Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) migration to DITA #migration #samples


Hi all,

I just noticed that GSA has moved the FAR to DITA - see the "XML" download link, which uses a DITA icon:

Searching for more info, I found this:

I've pasted the text of this Adobe article in below, to save folks a click.  


Adobe DITA World 2018 – Day 1 Summary, by Danielle M. Villegas, 10-11-2018

Large and in Charge: How the US General Services Administration (GSA) uses DITA and the flexibility of Adobe FrameMaker to deliver content faster

Tom Aldous of The Content Era continued the event with his talk about his project with the U.S. GSA (General Services Administration), which is one of the largest government agencies in the U.S. and how it uses DITA and the flexibility of FrameMaker to deliver content faster. The GSA is an agency that manages government buildings, real estate, provides product and service procurement supplier information, and develops policies and regulations, the latter of which was the focus of this project.

The GSA was prompted to find a solution to manage the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) used to codify uniform policies that are delegated to the Department of Defense, GSA, and NASA. The Federal Acquisition Policy Division writes and revises the FAR to implement laws, executive orders, other agency regulations, and government-wide policies. The focus was on finding something that would help with speed and cost to implement and create huge consistencies across many agencies and departments.

Over 1700 pages of acquisition regulations with thousands of internal and external cross-references needed to be converted, and the GSA found that using FrameMaker was easier to move from Word because FrameMaker handles DITA directly out of the box, so it’s easier to customize templates.

FAR migration needed to take unstructured FrameMaker to Structured FrameMaker, and it needed to figure out how to make that conversion. FrameMaker was able to XSL and ExtendScript/JavaScript conversions to make functionality possible.

DITA was chosen as the preferred method as the GSA did not want to be application vendor locked, so using FrameMaker was the best tool. DITA XML is a standard with flexibility which helped with specialization. As a result, published PDFs needed to match the publications that were put out before the transition. It was all about speed! Editing in WYSIWYG editor was easier for content, and FrameMaker could convert the content in DITA XML and XSL transformations using ExtendScripts.

Tom spent the rest of his talk showing a live demonstration of how FrameMaker was the “multi-wrench of documentation.” He showed how the structure for FAR was created for the acquisition policies and parts, and how the structure really played an important part in how the entire site was created, using ExtendScripts when possible. The ExtendScripts helped to automate certain processes to ensure that content stayed in a structured format and could dynamically update content including cross-references easily. Set-up was to create several automated scripts to streamline things the process.