General Questions about DITA and CMS

What is the DITA standard?

DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) – is an OASIS standard (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) which is designed for managing complex documentation with a unified content reuse mechanism. IBM originally developed DITA to more efficiently reuse content in product documentation. In 2004, IBM donated their DITA work to the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) for further development and release to the public.

What are CMS and CCMS?

A CMS (Content Management System) provides capabilities for multiple users with different permission levels to manage (all or a section of) content, data or information. Managing content refers to creating, editing, archiving, publishing, collaborating on, reporting, and distributing content, data and information. It is designed to make it easy for non-technical users to add, edit and manage the content.

A CCMS (Component Content Management System) is a content management system that manages content at a granular level (component) rather than at the document level. Each component represents a single topic, concept or asset (for example an image, table, product description, a procedure).

What are the benefits of working with DITA?

  • DITA fully supports a topic-oriented approach for technical documentation and other structured content, which helps to implement single source principles effectively and hence increases content reuse.
  • DITA is based on XML and supports the separation of structure, layout and content. Modeling and specialization features provide the possibility to define industry or company specific information structures.
  • DITA applies object-oriented concepts to content modeling through its capabilities in inheritance and specialization. Standardized industry-specific specialization models are available and individual industry-specific as well as company-specific models can be developed (e.g. learning and training, machinery industry, etc.).

General Questions about DITAworks CMS

What is DITAworks?

DITAworks is a DITA CMS (content management system) that helps you to optimize your documentation process. It includes authoring tools, DITA topic editor, DITA map editor, wizards and templates for easy and fast creation of new DITA objects, CCMS for managing content on granular level, link management, reuse support, search and filters, previews for making fast selections and built-in processes for review, localization and conditional publishing. Version control, branch- and baseline management as well as administration tools for project setting and user access are available.

I know nothing about XML or coding. Can I still create and publish DITA content using DITAworks?

Yes, you can. DITAworks is designed to create, manage and publish DITA content easily using wizards and templates, drag and drop and visual features. You don’t need any coding or XML knowledge. We advise you to read our user documentation and look at the video tutorials to create quality DITA documentation.

Does DITAworks support modular content?

Yes, DITAworks supports topic based, structured content according to DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) concepts.

Does DITAworks support reuse of the same content for different products?

Yes, reuse is one of the strong points of DITA, and DITAworks provides many features to support reuse of the content (re-usable content functions, strong link management, re-factoring, previews).

Does DITAworks support modifying the same content for different products (conditional text)?

Yes, DITAworks supports conditional content and conditional publishing.

Are automatic notifications for existing/similar content supported in DITAworks?

No, this is quite a complex requirement, which could be implemented by integration of Acrolinx IQ checker.

I want to have some custom modules and additions to DITAworks Webtop. How can I do it?

All our DITAworks versions are very scalable and can be customized with added plugins and features to provide you a fitting solution. You can contact us to discuss your individual implementation scenario with us. Our team has substantial experience in integrating 3rd party products (e.g. editors, translation management systems, terminology software etc.) and in developing custom plugins.

Can I get a web demo of the products?

If you have specific information needs, contact us personally and we will schedule an individual web demo for you.

Which versions of DITAworks are there ?

Which versions of DITAworks CMS are there?

DITAworks CMS is available in the following versions:

1. DITAworks Webtop is a web-based DITA CMS for enterprises.
DITAworks Webtop is pre-packed with IBM® FileNet® Content Manager. We also offer DITAworks Webtop for Alfresco. For more information please contact us.

2. DITAworks Cloud is a ready-to-use enterprise-grade hosted DITA CMS. DITAworks Cloud is ready to use. You access from  a browser to the system. DITAworks Cloud is hosted at Hetzner AG in Germany.

How can I get an overview of DITAworks product features?

If you want to see DITAworks in action or learn about latest features, please check our DITAworks tutorial video channel on Youtube.

Activate and evaluate your free trial

Is evaluation available for all DITAworks products?

Yes, we believe in “Try before you buy”. You can request the evaluation for all DITAworks products from our website or contact us personally.

How long will it take me to receive the evaluation key?

Because of our evaluation request authentication procedure, your evaluation request can take up 2 working days. It rarely takes that long though; we generally send the key within 24 hours.

Will I have some sample content for my evaluation?

Yes, all our evaluation packages are pre-populated with some sample content.

DITAworks authoring process

How can an author work with DITA topics in DITAworks?

