Saturday, October 6, 2007

DITA East 2007

Being heads-down with other work, I haven't found (or made) the time to add entries.

Amber Swope opened up the conference with a presentation about the business case for DITA in the context of localization.

DITA East 2007 just wrapped up. I had three presentations: The Interoperability Framework, a new one where I spoke about where some directions we would like the DITA standard to move toward, and I presented Kevin Dorr's presentation about DITA and Content Exchange. Overall, I think they were received well.

There were a lot of good presentations. Robert Anderson (IBM), gave several good presentations around the DITA OT and specialization. France Baril gave a presentation about reuse strategies.

Joe Gollner gave a very good and very insightful impromptu presentation on Saturday. Essentially, standards (like DITA and S1000D) are tools - not solutions. These should be used to enable process, but they should not define it.

The discussion panel at the end was truly illuminating for me. The key takeaway for me was that several people are very interested in the "best practices" for implementing and using DITA in their environment.

For so long, I've been focused on DITA-as-technology, which is intriguing in its own right. Interoperability, specializations are definitely fascinating and important to understand. Still, from the discussion, I interpreted the "best practices" remarks to reflect a fundamental facet of the standard that needs more focus: DITA-as-process.

Many know the basic benefits of DITA: modularity, reuse, localization, the concept and benefits of specialization, etc. But most are really interested in answering very gut-level questions. How will DITA affect how I create and publish content? How (Where) do I change how I design my content with DITA? Where and when do I reuse? When should I conref content?

With that in mind, I learned quite a bit about where DITA needs to focus.

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