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Subject: RE: [dita] Positions on the Open Toolkit

I think Paul's e-mail brings up especially valid concerns for vendors. 

Nevertheless, in terms of response, I am admittedly concerned about a chilling effect that vendors could potentially have on early adoption efforts for upcoming specializations such as Learning and Training. 

If we cannot provide sample outputs from any implementation, especially from the Open Toolkit, without concerns of bias, we cannot refer to any outputs whatsoever. If this is the case, we cannot demonstrate any practical outputs from DITA, which is essential in early adoption within the marketplace.

In terms of workload and maintenance, it is not possible for a small individual workgroup or committee to reasonably cover examples of every possible implementation, now and in the future, including the implementation at work in someone's basement today. :-)

In terms of providing practical guidance to evaluators, vendors, and users interested in a nascent specialization, especially in a specialization that would have little formal vendor support in early adoption, I would question excluding everything because we cannot possibly include everything.

I have always thought that the purpose of the Open Toolkit was to provide a reference implementation, both for users and vendors alike at the early stages of adoption. We need to know what the thing is supposed to look like when making evaluations. This would hold true for vendors or content development organizations. I think of the Open Toolkit as a tool for both.

Perhaps the way to proceed for specialization groups is to:

1. Establish an actual or ad hoc representative of the Open Toolkit to provide practical guidance in using the Open Toolkit to support a particular specialization, such as Learning and Training, Help, or whatever.

2. At the same time, invite participating vendors to provide the same kind of parallel guidance for workgroups within OASIS.

3. Provide a general, public announcement outside of OASIS. If other vendors want to provide guidance, they can, either inside or outside of OASIS, now or in the future (obviously, they should be encouraged to join OASIS if they want to contribute now). 

4. Mount all of the examples of practical guidance somewhere common.

No one could be accused of excluding anyone, but adoption efforts could proceed and be of practical, demonstrative use to early adopters and vendors alike.

Just some ideas.

Troy Klukewich
Information Architect

-----Original Message-----
From: Grosso, Paul [mailto:pgrosso@ptc.com]
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2009 10:49 AM
To: dita@lists.oasis-open.org
Subject: RE: [dita] Positions on the Open Toolkit

[I cannot post directly to the DITA Adoption TC, but I have
no objection to someone forwarding this as deemed appropriate.]

While PTC feels that the approach taken by the DITA TC's Help 
Subcommittee is a reasonable way to provide useful information 
about specific implementations without including or excluding 
any particular implementations, we would be uncomfortable if 
OASIS or any of its TCs were to single out a particular 
implementation--whether the Open Toolkit or another--for 
special treatment.  This includes "providing guidance for the 
OT" that goes beyond guidance that is relevant to any DITA 
implementation.  Guidance for a particular implementation is 
not something a DITA TC should undertake to the exclusion of 
other DITA implementations.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: JoAnn Hackos [mailto:joann.hackos@comtech-serv.com] 
> Sent: Wednesday, 2009 March 25 16:22
> To: dita-adoption@lists.oasis-open.org; dita@lists.oasis-open.org
> Subject: [dita] 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
> JoAnn Hackos PhD
> President
> Comtech Services, Inc.
> joann.hackos@comtech-serv.com
> Skype joannhackos
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