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Subject: Re: [dita] who complains about complexity of DITA?

Hi Dick,

>The "DocBook is dead" undercurrent in this thread surprises me.
I hadn't noticed that undercurrent, and don't think it's relevant to the discussion in any case. Getting

But I do think that just saying "DITA is complex" is a complete mistake. DITA can be complex, if you need complexity. It can also be simple, if you need simplicity. There are plenty of case studies from both ends of the spectrum. Boosters of DITA tend to focus on the simplicity of the simple cases and the value of the complex cases, and detractors of DITA do the reverse. Both are misleading.

A big driver for the creation of the DITA maturity model was to bring some clarity to the discussion. At level 2 of the model, you're using just topics and maps, and only prepackaged specializations (if any). Many organizations adopt at that level and are quite happy with their ROI. You get the potential for substantial additional returns from higher up the model, along with increased cost - although over time, there is a trickledown effect, as specializations created by organizations at level 3 or higher are tested and contributed back to the community, allowing groups at level 2 to capitalize on that investment.


Michael Priestley, Senior Technical Staff Member (STSM)
Lead IBM DITA Architect

From: Dick Hamilton <rlhamilton@frii.com>
To: "dita@lists.oasis-open.org" <dita@lists.oasis-open.org>
Cc: "dita-adoption@lists.oasis-open.org" <dita-adoption@lists.oasis-open.org>
Date: 12/07/2010 02:22 AM
Subject: Re: [dita] who complains about complexity of DITA?

The "DocBook is dead" undercurrent in this thread surprises me. DocBook is still alive and well in many applications, esp., open source.

Even with more elements (though if you include L&T, DITA 1.2 is bigger than DocBook 5.0:-), I'd argue that DocBook is much simpler for writers and will be until practitioners learn how to use the complex features of DITA to create simple applications that support the work that writers need to do.

(By "application" I mean a combination of specialization, features like keyref, content strategy, and writer training to create a custom solution that addresses a particular business need.)

I wonder if the correct "marketing" approach is to acknowledge that DITA is complex, but emphasize that when properly used, that complexity makes it possible for tools developers to create applications that are simpler and more capable for their target audience.

Dick Hamilton
XML Press

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