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chairs message

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Subject: A hosted solution for specification editing?

If OASIS provided a web/hosted solution for authoring specifications and producing various outputs, would that solve the problem of custom tooling? Would that be of interest beyond just the DITA TC?

Normal users would edit the content directly, or edit in a word processor and then copy/paste into the editor. The editor would enforce common structural requirements and prevent inconsistent formatting. Expert users could take the content offline and work in the XML editor of their choice.

That would give us the strengths of an XML tool chain for managing reuse, creating multiple formats, providing structural and presentational consistency. But without the weaknesses of an XML tool chain in requiring expert authors, custom tool installations, or extensive training.

The question is not meant to be hypothetical - the technology exists today and is being used in similar scenarios. But we can't use it with OASIS unless they host it - otherwise we'd be storing and working with content outside of OASIS, which would break the rules. I'm willing to investigate whether we could work with OASIS to make this available for spec development, if there's broad enough interest.

For a sense of the editing interface, you can take a look at an editor vendor's demo here:
This is preliminary support, so it's slow to load a topic the first time you open one with a specific type. You can add elements using the [+] dropdown.

Michael Priestley, Senior Technical Staff Member (STSM)
Lead IBM DITA Architect

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