Determining whether DITA is good for you

C. Canart, M. Garnier, H. Morceau

Paris Diderot University, August 30th 2019

Abstract

Since it was released to the public in 2005, DITA has been adopted by an increasing   number of firms, and it has become one of the most popular standards for technical    documentation. The DITA standard was designed with the intent to meet the needs of   any firm and is sometimes thought of as a universal solution, but is this truly the case?   When considering a DITA implementation, one should make sure that DITA is really suited   to their particular situation and needs, and that it can be implemented successfully within   the company. In this paper, we tried to understand how one can determine whether DITA   is the right solution for their company before taking the leap and undertaking a content   migration. For the purpose of this paper, we gathered data through a survey aimed at both   DITA and non-DITA users, a review of existing resources, and several interviews of DITA   experts and representatives of technical writing solution firms. Whether DITA is right for a   company doesn’t seem to be wholly dependant on the size of the company, as one might   think at first, but has more to do with the technical know-how of the personnel and the   budget allocated to the documentation team.

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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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