Saw an interesting email chain this morning on
Single Source SIG. An individual is looking for guidance. It sounds
knows that DITA is the right thing to do, but then it seems doesn’t
really understand how to achieve it with tools. I was most interested
in one of
the replies which did a succinct job of pointing out exactly how
is to achieve the few simple scenarios she wants (html and pdf) and
potentially quite costly.
I believe this is one of the most common
will find for the tech author audience and the answer that Scott gave
It does highlight, however, that this is not a simple thing to achieve
I believe where we can make the biggest
to put a more positive swing on this kind of answer, and as we
week, providing some sort of checklist against which to evaluate tools
as identifying what tools are out there. (preaching to the choir, I
I have added the email text for reference. (I am
this is OK, as long as we don’t distribute further)
If you're to be authoring content in DITA
you'll need an
editor that supports DITA. Some popular options are .. Oxygen,
DITA-FMx), XMetaL, Arbortext, XXE (and others ..
One of the nice things about DITA is that you don't really need to
decide on a
single authoring tool .. as long as it round-trips valid DITA it won't
You can have people using XMetaL and others using FrameMaker, and all
files will integrate nicely with your publishing process. As far as I
Author-IT will export DITA, but I wouldn't consider it a DITA authoring
because it can't open DITA files (without a complicated import process).
You can generate online output through the
Toolkit, and after a bit of tweaking and effort, you'll probably have
that works reasonably well. If you want something a bit more WYSIWYG
building your HTML-based output, you might consider RoboHelp (which now
DITA files, but is not a DITA authoring tool) or Quadralay's
Flare is poised to have DITA support, but as
far as I
know it's not there yet.
For PDF output, you can use the Open Toolkit,
order to get anything reasonably useful will require hiring an FO
probably spending a substantial amount of time and money. FrameMaker
nice looking PDF output right out of the box, and modifying a FM
infinitely easier than FO development. Even if you don't use FM as your
authoring tool, you might consider using it for PDF output.
Vickie Hearne wrote:
> Hello all:
> I'm working with a software company to
migrate their unstructured content from their wiki into a more
> We need electronic output (a help system
nested, layered structure that can be delivered via the web), and the
occasional .pdf manuals for training, etc. While not graphic intensive
shots mostly), we would like to include a video with the task component.
> I'm reluctant to take them down the Robo
though I have a lot of experience with the product, potentially, there
multiple contributors, and, Robo is not the most intuitive for the
author. I also would the the single-source tool to be leveraged for
non-product content, like RFP response, contract prep, sows, etc.
> Any insight suggestions (and warnings!)
> PS: I've used Author-IT in the past,
comfortable with the ease of the UI. Anyone working with the 5.0