In DITAworks Webtop and Cloud, you can easily create, edit and delete topics. Creating a new topic takes only a few clicks and is supported by a wizard and templates. These templates depend on the underlying model of your project. You can edit the content by using the integrated oXygen web author component in WYSIWYG or XML mode. You can also create a new topic directly from the map in Map editor. For editing topics, you can either open them from Project Navigator, search results list or directly from the map in the map editor.

How can an author work with DITA maps in DITAworks?

In DITAworks, you can easily create, edit and delete maps. You can also link topics to maps to build structures of your deliverables. Creating a new map takes only a few clicks and is supported by a wizard and templates. These templates depend on the underlying model of your project. You can edit the map in a visual way by using DITAworks map editor or the integrated oXygen web author component if you want to edit in pure XML.

You can create, move or delete nodes and subnodes (different kind of references) in a map.

The topics can be linked to maps by dragging and dropping them from project folder to the map.

Can I see how maps and topics are linked to each other from DITAworks?

Yes, link management in DITAworks provides a special view showing all inbound and outbound links for an object. The broken links are highlighted as errors in the problem view.

Do I always have to open an object in DITAworks to see the content?

No, you do not have to open an object; you can also use the preview to take a quick look at the objects. The preview function is provided in several areas of the system to make sure that you can quickly select any object.

Can I enforce naming conventions for my objects in DITAworks?

Yes, naming conventions can be defined by a user with administration rights. They are valid on the project level and can be enforced or suggested. If these are just suggestions, authors can overwrite suggested names.

How can an author find already existing DITA objects in DITAworks?

DITA objects can be viewed and opened from project navigator, a folder structure, which is delivered as a default in DITAworks but can be changed according to the project needs.

You can also search and filter for DITA objects from the dashboard and map editor perspective. You can search by name and/or full text. You can filter your search results by providing a number of parameters (e.g. locale (language version), project, metadata, DITA object type, media object type). The scope for metadata can be enhanced based on the project requirements.

Can authors work with DITAworks from home office?

Yes, as DITAworks Webtop and DITAworks Cloud are web-based, users work in a browser. As long as your network setting allows this kind of access, users can work from home.

The publishing process

Can DITAworks publish content to different output deliverables?

Yes, single-source publishing to different deliverables is one of the big advantages of DITAworks. Content can be structured in different contexts using DITA maps and published to different output formats and layouts depending on transformation profiles and stylesheets. For different output formats, generally stylesheets are developed and integrated into the DITAworks publishing process.

We have different target groups. How can we publish targeted variants of the content for them?

Yes, DITAworks supports conditional processing. A user with administrator role can define condition attributes, groups and values for your project and authors can then tag content accordingly. The publishing process provides options for defining publishing profiles based on conditions. Thus, you can conditionally publish your content for defined target audience.

Which formats can be published from DITAworks?

DITAworks can publish to many different formats, like PDF for print, RTF, ODT, HTML, XHTML and others, depending on the stylesheets integrated in the publishing process. There are ready-to-use PDF, ODT, XHTML, EPUB and Eclipse info center publishing profiles already available. These formats support publishing for print, online presentation, eBooks, help systems and other applications. If you have any specific publishing requirements, contact us to discuss it.

Which formatters are used by DITAworks for publishing process?

The publishing process uses DITA Open Toolkit by default. Antenna House connector is available as well. DITAworks supports output format Suite Help.
You can publish with DITAworks directly in a Liferay Portal.

For more details, please contact us.

Can we schedule our publishing processes in DITAworks?

Yes, DITAworks publishing process can be started ad hoc by a click or scheduled to start based on several criterion (e.g. for overnight publishing). If you have specific requirements for desktop publishing, batch publishing or integration with an existing publishing process that should not be changed when implementing DITAworks, please contact us.

Some of our users are more comfortable with MS Word documents. How can we provide content to them?

You can publish DITAworks content to RTF/Word document and users can work with it in MS Word. However, be aware that it will not be backwards compatible.

We want to create mobile and touch screen help – is that possible?

Yes, it depends on the stylesheets integrated into the publishing process.

We need HTML5 output – how can we achieve this?

Creating HTML5 output is just a matter of integrating a stylesheet for transforming to HTML5.  If you would like to discuss your requirements, please contact us.

Regarding import/upload/export

We already have DITA content. How can we load it into DITAworks?

For users already having DITA content, our import feature provides a simple way to start working with it in DITAworks. During the import process, your content will be validated against the selected DITA Model. Any incompatibilities will be listed in an error log.

If you need support to bring your DITA content into the right shape or wish to upgrade to next level of DITA standard, just contact us.

How can we bring all our screenprints and images into DITAworks?

