DITA methodology is often difficult for people to grasp. It does require a complete shift in how you view and author your content. You can’t take a book and shove it over. It doesn’t work like that. You need to deconstruct and then reconstruct in the new architecture. It doesn’t always mean that all of the content you had before is scrapped. Some can be salvaged. But you need to look at it from the DITA viewpoint to pull content in rather than looking at it from the Book Brain and trying to shove it all in.
Additionally, you need to keep constant diligence is paying attention to the tendency to “fudge things” to make it work the way you want. DITA is not a tool – it is an Architecture. Yet time and time again people fall down the trap of “tricking the software” to do things that are not germane.
Over the years I have worked with so many people making this transition and the stories of what they have done to shift their mindset from Book Brain to DITA cult member can save a struggling author. If you are managing a team and trying to help them navigate to success then understanding what Book Brain is, how to spot it in others (as well as yourself), and how to help others make the transition is priceless. It can save you hours if not months of struggle.
For this session I will share entertaining and informative real life stories as anecdotes to aid the learning.
Presented: Lavacon 2015, Spectrum 2016, Interchange 2016
Liz Fraley, founder of Single-Sourcing Solutions, has worked in both high-tech and government sectors, developing and delivering technical design and strategy of authoring and publishing solutions as a Single-Source/XML Architect/Programmer. Specializing in practical development and deployment, she advocates designing architectures that directly improve organizational efficiency, productivity, and interoperability. She’s the founder of TC Camp, the unconference for content creators, consumers, and the people who support them. If you ask her, she’ll say she’s a gardener who’s happiest when those around her are flourishing.
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