When we begin the effort to pursue a move to an XML-based automated publishing system, we run into a lot of roadblocks from our staff, our peers, our management, both inside and outside our organizations.
We’ve seen the trade publications. We’ve seen the value propositions. We’ve seen a cursory evaluation of the DITA website and specification. But we don’t really know anything about it. In the beginning, we have no experience with it.
It’s hard enough to take the first steps toward a funded project, but the last thing we need is for someone else to be able to shred the analysis with little or no effort.
What changes that? Evidence. Experience. Evangelism.
Today, one of the prime reasons that technical publications organizations are pursuing XML authoring systems instead of binary desktop publishing (DTP) systems is to take advantage of the cost savings gained by the separation of form and content. DITA provides for the same model at the application level: the separation of form and function (or data format and data manipulation).
In fact, DITA presents an unprecedented opportunity for cost-effectiveness: learn to explain how DITA releases data from proprietary restrictions (format, storage, or vendor) and moves it into an open standard, open-source type of structure — and why this matters. Data in the DITA format can be used, copied, studied, modified, and redistributed by means of hundreds of tools available from COTS vendors today often without charge or for the marginal cost of distribution.
This presentation gives you the tools to explain how documentation has changed over the last 30 years, and how DITA helps not just today but protects your investment in the future. Learn how to explain why DITA represents significant advance in technology to people outside the industry (TechPubs). Be able to explain why DITA helps you leverage your resources in order to increase the overall effectiveness. New technology comes along every day, but a move to DITA isn’t about technology for technology’s sake. It’s about innovation, collaboration, and potential for new markets, new audiences, new products, and, ultimately, new customers.
Learn how to explain why DITA alleviates the need for the continual conversion of legacy data. Understand how to explain the additional value that DITA offers as a long-term replacement to existing proprietary authoring tools. The issue is not whether DITA is better than other available authoring systems (Docbook, S1000D), but whether it is useful, desirable, or beneficial for the wide variety of documentation projects that you must support today.
About the Presenter
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.