What is DITA?
DITA (short for Darwin Information Typing Architecture) is an information architecture and XML standard helping to organize documents using the single source principle. What this means is that the end document consists of numerous repeatedly used “core” components which are reused in a wide array of documents at the same time. This approach is ideally suited to create manuals, learning materials, online help, and other structured documentation, all the while maintaining a single, controlled source. DITA helps create content adapted for different target audiences, product variations, and markets.
What are the advantages of DITA?
Implementing a DITA-based solution results in increased work productivity. It allows for better collaboration between writers and management, speeding up documentation delivery, and reduction of time to market. Thanks to the topic-based approach, more than one writers are able to work simultaneously on the same document by working on different topics.
DITA helps to manage documents and content on a granular level. Data consistency, integrity and auditablity are optimally supported.
DITA allows to reuse content over and over again seamlessly, essentially eliminating any need to write the same thing more than once. The way it is done is through topics which are written once and can be added and deleted to any required end document.
The finished documents can be automatically saved in a number of formats, without needing to convert them one by one. Each topic can be used to construct documents for different target audiences, without having to re-write everything from scratch e.g. if you need to publish instructions for users and you already have most of the same information available for developers, you can just remove the topics that delve a little too much into the technical jargon, and the new document is ready.
DITA is based on XML and supports the separation of structure, layout and content. Thus, from one source, documents in various formats can be generated, e.g. from same source, a PDF, an online presentation, an ebook or any format for further automated processing can be generated.
DITA is one of the most widely used international documentation standards with strong support from the industry. It has been developed by IBM and is maintained by an international expert group under OASIS since 2004. Meanwhile different industry specializations exist.
DITAworks talks DITA
The effective utilization of DITA-architecture requires adequate tools.
- DITAworks is able to utilize the entire potential of the DITA standard because of its 100% native DITA architecture.
- DITAworks supports your documentation process along the entire documentation lifecycle from modeling through creation and management to publishing.
- DITAworks supports visual DITA modeling and allows for individual specializations representing complex relations. Already existing specializations can easily be integrated by using the import functionality of the tool. The built-in export function facilitates the transfer of models into third party systems.