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

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### Who's afraid of the DITA wolf?

1. Who’s afraid of the DITA Wolf?<br />Suchi Govindarajan, MYOB<br />Presented at AODC 2010<br />http://www.aodc.com.au/overview10.aspx<br />
2. An origami exercise<br />
3. Valley, mountain, and crease are the three types of folds from which all origami springs. <br />But even a valley fold is not necessarily the same as another valley fold if the layers of paper do not lie flat. <br />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.<br />[Origami Design Secrets, Robert Lang] <br />What if we’d started with this bit of theory instead?<br />
4. There are four mathematical rules for producing flat-foldable origami crease patterns:<br />crease patterns are two colorable<br />at any vertex the number of valley and mountain folds always differ by two in either direction<br />Kawasaki's theorem: at any vertex, the sum of all the odd angles adds up to 180 degrees, as do the even.<br />a sheet can never penetrate a fold. <br /> <br />Or this?<br />http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathematics_of_paper_folding<br />
5. Theory versus practice<br />
6. "I actually made something straight away“ <br /> No more fear<br />"I remember doing something like this before“<br /> Builds on what you know <br />"I wonder how it works”<br /> Piques your curiosity<br />"How did they come up with that? How would I make my own designs?”<br /> Path to more learning<br />Practice is fun for beginners<br />
7. Barriers to learning DITA<br />You already know DITA<br />The secret road<br />Doubts?<br />Go further<br />And now to DITA<br />
8. Barriers to Learning DITA(Theory & Jargon)<br />
9. Let’s look at some DITA material<br />“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:<br /> concept<br />task<br />reference"<br />[http://www.ditausers.org/training/DITATopics/] <br />
10. DITA material (continued)<br />“Darwin because its topics can be specialized to inherit properties of basic topics.<br />Three basic Information Types are Concept, Task, and Reference topics.<br />The Architecture is an XML standard, with Schemas and DTDs (document type definitions) maintained by OASIS.<br />Topics can include other topics and sub-topics for flexible content reuse.<br />....”<br />[http://www.ditausers.org/about_us/what_is_dita/]<br />
11. DITA material (contd.)<br />“Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) is an XML-based, end-to-end architecture for authoring, producing, and delivering readable information as discrete, typed topics.”<br /> [http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/dita/faq.php]<br />“A method for organizing and publishing content based on reusable content components.”<br /> [http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_DITA_for_technical_documentation]<br />
12. “The Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) is an XML-based method for writing and delivering information in a variety of forms....”<br />DITA is a standard for technical documents that’s designed to be used with XML. It comes with some free publishing tools. <br />A good, jargon-free definition for beginners<br />http://www.informit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=663081<br />
13. You already know DITA<br />
14. DITA buzzword bingo<br />DITA Buzzword<br />Pre-DITA usage<br />Content re-use<br />Content model<br />Single-sourcing<br />Multi-channel publishing<br />Topic-based authoring<br />Maps<br />Robohelp<br />FrameMaker and friends<br />Madcap Flare<br />Tech writing principles<br />
15. Separation of content and form<br />
16. DITA versus Frame<br />
17. The Secret Road<br />Or “Just Do It"<br />
18. DITA Users need not install anything1 or know XML to begin topic-based structured writing today. <br />The other way to DITA<br />[http://www.ditausers.org/]<br />
19. XML editor<br />WYSIWOO view<br />DITA-aware<br />So DITA is just a matter of File> New<br />So DITA rules are embedded<br />So you can look up the DITA specifications in context<br />Examples: XMLMind, XMetal<br />The tool for this hike<br />
20. Theory<br />Elements<br />Attributes<br />The barest idea of Concept, Task, Reference<br />Tips<br />How to use the ID attribute<br />Quirks of using the ENTER key<br />Using the Insert options<br />Things you need to know<br />
21. Specialisation<br />Customisation<br />The DITA “topic" topic<br />Inheritance<br />Relationship tables<br />DTDs<br />XML rules, validation, well-formedness (really?)<br />Things you don’t need to know<br />
22. DITA OpenToolkit<br />A closed mind<br />Wolves on this road<br />
23. Doubts?<br />
24. In one hour, nine writers were able to:<br />Write a concept and a task<br />Create a map to pull them together<br />They didn't know what elements were available<br />They discovered them<br />They guessed what they were for<br />The XML Editor used was critical<br />DITA-aware. <br />Used insert options to learn DITA rules<br />DITA in a day workshop<br />
25. Elements, attributes<br />DITA being topic-based<br />Authoring mechanics<br />Basic structures<br />No memory of previous DITA tutorials<br />Minimalist introduction<br />