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Who's afraid of the DITA wolf?
 

Who's afraid of the DITA wolf?

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DITA can be intimidating to those who attempt to learn it on their own. There’s an awful lot of theory and unnecessary jargon surrounding DITA. ...

DITA can be intimidating to those who attempt to learn it on their own. There’s an awful lot of theory and unnecessary jargon surrounding DITA.
However, there is another way to learn DITA--by approaching it from the practical side and not the theory side. This presentation provides a rough guide to that approach.

Presented at AODC 2010

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    Who's afraid of the DITA wolf? Who's afraid of the DITA wolf? Presentation Transcript

    • Who’s afraid of the DITA Wolf?
      Suchi Govindarajan, MYOB
      Presented at AODC 2010
      http://www.aodc.com.au/overview10.aspx
    • An origami exercise
    • Valley, mountain, and crease are the three types of folds from which all origami springs.
      But even a valley fold is not necessarily the same as another valley fold if the layers of paper do not lie flat.
      When models move into three dimensions, both valley and mountain folds can vary in another way: the fold angle, which can take on many values.
      [Origami Design Secrets, Robert Lang]
      What if we’d started with this bit of theory instead?
    • There are four mathematical rules for producing flat-foldable origami crease patterns:
      crease patterns are two colorable
      at any vertex the number of valley and mountain folds always differ by two in either direction
      Kawasaki's theorem: at any vertex, the sum of all the odd angles adds up to 180 degrees, as do the even.
      a sheet can never penetrate a fold.
       
      Or this?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathematics_of_paper_folding
    • Theory versus practice
    • "I actually made something straight away“
      No more fear
      "I remember doing something like this before“
      Builds on what you know
      "I wonder how it works”
      Piques your curiosity
      "How did they come up with that? How would I make my own designs?”
      Path to more learning
      Practice is fun for beginners
    • Barriers to learning DITA
      You already know DITA
      The secret road
      Doubts?
      Go further
      And now to DITA
    • Barriers to Learning DITA(Theory & Jargon)
    • Let’s look at some DITA material
      “In this tutorial, you will learn the basic elements in a DITA topic and how they are specialized to become the three core DITA information types:
      concept
      task
      reference"
      [http://www.ditausers.org/training/DITATopics/] 
    • DITA material (continued)
      “Darwin because its topics can be specialized to inherit properties of basic topics.
      Three basic Information Types are Concept, Task, and Reference topics.
      The Architecture is an XML standard, with Schemas and DTDs (document type definitions) maintained by OASIS.
      Topics can include other topics and sub-topics for flexible content reuse.
      ....”
      [http://www.ditausers.org/about_us/what_is_dita/]
    • DITA material (contd.)
      “Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) is an XML-based, end-to-end architecture for authoring, producing, and delivering readable information as discrete, typed topics.”
       [http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/dita/faq.php]
      “A method for organizing and publishing content based on reusable content components.”
       [http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_DITA_for_technical_documentation]
    • “The Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) is an XML-based method for writing and delivering information in a variety of forms....”
      DITA is a standard for technical documents that’s designed to be used with XML. It comes with some free publishing tools. 
      A good, jargon-free definition for beginners
      http://www.informit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=663081
    • You already know DITA
    • DITA buzzword bingo
      DITA Buzzword
      Pre-DITA usage
      Content re-use
      Content model
      Single-sourcing
      Multi-channel publishing
      Topic-based authoring
      Maps
      Robohelp
      FrameMaker and friends
      Madcap Flare
      Tech writing principles
    • Separation of content and form
    • DITA versus Frame
    • The Secret Road
      Or “Just Do It"
    • DITA Users need not install anything1 or know XML to begin topic-based structured writing today.
      The other way to DITA
      [http://www.ditausers.org/]
    • XML editor
      WYSIWOO view
      DITA-aware
      So DITA is just a matter of File> New
      So DITA rules are embedded
      So you can look up the DITA specifications in context
      Examples: XMLMind, XMetal
      The tool for this hike
    • Theory
      Elements
      Attributes
      The barest idea of Concept, Task, Reference
      Tips
      How to use the ID attribute
      Quirks of using the ENTER key
      Using the Insert options
      Things you need to know
    • Specialisation
      Customisation
      The DITA “topic" topic
      Inheritance
      Relationship tables
      DTDs
      XML rules, validation, well-formedness (really?)
      Things you don’t need to know
    • DITA OpenToolkit
      A closed mind
      Wolves on this road
    • Doubts?
    • In one hour, nine writers were able to:
      Write a concept and a task
      Create a map to pull them together
      They didn't know what elements were available
      They discovered them
      They guessed what they were for
      The XML Editor used was critical
      DITA-aware.
      Used insert options to learn DITA rules
      DITA in a day workshop
    • Elements, attributes
      DITA being topic-based
      Authoring mechanics
      Basic structures
      No memory of previous DITA tutorials
      Minimalist introduction
    • Start with a great example
      Learn simple things first
      The task/concept/reference decision
      Notes
      Cross-references
      Hyperlinks
      Tables
      My rough guide
    • Download and analyse sample topics:
      http://dita‐ot.sourceforge.net/SourceForgeFiles/doc/user_guide.html
      Follow the tutorial in DITA for Solo Writers:
      http://www.ditausers.org/tutorials/lone‐dita/ditaguide.pdf
      Sample topics
    • http://docs.oasis-open.org/dita/v1.1/langspec/ditaref-type.html
      Description
      Example
      Contains
      Contained by
      Inheritance
      Attributes
      Refer to the DITA specification
    • Go further
    • WinANT
      It took 1 hour for the writers in my workshop to install DITA-OT, WinANT and publish to HTML, CHM and PDF
      XMLMind DITA Converter
      Publishing tools you may already own
      Publishing
    • Reinforce your learning
      Let your requirements guide you
      Let the possibilities guide you
      Don’t get taken in by the hype
      Don’t be cynical about the hype
      Iterations of theory and practice
    • Picture credits:
      Title credit: Ron Tierney
      www.flickr.com/photos/bookgrl/482232222/
      www.flickr.com/photos/jon_tucker/4275210416/
      www.flickr.com/photos/popupology/4105433338/
      www.flickr.com/photos/shereen84/3187315381/
      www.flickr.com/photos/origomi/17213276/
      www.flickr.com/photos/vaguelyartistic/132177047/
      www.flickr.com/photos/origomi/33173530/
      www.flickr.com/photos/vaguelyartistic/132177047/
      www.origami-fun.com/origami-pelican.html
      www.flickr.com/photos/vaguelyartistic/132177047/
      http://tpettit.best.vwh.net
      /dolls/pd_scans/52valentine
      www.flickr.com/photos/
      oschene/2497103604/