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Meeting Recap: DITA Discussion and Chapter Social
2013, Q4 (January 03, 2014)
By Ben Davidson, Carolina Chapter Member

Meeting Recap
  • What: Chapter Social
  • When: November 7, 2013
On behalf of the STC Carolina Chapter, I’d like to thank everyone who attended our second STC Carolina Chapter Social on November 7th at the Twisted Fork Grill and Bakery. We had a good turnout, with great conversation and delicious food.

Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) was the main topic of discussion. STC Carolina will offer a DITA class in early 2014, so the Chapter Social was a great way to learn what folks would like the class to cover.

STC Carolina will offer a DITA class in early 2014.

Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) logo
Among the DITA-related highlights were the following:
  • What are the potential challenges inherent in converting to DITA? Several of us suggested the following:
    • Table footnotes
    • Hidden text
    • Blank lines
    • Text insets
    • Indexing
    • Safety messages
  • What considerations are there when using Adobe FrameMaker or Adobe InDesign as the source documents for DITA content?
  • In what situations might a DITA conversion not offer a good return on investment? If a document is primarily comprised of unique information that won’t be sourced to other documents, it might not be cost effective to attempt a DITA conversion.
  • Would a DITA conversion be possible if a document takes a primarily rich-media approach to information, with less text and more graphics? How well would DITA handle such content?
  • Does DITA require any specific writing styles, and are any styles better than others?
  • Some features, such as table footnotes, work much better in Adobe FrameMaker.
  • Would it be helpful to begin the DITA class with a preliminary session on the basics before tackling the more structured part of the class?
  • Offering attendees hands-on time creating DITA topics and working the DITA Open Toolkit included in oXygen XML Editor might reduce the sharpness of the learning curve for those with little or no experience with DITA.

Ben Davidson can be reached at benddavidson99 at gmail dot com. End of article.

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