The Keys to the (DITA) Kingdom: Using indirection without losing your way

Keys (and key references) are now the most talked about feature of DITA, but they are also the least understood. Kris addresses the following key questions:

  • What are keys, and why should I care about them?
  • Do I *really* need to use keys in order to reuse content? To use DITA?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of using keys? Can one go too far with keys?
  • Are there best practices for using keys? Are they universal? Do I need to understand (or care about) “key spaces”?
  • Will key scopes (new in DITA 1.3) change my keys?
  • What do I do if my tools don’t support keys? These questions and more are answered as we attempt to make keys accessible for the average author and propose practical best practices. Attendees come away with a greater understanding of DITA key and key references, including both their advantages and their (occasional) perils.

What can the audience expect to learn?

Attendees will be able to separate situations where keys provide an immediate return from those where keys might not be worth the effort. If they are not yet using keys, they will be able to more confidently plan for a transition to a key-based architecture. They will know how keys do (or don’t) work in DITA 1.2 and how they changed in DITA 1.3. In short, attendees will come away with a greater understanding of DITA key references, including both their advantages and (occasional) perils.

Meet the presenter

Kris Eberlein

As the principal consultant with Eberlein Consulting LLC, Kris works with companies to develop, refine, and sustain successful (and practical) DITA implementation. A member of the DITA Technical Committee since 2007, she has been in leadership roles since 2008 (Secretary, Co-Chair, and Chair). In her current capacity as Chair of the OASIS DITA Technical Committee, she works to ensure the future direction, growth, and health of the DITA standard. She also is co-editor of the DITA 1.2 and 1.3 specifications. Trained as a historian, she’s worn almost all the content worker hats you can imagine: Information developer, team lead, information architect, tool smith … When not herding (technical) cats, she cooks, quilts, and enjoys her 2002 Mini Cooper S. Kris is currently co-authoring a book on DITA Keys with Robert D. Anderson.


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