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Subject: RE: [dita] DITA backlash



I appreciate you pointing out the definition of topic used by Information Mapping, and I agree that DITA can model that use of “topic” if used appropriately. And I also agree wholeheartedly that DITA is a TOOL, not a methodology. I think that is a crucial distinction missed by many who enter the DITA world without proper grounding in the principles of structured writing.


However, I will agree with Ms. Haworth that DITA does not make developing well-structured content particularly easy. But perhaps the blame for that is the tool-development community. So many of the authoring tools seem to focus on topic writing but do not adequately provide the means for incorporating those topics into meaningful structure. Just supporting a DITA map view is not enough in my opinion.


As much as I hate to admit it, I’m very happy to see Adobe’s commitment to supporting DITA authoring in FrameMaker (and I’m not saying that I think they haven’t made mistakes, just that they seem to be making an honest effort).





Mike Austin

Content Information Architect

AISG Information Development Systems & Methodologies

Freescale Semiconductor, Inc.

Office +1 512 895 8910



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From: dita@lists.oasis-open.org [mailto:dita@lists.oasis-open.org] On Behalf Of Bob Thomas
Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 9:16 AM
To: Kristen James Eberlein
Subject: Re: [dita] DITA backlash


Hi Kris,

I think that Ms. Haworth has a different understanding of what a topic is supposed to be. She believes that a topic is a unit of presentation. I always go back to what Robert Horn says in Information Mapping. A topic is a unit of information that answers a single question, or serves a single purpose, for the reader. This deeper meaning of what constitutes a topic is one that DITA models.

The other thing worth noting is that DITA is a tool. When that tool is used by people who do not understand the craft, bad things happen. There is a false expectation among many that DITA will turn a poor or marginal technical writer into a good one. DITA can help in that process, but on its own it's not sufficient.

Best Regards,

On Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 6:21 AM, Kristen James Eberlein <kris@eberleinconsulting.com> wrote:


 Kristen James Eberlein
Principal consultant, Eberlein Consulting
Co-chair, OASIS DITA Technical Committee
Charter member, OASIS DITA Adoption Committee
+1 919 682-2290; kriseberlein (skype)

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