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Presented at DocTrain East 2007 Conference by Joe Gollner, Stilo International -- As every author knows, working with content has always been challenging. Now that we need to develop content that can be used in multiple ways, some we do not expect, makes this task even more demanding. The early experiences of working with structured XML markup have been difficult and not just because it is new. As the technology stabilized and practices were worked out, authors not only had to master new writing techniques but they often could not see a compelling benefit being returned on this effort. Least of all, their customers, the users of the documentation products, did not seem to be benefiting in any material way. At times, it even seemed that the move to structure resulted in less effective publications. But now that the technology is being worked out and as new technologies are thrusting structured content into the limelight, authors are entering a time when several things will change for the better. On one hand the challenges of working with structured markup have largely been addressed and on the other the content they produce can now be moved, rapidly into people's hands whether that be a high quality book or a blackberry.
XML was hard. DITA has emerged as a technique that makes XML much easier to work with. And the wired marketplace is ready to consume structured content as soon as you hit save. This is in fact where the history of markup has been heading.