Vasont’s functionality from the main menu of XML editors, including Arbortext, FrameMaker, XMetaL, and Word. Multilingual translation management.


X-Hive Docato (www.x-hive.com) offers a DITA Starter Kit preconfigured for DITA schemas. It is the CMS offered as a hosted SaaS by DocZone.


XyEnterprise Contenta (www.xyenterprise.com) was the first reusable component-based content management system. It is used primarily by very large corporate publishing operations.

In some cases (e.g. in a smaller company), a stand-alone component management system does make sense.

But as many lager corporations do already use a PLM system for the management of their engineering data, it is definitely worth it to consider these systems for the management of DITA content and product documentation.

Strength of a PLM system:

  • Explicit data management
  • Well-defined workflows and release processes
  • Exact management of user rights

Benefits of using PLM for content management:

  • All product related data (e.g. requirements, designs, images, product documentation, …) can be store in only one system
  • No additional CMS is needed.
  • Reduction of IT costs
  • Harmonized IT landscape
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Available solutions:
Today, all main PLM systems offer special add-on for editing, managing and publishing of DITA content. Some examples are:

  • PTC´s Arbortext for PTC Windchill (already listed above
  • TechPub Studio for Siemens Teamcenter
  • XPLM Publisher for Oracle Agile PLM
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