Adding items to Su-Laine's points, which I
did not have time to cover in the meeting, now posting just to dita-adoption,
perhaps for further follow-up next week:
agree that a DITA guide in this format is genuinely useful, at least for
those already using the tools covered, though not necessarily as an "official"
OASIS guide, and not as a tool for evaluation. It certainly does not
pretend to be comprehensive.
terms of evaluating DITA tools, there have been some efforts to date,
including Bob Doyle's CMS article "XML Editors Review" and his more recent
article in the April 2008 Intercom, DITA Tools from A to Z.
I contacted Bob at one point and he mentioned that
the effort to track the growing list of DITA tools is monumental, even on a
addition to any legal or perceptual issues with OASIS trying to track and
review tools in a methodical manner, I question whether we can handle the
scale of such a commitment. It's no problem to track two tools. Twenty tools is
am a DITA adopter, and not a vendor, I know what I would like. :-) I have had to
test numerous tools on my own, and this is probably typical amongst
companies and individuals evaluating DITA along with new
really, really liked the idea of a standardized test suite DITA project for
running against tools. It would not have to be a particularly realistic example,
contrary to my desire for a separate, real-world sample. (A real world sample
would not most likely make use of every single major feature of DITA and would
probably look silly if it did.)
that when vendors say they support DITA (and no offense here to the vendors), it
doesn't mean much of anything to me. I have to test what support really means
and whether the level of support meets my particular needs.
logistical standpoint, we at OASIS may be in no better position than to come up
with standards, define levels of compliance per some objective criteria, and
possibly indicate what tools pass compliance when submitted to us. If we are
going to take on this role of confirming compliance, I think the onus
should be on vendors to submit on a first come first serve basis, not for us to
find and track.
do take on the role of confirming compliance, I think we should make the process
formal and announce it to the general industry via the usual communication
channels for these kinds of processes.
think that a test suite would be really useful to vendors wanting to create or
improve tools that support DITA. There have been a few tools that I have
reviewed that--without mentioning names--have not impressed me with their
interpretation and level of DITA-support. I suspect that if a particular vendor
had actually worked from an objective and full set of criteria along with a
test model, they might have implemented things differently, to the benefit of
the market and themselves.
ideal world, I'd love to see the Help Guide's hands-on, real-world approach
used on every single DITA tool out there. Such documentation would be fantastic
for companies prototyping solutions and testing tools. In the end, I do not
think it is practical for us to document every single tool, no matter how
valuable. We may simply have to leave it up to each vendor whether they supply
such documentation against a standardized test suite from
other hand, I do think of the DITA OT as a lowest common denominator
implementation. When I first evaluated DITA, I went to the source, then checked
vendor solutions. I used the OT as a comparative baseline. While it
would make sense for vendors to cover their own documentation needs proving how
easy it is to use DITA, it would make sense for OASIS to cover its own open
source solution referencing a standard test suite on equal
footing. I do think it would make sense at the beginning of the material to
make clear that the OT is a reference and one of many implementations, then
point people off to some other vehicle for tool review.
think it would be fair for us to post such a practical OT "guide"
referencing a standard test suite somewhere, whether official or
unofficial, and invite vendors to submit links to their own solutions,
all on equal footing. And if the vendor solution ends up looking better
than the nuts and bolts DITA OT, so be it (and I hope so,
as an evaluator, an OASIS test suite, a standard hands-on guide to get the
reference system running for detailed testing, and competitive, comparative,
parallel information from vendors would be heaven. In the worst case, I'll
take a new tool and run it against the test suite myself without documentation
and see what it can do. Either way, with or without accompanying documentation
for the test suite, I win as an adopter.
Hi Mary and
It's been an
interesting past few weeks. Below I've tried to summarize some *potential*
issues in publishing OASIS guides to technologies. Not all of these apply to
any discussions we've had about this particular guide, however I think it is
useful to put them on the table as hypothetical issues for purposes of
formulating and clarifying OASIS's general policies on the publishing of
technology guides under its name.
