DITA Best Practices A Roadmap for Writing, Editing, and Architecting in DITA

ISBN-10: 0132480522

ISBN-13: 9780132480529

Edition: 2012 (Revised)

Authors: Michelle Carey, Jenifer Schlotfeldt, Laura Bellamy

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the complete, best-practice guide to implementing and using DITA: expert, 'in the trenches' advice you can't find anywhere else! Answers the crucial questions the 'official' DITA documentation doesn't cover, from 'Where do you start?' to 'How do you avoid the pitfalls?' Reflects the authors' unsurpassed experience in all facets of enterprise-scale DITA planning, deployment, and day-to-day usage. Offers practical guidance on topic-based writing, content architecture, and ensuring a quality implementation. Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) is today's most powerful toolbox for constructing information. Implementing DITA can help organizations significantly improve the value of their technical documentation. This book brings together best practices and real-world guidance for success with DITA deployment and usage. Drawing on years of experience helping organizations implement DITA, The authors answer the crucial questions the 'official' DITA documents ignore: Where do you start in implementing DITA? What should you know before you start writing? What are DITA's gotchas and pitfalls? Which DITA elements, attributes, and features should you know upfront, and which can wait? Technical writers and their managers can use this book as a complete roadmap for DITA adoption and implementation. Part 1 walks through the basics of topic-based writing, especially the importance of writing accurate, usable short descriptions. Part 2 covers more advanced topics related to content architecture, including DITA maps, linking strategies, metadata, conditional processing, and content reuse. Part 3 covers quality DITA implementations, offering crucial guidance for converting content to DITA, whether you do it in-house or utilize a third-party vendor.
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Book details

List price: $47.99
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: Pearson Education
Publication date: 9/30/2011
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 288
Size: 7.25" wide x 9.50" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.298
Language: English

