DITA versus HAT

Subject: DITA versus HAT
From: Andrew Harvie <withanie -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 5 Jun 2012 13:38:00 -0300

G'day.

I've spent the last few years using one of the standard
help-authoring programs - one that doesn't include any DITA awareness.
For the past few days, I've been researching DITA because my nerdy
side just loves the idea of structure, metadata, organization...

What I've found so far has left me feeling a bit bemused. It's as if
I've stumbled through a time warp, back to the late 1980's. I have
write Ant scripts in order to have anything other than the standard
ugly output? Use the Microsoft Help Compiler after running the DITA
transform in order to add index references and context sensitive
mapping ID values to my CHM output? (I saw in a Scriptorium webcast
that they're charging pretty good dollars for a improved DITA to PDF
transform. That implies a high level of difficulty in order to
customize the transformation scripts.)

One thing I have noticed is that many of the DITA references that
I've found on the web, date back to 2007 or before. Perhaps someone
out there has created a help-authoring tool that allows you to work in
a native DITA environment (not just import DITA files) _and_ provides
all of the output-beautification features that one expects in a modern
help authoring tool? Anyone?

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