DITA: A universal solution?

Marion L., Catherine S., Jean-Michel V.D.B., Laureen Z.

July 2015

Abstract

During the last few years, DITA has spread in many companies and sectors and is often considered as the “must have” tool for technical writing thanks to its flexibility and adaptability. However, does DITA really live up to its reputation? We start with noting that the concept of DITA was designed to serve this purpose. We then try to learn more about DITA and its implementation through webinars, specialized articles, surveys about DITA, and especially one that we conducted from March to May 2015. We came to two main conclusions. First, financially speaking, DITA remains relatively affordable for larger or smaller companies, as long asthey are not looking into specialization, and provided that the implementation plan is complete and fully backed by management. In addition, the productivity gains they get from transitioning to DITA are mainly determined by the implication of companies and the context of the implementation. Secondly, DITA is not restricted to the software sector. It brings a lot to a wide variety of domains thanks to its universal benefits: content reuse, its linking system, the expansion of electronic documentation and the possibility to be specialized. Besides, even though DITA is for now mostly used by documentation teams composed of professional technical writers, LightWeight DITA seems to be quite promising in improving the spread of DITA outside the documentation departments.

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