DITA: Not just for Tech Docs

DITA is a standard that was created for Technical Publications. It is very clear, looking at the structure of the topics, particularly task and reference that it was designed for Tech Pubs. Not many marketing writers are going to refer to parameters and commands when writing their content. However, DITA was designed to be specialized. You can build on the generic topic structure and create any type of topic you want that meets your needs. For example, using the product overview example above, you could create an Overview Topic.
If you want to create structured component-based content you could create a custom DTD or schema but there are a lot of reasons why you might want to consider specializing DITA including:

  • Component-based; no bursting maps are required
  • Minimal or no coding required
  • Specifically designed for reuse
  • Fastest growing XML content standard
  • Increasing level of support from tools vendors with added functionality not provided in non-DITA tools
  • Makes it very simple to create modular reusable content

A word of caution if the writers using DITA are not technical writers – DITA should be the underlying architecture, that is, under the covers; it should not be obvious to the authors that they are using DITA. As an overt structure, DITA would provide an unacceptable interface for authors.

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  1. The Content Wrangler » Blog Archive » The Rockley Blog: A Handy Online Reference for Content Creators and Managers - September 14, 2009

    […] aptly named, The Rockley Blog. Of interest to folks looking for a standard XML schema is the post, DITA: Not Just for Tech Docs, which outlines several reasons why the popular XML authoring standard may also be appropriate for […]

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