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From Rob Weir <>
Subject Re: DITA for Doc?
Date Wed, 06 Jul 2011 22:44:37 GMT
On Wed, Jul 6, 2011 at 6:09 PM, Dave Fisher <> wrote:
> Rob,
> I am surprised that you did not suggest using the ODF Toolkit.

The DITA Open Toolkit already supports ODF output.  They did this back
in early 2010 using a XSLT transform.  Although I think doing it with
the ODF Toolkit would be infinitely more elegant, poetic and majestic,
and might even run faster, my belief in that is not so great as to
offer to rewrite it for them.  Maybe someday.

Remember, DITA is not just a word processor format.  It is a
structured, modular vocabulary for technical documentation.  Although
there are dedicated authoring tools, you can author DITA in any XML
editor, or even a text editor.

Now, you could certainly build DITA-like behavior on top of an
OpenOffice, using the RDF XML/RDFa semantic metadata extensibility
features of ODF 1.2, I have not seen any ODF word processor implement
this to the extent that would be needed.  It could also be enabled via
plugins or macros, as has been done with some 3rd party DITA apps for
MS Word.

But then I think you would want to compare a standards-based approach
to technical doc, that is supported by a broad ecosystem of tools,
versus an ad-hoc one used by only us.

> Dave
> On Jul 6, 2011, at 2:10 PM, Rob Weir wrote:
>> Would it be worth considering using DITA for the documentation/help?
>> I love ODF as much as anyone, but DITA was designed specifically for
>> technical documentation, and has built-in facilities for making
>> modular "topics" that then can be reassembled, with a "map" to
>> assemble larger works.  This gives you the ability, for example, to
>> have paragraph that only shows up in the Linux version of the doc, but
>> not in the Windows version.
>> You also get an easy ability, via the DITA Open Toolkit (which is
>> Apache 2.0 licensed), to transform the DITA source into a large
>> variety of output forms, including:
>> PDF
>> ODT (Open Document Format)
>> Eclipse Help
>> HTML Help
>> Java Help
>> Eclipse Content
>> Word RTF
>> Docbook
>> Troff
>> The authors focus on the structure and content, and the layout and
>> styling is deferred until publication time.  So you have a great deal
>> of flexibility for targeting the same content to various uses.
>> The other nice thing is that DITA is text (well, XML specifically), so
>> we use SVN to manage the content, can do diff's, merges, use the
>> editor of our choice, etc.
>> I'd like to argue for the advantages of DITA as a source format here.
>> I can probably find some volunteers to help enabled this.  The
>> Symphony team uses DITA for doc/help, and we've already done the work
>> of converting much of the OOo help to DITA.
>> -Rob

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