DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) is a new XML format that seems to be
getting lots of attention these days. It was specifically designed for topic-oriented
authoring and supports efficient reuse of content. Aside from its sensible and easy to
understand data model, a big reason for its high adoption rate is the availability of
the DITA Open Toolkit (DITA-OT). The DITA-OT (free and open source) provides samples
and documentation, as well as XSL transformations that generate numerous types of
online output including, HTML, CHM, JavaHelp, PDF, and others. Adopting an existing
and well thought out data model that comes with the tools for getting output, can
save you months (if not years) of development time.
Because DITA is an XML format, it can be authored in any XML editor. However, due to
DITA's special reuse constructs, it works best to use an editor that is specially
designed for DITA authoring. There are a number of editors that support DITA authoring,
the popular ones being XMetaL, Arbortext, and FrameMaker. An advantage that FrameMaker
has is its built-in support for high quality PDF output. The only alternative to
Frame's PDF output is through XSL-FO, which for reasonably complex output is very
expensive to develop and maintain, and XSL-FO can't match the quality of Frame-generated PDF.
In order to author DITA content in FrameMaker, you'll need to be using versions 7.2 or 8.0
(with limited support in 7.1). DITA-FMx is a free plugin that is available for
FrameMaker 7.2, and FrameMaker 8 ships with full DITA support included.
In this presentation you'll see the whole process of authoring and publishing DITA using
FrameMaker, as well as the differences between Frame 7.2 and Frame 8.0. You'll see how
to efficiently use DITA maps to generate different books that share common topics, in
addition to using conrefs to reuse content within topics. You'll also see how quick and easy
it is to generate various types of output using the Open Toolkit as well as building a
traditional "Frame" book and generating a PDF through FrameMaker.
For more information about DITA, please visit the Introduction
to DITA at dita.xml.org.
To get the latest version of DITA-FMx for FrameMaker 7.2, visit
Scott is the President of Leximation, Inc. providing tools and solutions
for print and online publishing. He has been working in the technical publications field
for 16 years, some of that time as a technical writer but most as a tools developer
focusing on custom online help and FrameMaker development.
Scott has been involved in DITA development for the past few years, and
is the coordinator of the Silicon Valley DITA Interest Group as well as a member of the
DITA XML.org Focus Area Editorial Board at OASIS. He developed the core
plugin that became the DITA App Pack for FrameMaker 7.2 and was involved with the
development of DITA-FMx, an enhanced DITA plugin for FrameMaker.