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Subject: Why LwDITA section

For quick feedback based on Michael's request:

2 Why Lightweight DITA?

LwDITA is a proposed specification for expressing DITA documents in HTML5 and Markdown. It also includes a way to express those documents in DITA XML for processing, content management, interchange, and publishing.

The core features in the DITA standard are semantic tagging, chunking of content into topics, content re-use at various levels, and options for conditional publishing. LwDITA offers all of
these features. However, whereas full DITA also contains specialized content types for technical content and learning and training, advanced elements and attributes customizable for a broad range of use-cases, LwDITA deliberately limits itself to generic structures that can be represented in HTML5 and Markdown. This results in a much smaller standard in terms of elements, attributes, and complexity.

This pragmatic design has implications for small projects and large content collections alike. For individuals, learning how to use the standard in a sensible way will be much easier. LwDITA is designed to allow the use of more generic authoring workflows than full DITA. For organizations, implementing LwDITA will involve much less change-management effort and lower costs than those associated with full DITA.

The choices that keep LwDITA lightweight also mean that this proposed standard has functional limitations compared to full DITA. For users who, after having gained experience with LwDITA
in structured content authoring, need more advanced features for customization and diverse content domains, LwDITA serves as a good start to evolve into full DITA.


Carlos Evia, Ph.D.
Director of Professional and Technical Writing
Associate Professor of Technical Communication
Department of English
Center for Human-Computer Interaction
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA 24061-0112

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