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Subject: Positions on the Open Toolkit

Dear Friends,
We are all following this interesting thread. In this memo, I'm
suggested we give it a recognizable name. 

Part of the issue in front of us is the necessary distinction (I
believe)in the DITA TC between the DITA specification, which is an
official OASIS standard, and the DITA Open Toolkit, which is not. I
wonder if such a distinction might be important for the publication of
guidelines that would have a substantial influence on DITA adoption? 

Can we develop information that indicates how tools developers are
supporting the OT without inviting charges of bias? Mary McRae's note
indicates that OASIS takes no official position on the nature of the
documents that are official statements from the technical committees (or
at least it hasn't as yet). I think we might be able to produce a Fact
Sheet to accompany the Beginner's Guide for Getting Output from DITA(our
long, awkward working title from today's meeting of the Adoption TC)
that provides data about tools support for the OT and processing. I
think that was what the Help SC was trying so valiantly to do. If we
publish the Fact Sheet in the wiki and link to it from the Guide (which
we would publish with the OT, then we can invite anyone to add their
testimonial about their implementation (without advertising -- so must
be reviewed before added). Would this not be similar to the testimonials
we now offer about using the DITA 1.2 specification? These are
statements of fact without judgments attached. 

Let me know what you think. The Adoption TC is committed to providing
guidance for the OT, obviously with the involvement of Matthew Varghese
who has assumed responsibility for updating the OT Guide. No one in
today's discussion felt that the existing OT Guide was taking the right
direction or had the right audience's in mind.

Our present task is to create a possible TOC for such a Guide based on
the goals we identify for the different levels of the user community. So
far, we've identified those levels as 1) techie folks who prefer working
at the command line 2)ordinary folks who wouldn't dream of command lines
to save their lives, and 3)intermediate folks who are willing to learn
the techie stuff if they don't have any other choice.

We envision explaining how to use ANT in very simple terms with code
that can be cut and pasted. We envision explaining that there are tools
that hide all of that. We envision providing some very basic
instructions for modifying the FO to change the look of the output based
on examples and lines of code.

That was the tenor of this morning's (25 March 2009)discussion. Let me
know what you think.

Best regards,

JoAnn Hackos PhD
Comtech Services, Inc.
Skype joannhackos

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