- The public might
perceive that the products associated with subcommittee TC members are given
more prominence than the products of non-members, and consider OASIS to be
less credible as a result.
- Vendors whose
products have not been included in the guide might complain that they didn't
receive adequate notice about the fact that the document was being written,
and didn't have a fair chance to have their products considered for
information about a product might be omitted from a guide in order to make it
more palatable to the product vendor who holds a vote on whether to accept or
reject the guide.
- Claims about a
particular product may turn out to be false advertising. If false advertising
appears in content published by OASIS, who is responsible for
- Is it a good use
of TC time and energy to try to evaluate a technology guide written by a
- Can a TC provide
a meaningful approval of a technology guide written by a subcommittee if TC
members do not have access to some of technologies described in the
Again, not all of
these issues have come up in the discussion about this particular guide, but
these are the types of things that I think are useful to put on the table for
purpose of formulating OASIS policy.
I also want to
echo Kris Eberlein’s sentiment appreciating the effort that has been put into
this guide so far by Help SC members. Much of the information the Help SC has
produced is useful to the public; the question we are trying to address is if
and how the OASIS name should be associated with it.
From: Bruce Nevin
Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2009
To: Michael Priestley;
[dita] Re: Meeting Request: Issues About OASIS and OASIS-Approved
angels fear ...
my organization is a DITA adopter rather than potential competitor in the
vendor space serving adopters, maybe I can dare to be a bit more
of member organizations meet on committees and subcommittees in a cooperative
spirit to establish standards, guidelines, etc. to the mutual benefit of
another organization enter such a committee (or view its work and membership
from the outside) and construe that cooperative spirit as collusion among an
in the full breadth of OASIS such issues have arisen before and been
addressed. As one possible approach, is "mutual
benefit" defined in the broadest sense somewhere in the OASIS umbrella
such that no one can construe it in a narrow, exclusionary sense, and can a TC
or SC point to that umbrella definition should the issue
Sent: Wednesday, March 18,
2009 2:01 PM
Subject: Re: [dita] Re: Meeting Request:
Issues About OASIS and OASIS-Approved Publications
clarify, I don't think anyone suggested that an OASIS member organization
would sue another OASIS member organization. The question was, are there any
concerns about a group of OASIS member organizations writing about the
products of other companies (or writing about some products but not others,
for that matter).
So much for not
characterizing the issues in writing :-) But I wanted to correct the
characterization of the chit-chat anyway.
Priestley, Senior Technical Staff Member (STSM)
Lead IBM DITA Architect
[dita] Re: Meeting Request: Issues About OASIS and
Spring is in the air. With chit-chat about OASIS member
organizations being open to suing other OASIS member organizations and OASIS
individual members, it may not be prudent for any individual to characterize
the issues in writing (hence the intentional vagueness in my previous
Perhaps the best course would be to have the TC next Tuesday
"approve" the minutes of our meeting yesterday, thereby providing an
appropriate starting place for defining the issues pertinent to the meeting
that we'd like to organize with you.
Sorry ... I wish that it were
as simple as summarizing the explicit points of
----- Original Message -----
Subject: [dita] Re: Meeting Request: Issues
About OASIS and OASIS-Approved Publications
Date: Wed, 18 Mar 2009
It would be most helpful if you
could provide the list of issues in advance so I can make sure to have the
right people involved - once I have a better idea I can look at schedules
and see what will work for everyone.
Tue, Mar 17, 2009 at 8:34 PM, <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Hi Mary --
In the process of reviewing the DITA Help
Technologies Guide (attached), the DITA Technical Committee bumped into some
issues -- some potentially legal -- that are beyond the scope of our TC. We
suspect (and hope) that other TCs or working groups in OASIS have
encountered and resolved such issues.
We are hoping that you
could set up a concall next week with you and with the following DITA
- Micheal Priestley
- Stan Doherty
Two goals for the meeting --
Review the issues.
2. Identify from the OASIS side of things possible
precedents, resources, and solution strategies
Manager of TC Administration, OASIS