RE: DITA possible for start-up/lone writer?

Subject: RE: DITA possible for start-up/lone writer?
From: "Broberg, Mats" <mabr -at- flir -dot- se>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 3 Mar 2006 09:22:33 +0100


You may want to look into DocBook, or any other well-supported
DTD/Schema, instead of DITA.

I've created modular and highly complex technical documentation in XML
for several years - ported to PDF and HTML Help using a simplistic DTD
called FlexDTD. I reuse and repurpose modules as small as individual
paragraphs up to as large as whole chapters. In 21 languages. My
documentation is also topic-based (I'm using a adapted version of
Information Mapping) and I can reuse and repurpose these topics anywhere
I want.

I still don't quite grasp all the hot air with DITA, and what you can
achieve with DITA that you can't achieve with any other DTD/Schema.

Best regards,
Mats Broberg
Technical Documentation Manager

Joe Malin wrote:
> Hi!
> I am looking for experiences and advice about using DITA from
> tech writers who are familiar with real success stories.
> I'm the only tech writer here at TuVox, a 70-person startup.
> I am seriously considering using DITA as the basis of a
> single-source structured documentation environment. The
> reasons I want single-source and structure are
> * re-use, to avoid duplication
> * multi-channel delivery: ability to re-structure help systems
> into documents
> * localization/customization: ability to tailor documentation to
> individual customers
> * quick, iterative delivery: respond quickly to emerging needs
> From what I know of DITA, I think it matches these
> requirements pretty well.
> I know XML and I've used it with structured FM since
> FM6+SGML. I'm also familiar with the conversion issues. I'm
> technically savvy (I'm a former software engineer). However,
> I don't know everything there is to know about DITA or XSLTs.
> Does it make sense for a lone writer in a startup to use
> DITA? Will I need lots of high-priced consultant help? Am I
> walking into a morass? I have to tell you that I think DITA
> would help us, but I'm *really* unfamiliar with trying to
> pioneer such an idea in a small company that wants to save
> money anywhere it can.
> Joe
> TuVox, Inc.

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