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Subject: Need to have a conversation with you about how the DITA TC packages its specification

Hi, Chet.

I want to talk with you about how the DITA TC approves and packages its specification. I mentioned this briefly last time we talked.

For DITA 1.2, we approved and distributed one specification. You can consider it the "all" version; it contained base, technical content, and learning and training material. That made it large and weighty and made DITA 1.2 seem too complex for some users. The size of the specification documentation jumped from 593 to 1236 PDF pages.

For DITA 1.3, we want to approve and distribute an "all" version -- but we also want to package and distribute subsets of it. We think that these subsets are what most end users will want to download and use.

Thoughts about this?

We would of course single-source content into the various packages. Ideally we would just send the "all" package through the formal approval process. Otherwise, we will have a huge number of deliverables for review ... For example, let's say five packages (base, technical content, learning & training, semiconductor, TBD) x five output formats (XHTML, PDF, CHM, ePub, DITA source) = 25 deliverables -- this might take up all of your time as TC admin! And honestly, be impossible for us to easily cope with also.

The previous TC admin, Mary McRae, had difficulties with the fact that material would be "duplicated" in the various packages, for example:

Base = Base
Technical content = Base + Technical Content
Learning & Training = Base + Technical Content + Learning & Training

The reality is that this is how DITA is constructed. We built it in modules that can be aggregated, and this will only further continue as we produce DITA specializations geared at various industry-vertical segments, for example, the semiconductor industry (slated for inclusion in DITA 1.3).


Kris 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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