Building a DITA pilot project

The DITA pilots were hard at work again at TCUK. We have discussed what changes may come with the DITA implementation, but also what should stay the same… if done properly, namely the research and planing phase of a documentation project. The four working groups designed personas and use cases for a specific product line, then drafted the documentation outline that formed the basis of their DITA project.

ditapilots

You can see the prezi I used for the first part of the workshop here:

workshop prezi

Click the image to open the Prezi slideshow

Once we had a documentation outline, we started a DITA skeleton project in oXygen XML Editor. It is called a skeleton project, because we started a simple ditamap, just by replicating the outline, without actually creating any topics. We just added symbolic topicref elements and inserted the titles from our outline in navtitle attributes. A skeleton map can even be published for review.

Thus the writers have the entire outline model in the ditamap from the beginning and would be ready to start creating topics and developing the content using the ditamap as guidance, then adding the actual topics to the map in href attributes. This approach can be applied not only to provide orientation while creating new topics and enhancing the model, but also to ensure consistency across documentation sets… at least until fancier project templates are in place.

In case you’d like to try out building a DITA skeleton project, you can download the tutorial as PDF file ico_PDF.

Happy DIT’ing! More entertaining TCUK keepsake from Glasgow coming soon.

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