Is your content modular?

Is your content created in small chunks/topics?

Modularity encourages you to think of your content creation as an assembly line operation. Large content structures are built from modular components.

XML content management systems have enabled modularity for years. Individual elements can be pulled from the XML by XQuery and XPath and then deployed in highly specific publishing instances.

Personalization of content, for example, requires a modular design.

XML is migrating back to the beginning of the content-creation process. DITA is the "last, great hope" for a documentation markup language that is easier to use than complex SGML (Standard Generalizee Markup Language).

Authors are being asked to write modular content components that can be assembled in many different ways by the dynamic publishing engines. Many decades ago Ted Nelson, who named hypertext, imagined that bits of text could be “transcluded,” pulled in from their original source documents to assemble new documents, complete with a link back to that single source. Now the most sophisticated publishing systems can identify every content component and connect it back to its source, back to an author who could be pictured as working on a writers’ assembly line.

How do components get assembled? Imagine an owner’s manual for your new car personalized with your exact options. Then imagine the mechanic who enters your VIN and prints out the customized service manual for your particular car. That is single-sourced modular content.

Rather than writing long narratives, assembly line writers now author stand-alone topics that can be assembled by a component CMS.

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