Re: DITA: Fifteen(+) years old #history

Michael Priestley

Information architecture was part of DITA's original requirements - tying link management and navigation management to a common structural guide (DITA maps). That one I think we got mostly right, at least at the microsite level. I've got thoughts about DITA at the larger site level, where I think the standard is not necessarily a barrier, but maybe the way we're using it sometimes is.

One place where the promise hasn't panned out (yet, at least) is direct integration with web tech. At the time, XML was beginning to be supported for direct rendering in browsers, and that was definitely a trend we expected to continue. We hoped DITA might one day be a native web format, and direct rendering in the browser was one of our first use cases.

That said, we haven't given up on that yet - LWDITA's HDITA format is HTML5-valid, and still pursuing that dream.

Michael Priestley, Senior Technical Staff Member (STSM)
Information Architect, Marketing Analytics

From:        "Kristen James Eberlein" <kris@...>
Date:        2019/11/21 09:10 AM
Subject:        [EXTERNAL] Re: [dita-users] DITA: Fifteen(+) years old
Sent by:

Thanks for responding, Rudolfo.
I'm interested in trying to tease out how well DITA has answered the business requirements it was designed to address (some of which I think we take for granted in 2019) and what new things have emerged over the past 15 years.
Requirement DITA designed to address
I think of the following; can others add to the list?
  • Multichannel publishing
  • Effective reuse
  • Efficient, lower-cost translation
  • Ease of sharing source content with business partners
  • Expense of developing and maintaining proprietary XML grammars and the tools to work with them
Developments NOT on peoples mind 15-20 years ago
I can think of the following; can others add to the list?
  • Rise of Git and DevOps
  • Trend towards continuous integration
  • Development new career roles: Information architect, Metadata specialist
How well has DITA lived up to its promises?
Fairly well, I think. I do lack data and a method to quantify it. (Any ideas, here?)
One thing that I think have been extremely successful is growth of a very rich environment of DITA tools:
  • Editors
  • CCMS
  • Quality analysis and control applications
  • PDF rendering engines
  • Delivery platforms
  • Translation utilities
Yes, I do wish that there were more alternatives to DITA-OT -- and that more people contributed to DITA-OT! Folks might want to take a look at the video of my 2016 presentation at DITA-OT Day:
Hoping to hear from others in our community ...

Kristen James Eberlein
Chair, OASIS DITA Technical Committee
Principal consultant, Eberlein Consulting
+1 919 622-1501; kriseberlein (skype)

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