Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie

Subject: Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie
From: beelia <beelia -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: kafkascampi <kafkascampi -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2014 18:00:28 -0800

It's a very long way to go by yourself unless you have a lot of time and a
supportive engineering team who know what DITA is and what it can do for
the company. Some engineering-oriented start-ups that are XML-centric will
encourage and support you to use DITA, but most won't. For a small
organization, it's usually like swatting a mosquito with an AK-47. Managers
who want things done quickly and efficiently won't have the patience for it.

The best way to get trained is on the job. If you enjoy information
architecture and want to go in that direction in your career, by all means
go the Open Toolkit route. Otherwise, just learn enough by reading the
books Tony cited to get familiar with the concepts, so you can show a
hiring manager that you have the chops to learn the job. It gets boring to
do the same processes day after day, so some doc managers I know are keep
losing writers who want to do other things.

Most writers who are in DITA organizations use an elaborate framework that
has already been set up professionally to give good publishing and results,
especially for localized documentation. In my last company, we had to spend
months coming up to speed - the processes you have to learn are quite
intricate. For localization, you have to pre-select every single version of
every file and support it with all the right components, and it can get
quite hairy if you are sharing those topics with other writers.

It's not easy. When I finally got my docs localized, I felt like I'd run a
marathon.

In my current company, the writers don't go the whole way to publishing the
docs and doing the localizing themselves. It's probably easier, but also
probably less satisfying. I always want to see a document I've written, not
just feed content into the CMS's maw.

Fortunately, I still get to use Flare and Lingo, despite the fact that I
work in a big company. Don't ask me how that happened - I figure it's all
because I built up good karma in a previous life..:-0

Cheers

Bee


On Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 5:10 PM, kafkascampi <kafkascampi -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

> About DITA and large companies--I am a lone writer and author all of our
> docs in DITA (well, some in Docbook). I'd argue that for a small company,
> the benefits of DITA are still quite valid: Separating design from content,
> easing translation costs, maximizing reusability, writing for minimalism.
> And you're ready to build out your doc set in a scalable way when Facebook
> buys you for 18 billion.
>
> Personally, I got started at dita.xml.org, downloading hte Open Toolkit,
> reading a bunch of stuff about the solution, and then attending a Hackos
> class on it. Even if you don't end up going that way, it's a good thing to
> understand a solution that has gained a real foothold in the industry.
>
> cheers
>
> Chris
>
>
> On Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 10:51 AM, Tony Chung <tonyc -at- tonychung -dot- ca> wrote:
>
> > And to add to Robert's insight:
> >
> > Most smaller companies who ask for "DITA" in a job description really
> have
> > no clue what it is, let alone what it's used for. They also want experts
> in
> > the DITA domain who can transfer all their existing processes into their
> > workflow. But it doesn't work that way. Unless the organization and
> culture
> > get behind the concept of topic-based single-source authoring, a DITA
> > implementation will fail.
> >
> > Kind of similar to Agile methodology. If an organization does not embrace
> > collaboration and user-based scenarios, they can't claim to be Agile.
> >
> >
> > For Hannah, I've heard that some of the easy entries are DITA 101 by the
> > Rockley Group, Practical DITA by Julio Vasquez, and DITA for
> Practitioners
> > by Eliot Kimber. But you really need to find what works for you based on
> > what you already know.
> >
> > Here's a list of some DITA resources:
> > http://dita.xml.org/resource-directory
> >
> > It would be nice to find a version of this list that was scaled toward
> > level of understanding vs resource format.
> >
> > -Tony
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 9:38 AM, Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com
> > >wrote:
> >
> > >
> > > You'd be unlikely to need DITA skills outside of a large company.
> > >
> > > On Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 5:47 AM, Hannah Drake <hannah -at- formulatrix -dot- com>
> > > wrote:
> > > > Bee, good point.
> > > >
> > > > Actually, I'm relatively new to the field and have seen various
> > articles
> > > > and discussion on DITA but still can't find a good entry point to
> begin
> > > to
> > > > understand what it is. Does anybody have any recommended resources?
> > > >
> > > > Thanks in advance.
> > >
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> >
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Follow-Ups:

References:
Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: W. Michael Webster
Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: Gene Kim-Eng
RE: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: McLauchlan, Kevin
Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: Robert Lauriston
Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: Tony Chung
Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: Scott Turner
Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: Scott Turner
Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: beelia
Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: Hannah Drake
Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: Robert Lauriston
Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: Tony Chung
Re: Question from a re-virginized newbie: From: kafkascampi

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