About the Authors
Writing In Dita
Topic-Based Writing in DITA
Books, Topics, and Webs of Information
Advantages of Writing in Topics for Writing Teams
Writers Can Work More Productively
Writers Can Share Content with Other Writers
Writers Can Reuse Topics
Writers Can More Quickly Organize or Reorganize Content
Reviewers Can Review Small Groups of Topics Instead of Long Books
DITA Topic Types
Task Orientation
Task Analysis
Minimalist Writing
Know Your Audience
Remove Nonessential Content
Focus on User Goals, Not Product Functions
To Wrap Up
Topic-Based Writing Checklist
Task analysis form
Task Topics
Separate Task Information from Conceptual or Reference Information
Write One Procedure per Topic
Create Subtasks to Organize Long Procedures
Task Components and DITA Elements
Titling the Task
Introducing the Task: <shortdesc>
Adding More Background Information: <context>
Describing Prerequisites: <prereq>
Writing the Procedure: <steps> and <steps-unordered>
Concluding the Task: <example>, <postreq>, and <result>
Task Topic Checklist
Concept Topics
Describe One Concept per Topic
Create a Concept Topic Only if the Idea Can't Be Covered More Concisely Elsewhere
Separate Task Information from Conceptual Information
Concept Components and DITA Elements
Titling the Concept Topic:
Introducing the Concept Topic: <shortdesc>
Writing the Concept: <conbody>
Organizing the Concept: <section>
Adding Lists: <ol>, <ul>, <sl>, and <dl>
Including Graphics: <fig>, , and <image>
Highlighting New Terms: <term>
To Wrap Up
Concept Topic Checklist
Reference Topics
Describe One Type of Reference Material per Topic
Organize Reference Information Effectively
Format Reference Information Consistently
Reference Components and DITA Elements
Titling the Reference topic
Introducing the Reference Information: <shortdesc>
Organizing the Reference Information: <section>
Creating Tables: <table>, <simpletable>, and <properties>
Adding Lists: <ul> and <dl>
Creating Syntax Diagrams: <refsyn> and <syntaxdiagram>
To Wrap Up
Short Descriptions
The <shortdesc> Element
How the Short Description Is Used
Guidelines for Writing Effective Short Descriptions
Briefly State the Purpose of the Topic
Include a Short Description in Every Topic
Use Complete, Grammatical Sentences
Don't Introduce Lists, Figures, or Tables
Keep Short Descriptions Short
Short Descriptions for Task, Concept, and Reference Topics
Task Topic Short Descriptions
Concept Topic Short Descriptions
Reference Topic Short Descriptions
Writing Short Descriptions for Converted Content
The <abstract> Element
Using More DITA Elements in the Topic Introduction
Including Multiple Short Descriptions
To Wrap Up
Short Description Examples
Short Description Checklist
Architecting Content
DITA Maps and Navigation
DITA Map Structure
Relationships Between Topics
Information Organization
Information Modeling
Benefits of Information Modeling
Building Information Models
DITA Map Ownership
Include Relationship Tables in DITA Maps
Override Topic Titles and Short Descriptions
Navigation Titles
Short Descriptions
Provide Unique Short Descriptions for Reused Topics
Provide Short Descriptions for Links to Non-DITA Content
Suppressing Topics from the Table of Contents
Suppressing Content from PDF Output
Suppressing Content from HTML Output
To Wrap Up
Navigation and DITA Maps Checklist
Hierarchical Links
Inline Links
Link to Prerequisite and Postrequisite Information
Avoid Inline Links to Tables and Figures in a Topic
Create Inline Links to Repeated Steps
Create Inline Links to High-Level Tasks
Control How Links Are Displayed
Related Links
Relationship Tables
Implementing Relationship Tables
Collection Types
Sequence Collection Type
Choice Collection Type
Unordered Collection Type
Family Collection Type
Determining Which Collection Type to Use
Collection Types in Relationship Tables
Links Created with the Importance Attribute
Linking Scope
Local Links
External Links
Peer Links
Relative Paths for Links
Link Testing
To Wrap Up
Linking Checklist
Why Is Metadata Important
Types of Metadata
Index Entries
Conditional Processing Attributes
Importance, Status, and Translate Metadata Attributes
Topic Metadata
DITA Map Metadata
Custom Metadata
Metadata Inheritance
To Wrap Up
Metadata Checklist
Conditional Processing
Conditional Processing Attributes
Creating a Conditional Processing Scheme
Example of a Conditional Processing Scheme
Applying Conditional Processing Attributes
Applying Conditions to Content in Topics
Applying Conditions to DITA Maps and Relationship Tables
Excluding and Including Content
Flagging Content
Multiple and Compound Conditions
Multiple Conditions
Compound Conditions
Processing Logic for Multiple and Compound Conditions
Identifying Applied Conditional Values
Testing Your Scheme
Improving Content Retrievability for the Writing Team
To Wrap Up
Conditional Processing Checklist
Content Reuse
Benefits of Reuse
Ways to Reuse Content
Reusing Elements by Using Content References
Conref Attribute
Phrase-Level Reuse
Designated Source Files for Conrefs
Reusing Topics
Copy-to Attribute
Reusing DITA Maps
Reusing Content from Non-DITA Sources
Writing for Reuse
Deciding Which Content to Reuse
Analyze Your Content
Identify Duplicate and Near Duplicate Content
Address the Duplication
Reorganize and Rewrite for Reuse
Implement the Reuse Strategy
Track Your Reuse
To Wrap Up
Reuse Checklist
Converting And Editing
Converting Content to DITA
Conversion Goals
Create a Pilot Team
Conversion Process
Assess the State of Your Content
Content Analysis Worksheet
Plan the Conversion
Scheduling the Conversion
Converting the Content In-House 208or Hiring a Vendor
Staffing Your Conversion Team
Deciding on a Conversion Strategy
Defining your XML Standard
Establishing Graphics Formats
Establishing DITA File Requirements
Deciding What DITA Topic Types You Nee217d
Establishing an Architecture for Your DITA Ma218ps
Handling Special Structures in Your Source Files
Prepare the Content for Conversion
Conversion Workshops
Convert Your Source Files
Address Postconversion Issues
Address <required-cleanup> Elements
Fix Maps and Linking
Improve Topics
Check for Markup Problems and Do Code Reviews
Exploit DITA
Evaluate the Conversion Process
To Wrap Up
Conversion Sizing Table
DITA Conversion Checklist
DITA Code Editing
Code Reviews
Code Review Benefits
Identifying Code Reviewers
Limiting the Scope of the Review
Preparing for Code Reviews
Using Special Style Sheets for Revealing Problems in the Markup
Performing a Code Review
Schedule the Code Review
Submit the DITA Topics for Review
Review the DITA Markup
Common Problems Found in Task Topics
Common Problems Found in Concept Topics
Common Problems Found in Reference Topics
Common Problems Found in All Topic Types
Common Problems Found in DITA Maps
Common Problems Found in Metadata
Discuss Review Findings
Complete the Code Review
Code Reviews for Content Not in Topic Form
To Wrap Up
Code Review Checklist
Content Editing
Defining, Scheduling, and Submitting Content Edits
Defining the Types of Content Edits
Scheduling the Edits
Submitting Content for Edi262ting
Providing Editorial Feedback
Inserting Draft Comments
Inserting XML Comments
Tracking Changes
Comparing Original and Edited Files
Editing the Content in DITA Topics and Maps
Editing DITA Topics
Editing DITA Maps
Editing the Output
To Wrap Up
Content Editing Checklist
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