Dita for the web: Make Adaptive Content Simple for Writers and Developer
DITA for the Web:
Make Adaptive Content Simple for Writers and Developers
Exploiting Layout and Content
Don Day, Contelligence Group
Why do I want to share this topic?
I enjoy improving how writers create and use content.
I will be sharing my experience in approaching a recent
and acute pain point for many:
How to reliably create adaptive content for the Web.
About Don Day
Collecting and using old film
Listening to assorted,
eclectic, independent music
Loving on my cats and
family, in that order
Created IBM's first SGML application for
AIX online help
Helped design IBMIDDoc DTD
IBM's W3C Primary Rep to XSL and CSS
Led workgroup that designed the DITA
framework, and initiated OASIS, DITA-OT
Created IBM's DITA Wiki prototype
Extending "DITA for the Web" to crossover
use in Web publishing
Goal: Adaptive Content...
Content that is structurally and semantically
Necessary for adaptive delivery: device traits, responsive
reflow, content repurposing (imagine text-to-video),
"Unstructured content is stupid and old-fashioned. It's
costly, complex, and does not generate a competitive
Former CEO of Xerox
Sliced and Diced...
Key driver: mobility of content (follow the device; follow
Key requirement: adaptable content (it needs handles)
Key format: HTML5 (which is changing all the rules)
Key need: consistent authoring (business rules, term
usage, profiling values, etc.)
Key gap: a standard Web authoring architecture to
support those needs.
How HTML5 Changes the Game
All new applications for the Web will be done with
Enables interactivity and behaviors as only Flash could
Unifies user experience across browsers, even challenging
Web apps (just wait)
Currently irrelevant: HTML and XHTML
Currently marginalized: anything XML (goes for
DocBook, DITA, even SPFE)
Survey of Options
Levels of Markup
Degree of Markup
Knowledge Required of User
Subject domain knowledge
Necessary Representational XML semantic models
Assimilation into the collective
Web page templates, XSL No subject domain knowledge; all
Levels of Markup, Charted
3 is most craft-dependent for markup dependency, but
also most tolerant for lack of craft knowledge.
4 is most validation-dependent, but XML editors manage
the craft knowledge; paradoxically easier in principle if
you grok the object orientedness
Fielded content in a database is an implicit root form of
all of this, of course.
The DITA Option
DITA's best feature for the Web is
Need structure for adaptive content?
o Look to the experience and
practice behind DITA!
"Power loader" model
Categories of in-browser editors
Compose everything in a contentEditable div:
Use a DB schema to define a form: flat and inflexible
Use an XML schema to define a structured editor:
narrative content with structure
Use a document to define its own form
Use XML-based templates to set up more dynamic
XML-based templates to set up more dynamic forms
Template is validated by a schema, so when it is read into the form
generator, the resulting form represents the features in the template as
Repeated elements = "one or more"
Single element = "one required" (or optional - which will it be? can we
Sequence is implicit in a set of elements unless one repeats, which
indicates mixable sequence.
Inner content should align with contentEditable.
[text] conventions can represent placeholders and contextual help
Use XML comments to represent semantics in their parent elements?
Not all tools can parse comments though.
Browser Editor Primal Scream
Mike Davidson: The Sorry State of WYSIWYG Editors
(April 27, 2009)
Rachel Andrew: Your WYSIWYG Editor Sucks
Karen McGrane: WYSIWTF
Karen McGrane: Drupalcon Keynote Video, Slides and Talk
Rick Yagodich: What You See is WYSISMUC
Deane Barker: Why WYSIWYG is Still a Problem
Abandon hope all ye who enter here.
If you have already abandoned hope, please disregard
Don R. Day
Co-Chair, OASIS DITA Technical Committee
LinkedIn: donrday Twitter: @donrday
About.me: donrday Skype: don.r.day
"Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?"