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Subject: Update on splitting out base deliverable for 2.0


We've talked several times about splitting out our DITA 2.0 deliverables so that we don't have One Big Bundle of base + technical communications + learning & training. We've also talked about the many benefits this will bring, particularly the freedom for any of the three to release updates or fixes independently.

Obviously there are still details to be worked out, but from reading back over a lot of meeting notes, I think we have general consensus that this is happening. It's been a little over a year since we approved the stage 1 proposal to split out the Tech Comm deliverable (it was officially voted to stage 2 last February). As far as I can tell, we don't have a similar proposal to create a new deliverable for learning and training.

Which puts us in a bit of an odd place:
* Learning and training builds on Tech Comm -- so if that one splits, then L&T does too.
* I don't think anybody expects us to end up with two packages (base, and a big DITA 2.0 tech comm package that also includes L&T).
* So we've sort of approved, but haven't approved, the plan to split L&T as well.

We've still got all of the tech comm + learning and training files in our 2.0 development branch at GitHub. In working on stage 3 proposals, I realized I was updating topics that will eventually be moved out of that repository anyway. I was also updating L&T grammar files, without knowing for sure how many of those will exist in 2.0. Some of that is clearly wasted effort (like updating the deprecated L&T domain). That said, I don't think we can remove them from the "specification source" in github until the TC officially acknowledges this plan.

The Tech Comm stage 2 proposal is already in progress (which makes sense because that proposal is explicitly to work out details of how to deliver Tech Comm independently). Presumably the 2.0 version of L&T will build on that proposal. That said, those are really proposals to create the new 2.0 version of those packages.

I don't think removing the topics and grammar files from the base really fits with the stage 1/2/3 proposal process. So I think what I'm asking is - can we make this direction explicit with a vote that these will be delivered as separate products? What sort of vote is required? Making this official (and updating our source accordingly) will really make work on other proposals easier.

Note: this does not mean discarding any source (it can still be retrieved in its current state once work begins on the TC or L&T deliverables). There's also a side benefit: if we wait a bit to update TC or L&T for other changes happening in the base, those will provide a great case study for how others will migrate their specializations to DITA 2.0.

Also: we've said this before, but it's worth repeating that planning to split the deliverables does not increase or decrease the chances of a DITA 2.0 Tech Comm or L&T deliverable. It just acknowledges that the package split we already manage with DITA 1.3 is more official, with all the release benefits we've discussed around that.


Robert D. Anderson
DITA-OT lead and Co-editor DITA 1.3 specification,
Digital Services Group

E-mail: robander@us.ibm.com
Digital Services Group
11501 BURNET RD,, TX, 78758-3400, AUSTIN, USA

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