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Subject: Keith's Notes from the Kirkland DITA Listening Session

And here are my notes from the Kirkland session:

Kirkland DITA Listening Session
January 25, 2017
In attendance: Scott Hudson (Jeppeson)
Virtually: Amy Bowman (ServiceNow), Dawn Bunting (ServiceNow), Joe Storbeck (JANA), Joe Zucker (ServiceNow), Kathy Madison (ComTech), Keith Schengili-Roberts (IXIASOFT)
Dawn Bunting
- 30 writers plus a tools team plus others who also contribute
- Joe Zucker is her boss
- what we love about DITA: the ability to write in one place and publish to many; are able to push to the knowledge base, community site, and several other places at once
- currently have about 10K of docs per release, and have 3 releases they work with on a regular basis, so they manage about 35K of DITA content
- more sophistication is better for us; love the ideas of keys, keyscopes, etc.
- not currently doing any translation, though it may happen in the future; are confident that if asked they could do so
- are currently using DITA 1.2, planning to move to 1.3 later this year because we want scoped keys
- she is presenting on DITA NA this April because Dawn Stevens talked to her about scoped keys and she discovered that they had a solid use case for adoption
- we have essentially the same documentation with slight variations for 6 different products, and scoped keys makes this much easier to accomplish and manage
- currently have about 300 ditamaps, with a hierarchy about 5-levels deep,
- are big fans of oXygen XML, "every time we find something new about the product we found something new and love it even more"
Current toolchain is: oXygen -> Eclipse -> GIT -> Jenkins -> Zoomin (and no CCMS)
- process takes everything our writers have checked in and the next day it is up and available on their staging site for viewing/checking
- Zoomin is their dynamic publishing engine
- DITA makes their lives easier, but we would love for someone to talk to once a month about the challenges; are hoping that DITA Adoption might be able to help us hook up with other people who are not in a CCMS on a regular basis  
- like the open toolchain a lot, as it allows them to work directly with things, and nothing is hidden behind a “proprietary curtain”
- have a challenge with what they called "cross bundle" links, have a heck of a time getting links from one publication to link to another; Scott mentioned that there is a solution for this in DITA 1.3
- search engine optimization: would like to see anything that would help with this; Keith mentioned his efforts in this area, and offered to share his presentation on this subject; Kathy mentioned that as CIDM members that they could watch the recorded version of the webinar they did with Keith
- possible additions for DITA 2.0: would like to be able to put othermeta not just in the prolog but at the block level within a topic in order to point people at particular sections within their own type of online help
- since we are pushing our content to developer sites, many times they or their SMEs want to use special characters is strings such as ampersand or dollar signs; Scott mentioned this is a limitation more with XML in general, and that Schematron might be a solution for this
- would have loved to have had more information on what to do/what not to do when migrating to DITA and using it; feels like she had to dig a lot in order to find out what they needed to know; when you start talking to people who have DITA experience you find that there is a wealth of information, and if we could start a movement to provide better pointers to what information is out there or perhaps regular virtual meetings to bring people together.
Joe Zucker
- Jenkins does a build of the content from the repository and then uses the DITA-OT along with Zoomin and  
- next stage for us is linking this up with enhanced personalization, and metadata in the topics to allow us have content consistency across different platforms; Keith mentioned iiRDS metadata
- we need t-shirts that say "We Love DITA" ;)
DITA 1.2 = 1
DITA 1.2 = planning
Specializations = no; we talk about it every once in a while, but were warned not to unless we have to (and so far they have not had to); maintenance overhead is primary reasons
Constraints = no, "but we so want to!"; will do so later this year
Filtering = yes
Branch filtering = no, planned
Content libraries = yes, "in our conversion we did not set that up, but within the last 3 months we have started putting that in place. A perfect case of we would have liked to have known that this is how to do this."
Keys = yes, whenever possible (what we conref we would rather use as keys; would like to replace conrefs with keys)
Troubleshooting = planned (sold on it, but not using it yet)
Release management = no, try not to have writers do too much in the prolog; would love to auto-generate release notes though
MathML = no
SVG = no
Translation = no
Linking videos = yes, but only to external YouTube videos
Learning and Training = no, "it's a bit too heavy for what we need"
Machinery task = no
Hazard statement = no
Highlight element constraints = not constrained, but plan to. Emphasis might be a better a better, more semantically descriptive element.
Separate DITA vocabulary release schedule? = would depend on tools supporting it
DITA 4 Publishers = no
Dynamic Publishing = Zoomin
Lightweight DITA = aware of it, but don't as yet see a use for it
Augmented reality = no
IoT = no, but should certainly be considered in future DITA development
Have an information model? = yes,
Use Dynamic Information Model? = no, but maybe?
Knew about white paper on that available from OASIS website: Yes
Where do you go for information on translation? = not needed 
Use dita.xml.org = yes
Where do you go for information = OAIS DITA spec, Yahoo group (dita-users), personal networking, oXygen forum, CIDM/Comtech content and conferences




Keith Schengili-Roberts
Market Researcher and DITA Evangelist
825 Querbes, Suite 200, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H2V 3X1
tel  + 1 514 279-4942  /  toll free + 1 877 279-4942 

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