Creating DITA topics with a blog or wiki

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.

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Posted in blog, collaboration, publishing, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Creating DITA with HTML forms

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.

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Dictation for structured writing

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.

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Creating DITA topics using Twitter

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! ;-)

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Creating DITA topics using email

To: e-dita <>

Subject: Creating DITA topics using email

Date: 7 April 2011

As you begin to sip your “half double decaffeinated half-caf with a twist of lemon” at your favorite coffee/internet bar, you suddenly get a brilliant blog idea that you want to jot onto a paper napkin, but your pen is out in the car. But one click away on your laptop is your email application. You open it, start a new mail, address it to your dedicated e-dita address, type in your subject line, and start drafting your idea into the body of the note. Press Send, and within moments your brilliant idea shows up posted as an editable DITA topic back at the server.

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Posted in DITA, DITA adoption, publishing, XML | Comments Off

Creating DITA topics using reStructuredText

To a writer whose only tool is a flat text editor, formatted text is the next best thing to a real DITA editor.

Posted in DITA, migration, wiki | 8 Comments

Creating DITA topics using your cell phone

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.

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Posted in DITA, humor | 1 Comment

Creating DITA maps using outliners

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?”

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Posted in DITA adoption, map editing, Uncategorized, XML | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

What isn’t DITA?

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!

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What’s in a word? “DITA” as a substring match

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.

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Posted in DITA, expeDITA, Ponderings | 3 Comments