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

Subject: Re: DITA possible for start-up/lone writer?
From: John Cornellier <jcornellier -at- abingdon -dot- oilfield -dot- slb -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2006 11:28:54 +0000

The two main reasons, as far as I know, to use DITA compared to another DTDs are:
* specialization
* topic maps

Specialization: You want to use a widely-adopted standard DTD so that you can use off-the-shelf publishing tools. E.g. you define your code as, say, codeblock, and have an off-the-shelf processor render it in monospace font. If you invent your own tags, then you have to invent your own rendering/tranforms/publishing.

But for a DTD to be a "widely adopted standard" it has to be all things to all people. So the would have to contain many, many tags. DocBook contains an insane number of tags.

DITA's idea is that rather than trying to be all things to all people, it is a [relatively] simple easy-to-learn model which is adaptable to everyone’s needs.

In DITA this is implemented as specialisation, which is conceptually similar to inheritance in the software programming world. To modify DITA, you add a tag. With most DTDs, if you add a new tag, and then give your resultant XML to someone else, their processors will hit this unknown tag and die. But with DITA, when you define a new tag, you not only give it a name, but you point to the "base" tag which is your new tag's parent.

This way if you throw your XML over the fence to someone, when they hit they new unknown tag, there is a behaviour they can revert to. E.g. you define a new tag called MyCodeBlock which is based on CodeBlock. If the processor's never heard of MyCodeBlock it just processes it like CodeBlock.

Topic maps: here the idea is that rather than having a top-down design based on a book, and filling in the bits, you have a bottom-up design based on chunks or topics. The topics are then bound together by a "topic map" which is something like a book in Framemaker, but more flexible.

Sorry to be wordy, I didn't have time to write the short version.

Broberg, Mats wrote:
>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.

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RE: DITA possible for start-up/lone writer?: From: Broberg, Mats

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