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# 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

Published in: Technology
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http://ffeathers.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/aodc-day-2-a-beginners-introduction-to-dita/

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### Transcript

• 1. Who’s afraid of the DITA Wolf?
Suchi Govindarajan, MYOB
Presented at AODC 2010
http://www.aodc.com.au/overview10.aspx
• 2. An origami exercise
• 3. 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?
• 4. 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
• 5. Theory versus practice
• 6. "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”
"How did they come up with that? How would I make my own designs?”
Path to more learning
Practice is fun for beginners
• 7. Barriers to learning DITA
Doubts?
Go further
And now to DITA
• 8. Barriers to Learning DITA(Theory & Jargon)
• 9. 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
reference"
[http://www.ditausers.org/training/DITATopics/]
• 10. 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.
....”
• 11. 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.”
• 12. “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
• 13. You already know DITA
• 14. 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
Tech writing principles
• 15. Separation of content and form
• 16. DITA versus Frame
Or “Just Do It"
• 18. 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/]
• 19. 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
• 20. 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
• 21. Specialisation
Customisation
The DITA “topic" topic
Inheritance
Relationship tables
DTDs
XML rules, validation, well-formedness (really?)
Things you don’t need to know
• 22. DITA OpenToolkit
A closed mind
• 23. Doubts?
• 24. 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
• 25. Elements, attributes
DITA being topic-based
Authoring mechanics
Basic structures
No memory of previous DITA tutorials
Minimalist introduction
Learn simple things first
Notes
Cross-references
Tables
My rough guide
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
• 28. http://docs.oasis-open.org/dita/v1.1/langspec/ditaref-type.html
Description
Example
Contains
Contained by
Inheritance
Attributes
Refer to the DITA specification
• 29. Go further
• 30. 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
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
• 32. 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/