I’ve decided to conclude my explorations of alternative DITA writing approaches with a discussion of how existing blogs or wikis can be pressed into service, at least for intial content creation (often the hardest “first mile” in getting knowledge out of the minds of subject matter experts in a company and into a repurposable form). Whereas the expeDITA project demonstrates how to create a blog or wiki with DITA as native source, here I explore the other path–using common collaboration tools to create content that can be exported relatively easily as DITA.
The pattern of “What isn’t DITA?” is familiar: if a text object of any kind has a title and optionally some kind of descriptive content, it is transformationally analogous to a simple DITA topic. The observation is important because it opens up a wide range of ways in which initial content for DITA repositories can be created. Today, we’ll examine the use of HTML forms for particular recording scenarios.
I enjoy writing about how to do more things, more easily with DITA. After many years in the structured writing field, I’ve come to appreciate the versatility and usability of the validating editors that support DITA so well. But I’ve been surprised recently in rediscovering the usefulness of dictation for initial content input for structured document formats–DITA tasks in particular.
I am creating today’s topic by dictating the content directly to my cell phone. A dictation application allows me to construct the structure in the resultant topic. I’m thinking of calling this concept DITATwita!
To a writer whose only tool is a flat text editor, formatted text is the next best thing to a real DITA editor.
Back before inks were invented, engraving was the main form of writing. You formed a tablet out of clay and used a stick to impress something that looked like “<LT>” on the surface, and there you had it: primitive markup. Photography is a modern form of leaving a mark without ink, so today we are going to explore how to create a DITA document using a cell-phone camera as your XML editor.
As long as you have a browser, The Cloud is your friend. I’ve previously described the potential role of OPML-based outlining tools for DITA map editing in a browser, but a recent DITA Chicks post by Karen Lowe on creating DITA maps using spreadsheets got me to wondering, “If the only tool I had was a web-based outlining tool, what could I do with it?”
Move over, “age of miracles and wonder.” It seems that everyone is having epiphanies these days. I can teach you how to have one, as well. It’s just a matter of concentration and visualization!
Web searches easily bring up all the usual false matches for our favorite markup topic, DITA. One of my favorites is Dita as the name of a field hockey stick, of which we’re told at its web site that dita is Urdu for “gift from heaven.” That’s one of the better unintended associations, so we’ll go with it.