You can upload all your media files. DITAworks provides the possibility to import DITA content from a zip archive. If you upload a zip archive, the folder structure of your zip archive will be mapped to a subfolder structure in the DITAworks Project Navigator.

Can we import DITA content created in other products into DITAworks?

Yes, any DITA XML content can be imported.

Can non-DITA files be managed in DITAworks?

Any file types can be uploaded and stored in DITAworks. Depending on what they are, they can be referenced by your DITA objects or you can work with them using WebDAV. You can contact us if you have specific requirements or ideas about this subject.

How to do localization / translation process

We need multilingual content – can DITAworks handle it?

Yes, DITAworks has full localization support and the built-in localization process helps to organize all tasks around localization and translation of content. You can create new locales with a few clicks. Translation tasks can be created by selecting source and target language and objects to be translated. These tasks can be assigned to users, status can be monitored and results can be reviewed.

Can DITAworks manage the translated objects and their links to the original objects?

Yes, the localization management can automatically generate new locale with the links. In the beginning, the generated locale is a 1:1 copy of your source locale. All the links are there.

We are working with an external translation agency – does DITAworks support this scenario?

Yes, working with external translation agencies is supported. You can easily export content for translation and send it to your translation agency. As the format is DITA XML all major TMS (translation management system) can import, work with these files. For agencies working with XTM, we offer a standard interface.

How can we stay in control of our localization tasks from DITAworks?

The localization process provides an overview and status information of all the localization tasks. The status information on DITA object level is available in the translation process view e.g. whether the content has never been translated, or is waiting for the translation or is currently in progress. You stay informed about new or finished tasks through the messaging system, special icons and/or automated mails.

Our main translation work is done by an external agency in a TMS but we want to make small corrections ourselves. Is it possible within DITAworks?

Yes, you can use source view and Target view in Translation perspective to compare original and translated content and use the editor for making small changes directly. If you do this externally with an arbitrary editor, you have to make sure not to destroy the XML tags.

The review process

Our content has to be reviewed before publishing – how does it work in DITAworks?

DITAworks provides a built-in review process with two review approaches: internal review for DITAworks users with author role, external review for non-DITAworks users.

You can create a new review, select DITA objects to be reviewed and assign review task to DITAworks users or external reviewers by e-mail. There are two review modes: a) commenting only and b) commenting and editing.

We want to involve non-techdoc people into the review process – would they be able to handle it?

For this case, we have developed the external review approach with a simplified user interface. Non-techdoc reviewers can just click through all the objects to be reviewed one by one and proofread. If they want to comment or change, they can open it in WYSIWYG editor (check-out is not needed) and work with it. They can finish review any time without opening all the objects.

All the changes are tracked by the system. The statistics shown in the review info view can be used for quick acceptance/rejection.

How can we stay in control of the review activities in DITAworks?

The review process provides an overview and status information of all the tasks. The status information on DITA object level is available in the review process view and statistics of changes is presented in review info view. You stay informed about new or finished tasks through the messaging system, special icons and/or automated mails.

Teamwork and collaboration

We are working as a team of authors with same content in DITAworks. How does this work?

There is a check-out/check-in functionality on the object level. If a user wants to edit an object, it has to be checked out. As soon as it is checked out, others can only open it in the view mode.

Concerning version control and branching

Does DITAworks support version control management features?

Yes, both have version control, branch management and baseline management. For more information, please check the video here or contact us.

What is Branch Management and how does it work in DITAworks?

Branch management helps in creating and removing branches and sub-branches. Branching offers a way to work on a new branch without affecting the parent branch. Creating a new branch will entail a full copy of parent branch with creation of links between objects in the parent-child branches.

What is a Baseline and how does it work in DITAworks?

Baseline is a lightweight version of a branch. In baseline management, the parent branch content does not copy fully to the baseline, only the content indexes do. Baseline, in this case, will be a snapshot of the system with a possibility to make content changes if needed and also to switch baseline objects versions to another available in the history revision. There will also be a possibility to open the system in the baseline context, browse the repository, make a search, and publish the content at the state where the baseline was created.

Can we choose which object version is used in which publication?

Yes, in baseline management, DITAworks provides switch history function. Here you see all history revisions of the DITA objects and can switch them.

Which objects stored in DITAworks are under version control?

All objects stored in DITAworks are under version control. That includes any images or localized/translated objects.

Is version control also available for images or localized/translated objects?

Yes, any images or localized/translated objects are also included in the version control.

Can change history be tracked in DITAworks?

Yes, DITAworks supports revision history and tracks changes which are called “revisions”. DITAworks version control concept is based on the version control concepts of software engineering and support versioning of entire projects.