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Podcast -- DITA: From the Perspective of Someone Actually Using It

Apr 21, 2008 • podcasts

Download MP3 (right-click, select Save As)
Duration: 42 min.

DITA is a topic I've wanted to do a podcast on for a long time. When I heard a local technical writer express her enthusiasm about how she was using DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) at her company, I knew I found the right person.

In this podcast, Marlene Martineau of New Dawn Technologies explains why they adopted DITA, how they adopted it, the benefits they're experiencing, and the reasons why she'll never go back.

If you're unfamiliar with DITA, it's a way of tagging your content so that the DITA Open Toolkit can transform it into a number of outputs, such as HTML and PDF. The tags conform to a specific XML architecture, and your information is chunked into small topics that can be arranged in different tables of contents ("maps").

DITA is quickly becoming the XML standard for technical writers. New XML editing tools are sprouting up that allow you to more easily write DITA content without dealing with code. But Marlene says that she was on a budget; they opted for a more basic XML editor and actually write all their documentation in native XML. Rather than cumbersome, she says it's quite easy and only takes about a week before the writers become accustomed to it. The XSLT transforms posed more difficulties, she says, but nothing insurmountable.

Topics in this Podcast

Topics in this podcast include the following:

  • DITA
  • XML and XML editors
  • DITA Open Source Toolkit
  • topic-based authoring
  • single sourcing
  • XSLT and transforms
  • Implementing DITA
  • adopting DITA

Helpful Resources

To contact Marlene Martineau, send an email to [email protected]. We love to hear feedback, so if you enjoyed the DITA podcast, let us know.

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical communication — Swagger, agile, trends, learning, plain language, quick reference guides, tech comm careers, academics, and more. I'm interested in simplifying complexity, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture and findability, and more. If you're a technical writer of any kind (progressional, transitioning, student), be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here. You can also contact me with questions.