An Intro to DITA
DITA stands for Darwin Information Typing Architecture, and is an XML-based open standard for developing, managing, structuring, and publishing content both for print and the web. DITA is not just a standard but a methodology—some might even call it a philosophy. Unlike a Word document, which produces a static piece of content, each piece of DITA content represents a unique XML file. By standardizing and leveraging content, DITA allows for content reuse across multiple publications.
Initially developed by IBM (with the help of one of IXIASOFT’s technical documentation writers), the specifications for DITA 1.0 were donated to the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) and approved and released for the public in 2005.
What does Darwin have to do with it?
You may be wondering what Charles Darwin has to do with DITA. Darwin’s theory of natural selection unpacks the idea that many species adopt traits from their parents. Albeit in a wildly different field, DITA incorporates notions of inheritance, specialization, and adaptation that reflect Darwin’s theory. Inheritance and specialization are central to the standard, as all DITA topic types and elements exist in a parent-child relationship. Individual topic types, including concept, task, reference, glossary and troubleshooting, are specialized from the generic “topic” topic type.
Who uses DITA?
DITA is principally used in computer software, information technology and services, telecommunications, semiconductors, and the medical device industry. Check out our IXIASOFT research pie chart below to learn more:
What are the benefits of using DITA?
There are myriad benefits of using DITA as a company. Among others, these include improved productivity, content accuracy, content re-purposing, and ultimately reducing costs.
DITA has many advantages:
- Distribute work so writers can work in parallel, thanks to topic-driven architecture
- Enable better collaboration among content reviewers and developers for faster delivery
- Provide for easy topic reuse without further manipulation
- Clear separation of layout and content so writers can focus on content
- Easy updates on branding (colours, new logo, etc…)
Easy Content Reuse
- Reuse topics across multiple projects
- Enhance content consistency across technical information sets
- Automatically generate overviews and summaries from structured content
Customized Output across Multiple Channels
- Single sourcing: push content to multiple channels, including web, print, chatbots, mobile, embedded helps, and more.
- Re-assemble topics with ease to produce customized output
- Target information according to user context and type
In addition to optimizing workflow across multiple teams, DITA provides a variety of other benefits. It saves time by maximizing content reuse, and reduces translation costs by only sending updated content. On the technical side, DITA avoids copy-and-paste mistakes, allows for edits and reviews on a single source, and is designed for maximum scalability.
To learn more about adopting DITA with IXIASOFT CCMS, check out our Overview page.