DITA Maps are More than a TOC: Maps can guide users through their experience

Most often a DITA Map is only considered as a publication’s Table of Contents with some extra metadata and configuration setting added.   In reality, a map is much more flexible than that.  A map allows you to guide the relationships between pieces of content.  Using DITA specializations, a map can also be used to model a flowchart, guiding users through a series of documents. In addition, through embedded interactive controls in the flow chart and/or documents, the map can dynamically choose the ‘next’ step based on real-time user input. This could be used for help desk applications, diagnostic procedures, and much more.

The DITA map can have many applications including:

  • Hierarchical structure – ToC
  • Taxonomy hierarchies – denoting that ‘Windows’ and ‘Unix’ are kinds of ‘Operating Systems’
  • Conditional navigation structure/flowchart/decision tree
  • Website navigation structure/site map
  • Application manifest/deployment descriptor
  • Mind Map 

What can the audience expect to learn?

This presentation will explore the flexibility of DITA maps and share brainstorm ideas around how to use them in ways other than just technical publication TOCs.

Meet the presenter

Chris Nitchie

Chris Nitchie has over 12 years’ experience in the XML publishing industry. Before joining Oberon Technologies as a product development lead, Chris was a developer for PTC on the Arbortext product line where he worked on DITA and link management-related features. He currently participates on the OASIS DITA technical committee and has been a voting member for the past three years.





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