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DITA Best Practices: A Roadmap for Writing, Editing, and Architecting in DITA Paperback – 30 Sep 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: IBM Press; 1 edition (30 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0132480522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0132480529
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.7 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 140,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

&>The Start-to-Finish, Best-Practice Guide to Implementing and Using DITA

 

Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) is today’s most powerful toolbox for constructing information. By implementing DITA, organizations can gain more value from their technical documentation than ever before. Now, three DITA pioneers offer the first complete roadmap for successful DITA adoption, implementation, and usage.

 

Drawing on years of experience helping large organizations adopt DITA, the authors answer crucial questions the “official” DITA documents ignore, including: Where do you start? What should you know up front? What are the pitfalls in implementing DITA. How can you avoid those pitfalls?

 

The authors begin with topic-based writing, presenting proven best practices for developing effective topics and short descriptions. Next, they address content architecture, including how best to set up and implement DITA maps, linking strategies, metadata, conditional processing, and content reuse. Finally, they offer “in the trenches” solutions for ensuring quality implementations, including guidance on content conversion.

 

Coverage includes: 

  • Knowing how and when to use each DITA element--and when not to
  • Writing “minimalist,” task-oriented information that quickly meets users’ needs
  • Creating effective task, concept, and reference topics for any product, technology, or service
  • Writing effective short descriptions that work well in all contexts
  • Structuring DITA maps to bind topics together and provide superior navigation
  • Using links to create information webs that improve retrievability and navigation
  • Gaining benefits from metadata without getting lost in complexity
  • Using conditional processing to eliminate redundancy and rework
  • Systematically promoting reuse to improve quality and reduce costs
  • Planning, resourcing, and executing effective content conversion
  • Improving quality by editing DITA content and XML markup 

If you’re a writer, editor, information architect, manager, or consultant who evaluates, deploys, or uses DITA, this book will guide you all the way to success.

 

Also see the other books in this IBM Press series:

  • Developing Quality Technical Information: A Handbook for Writers and Editors
  • The IBM Style Guide: Conventions for Writers and Editors

About the Author


Laura Bellamy is an Information Architect at VMware, Inc. and a technical communications instructor at University of California Santa Cruz Extension. Laura has been a long-time DITA champion, working at IBM during the adoption and proliferation of DITA. Throughout her career, she has worked on many facets of DITA implementation and now dreams in XML.


Michelle Carey is a technical editor at IBM and a technical communications instructor at University of California Santa Cruz Extension. Michelle has taught IBM teams and users’ groups about best practices for authoring in DITA, topic-based writing, writing for translation, editing user interfaces, and writing effective error messages. She is also a coauthor of the book Developing Quality Technical Information. Michelle loves to ride motorcycles and mountain bikes, herd cats, and diagram sentences.

 

Jenifer Schlotfeldt is a project leader, information developer, and technical leader at IBM and a technical communications instructor at the University of California Santa Cruz Extension. She has been authoring, testing, and teaching DITA since 2003. She has converted documentation to DITA, authored new content in DITA, contributed to new DITA specializations, and created many training materials for different facets of DITA authoring.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By IanB on 9 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amazing number of errors from typos to just the wrong picture. But don't let the errors drive you away from this book. There's a pragmatic approach that should help enormously many first time users. DITA techniques are well described and for the most part easy to follow. There are some odd areas where there's a promising title and then almost no usable substance - for example using templates or external non-DITA files.

I got to page 70 or so before I started to understand the additional text string call outs and boxes in the editor screen shots. A "how to read the pictures" section in the front matter would have helped. The page layout does not help remove the impression that XML can be ugly.

Maybe the errors are deliberate - just to keep your attention. It seems beyond belief that anyone could publish such a book with such beginner errors spread throughout if the errors were not there to tell us - even the experts get it wrong, so there's hope for you.

Checklists at the end of each chapter are particularly useful. The chapter on legacy conversion is a great asset. However, the repetitive structure of every chapter drags after a while. Or perhaps it was not meant to be read from front to back - just dip in for reference. Whatever your position around a DITA project, read this book, have a giggle over the errors, then just remember to use the good stuff.

Last point - I think the authors should have tried harder to follow their own advice. There are quite a few examples of content or structure contradicting advice elsewhere in the book. Navigation can be difficult as well with at one point Step 4 following 20 pages after Step 3.

Still - get the book - you'll enjoy it and benefit from having read all of it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're looking to learn DITA, this is the best book in the market right now. I read a few others but none are as comprehensive as this one.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Get this book! 27 Oct. 2011
By J. Chew - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Anyone who is implementing or using DITA should get this book. It has everything that you need to know to implement and use DITA.

This is now my go-to DITA book and has replaced the other DITA books and information (for example, material from DITA classes) that I already have.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Best DITA how to book for tech docs yet 11 Oct. 2011
By Yvonne Kucher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book really is the definitive DITA roadmap and best practices based on many years of experience.

The book also includes:
- Chapter summaries
- Checklists and worksheets
- Common problems and solutions
- Figures and tables of correct and incorrect how tos

Although you can access the book immediately if you join Safari books, buy the printed book too because of its visual effectiveness. What do I mean? You'll find out!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Must Read -- Even at the Beach 20 April 2014
By AlQibla AlAwla - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We have six large publications and eight customers, all of whom want a customized version. This situation cries out for single sourcing, for which DITA is one solution. The online documentation for DITA is OK, but not comprehensive, not always comprehensible, and not necessarily addressed to technical writers. This publication is all three. Extremely well planned, very logical structure, and the authors have clearly spent many hours doing the job that I do. If you have a gut feeling that DITA can solve your single-sourcing problem, but are not sure exactly how, then this book is for you.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Excellent overview of DITA 5 Jun. 2014
By Priya Hays - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
DITA Best Practices gives a detailed overview of the technical aspects of DITA. Written for beginners and experts, the book discusses the use of topics, the reuse of content allowed by DITA, and how and why DITA should be adopted by companies. I use DITA at work, and this book gave me the theoretical insight into the practical use of DITA. It does a great job of clarifying difficult concepts such as information modeling.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Very useful, easy read! 25 Aug. 2014
By AK Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was an easy read and yet it was very informative and timely. I highly recommend it for anyone considering moving to topic based writing.
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