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DITA versus DITA-OT: Who gets the credit (or the blame)?

With almost any modern technology, it can be hard to understand all of the parts that build a product. Most of the time this is what you want: you don’t need to know who made the chip inside your tablet, and you don’t care if a feature in your app comes from the app itself or from OS code. But what happens when something goes wrong?

With “”DITA”” often presented as a complete solution, it’s no surprise that our community runs into the same problem. Almost every DITA user has as some point wondered: is what I’m seeing a normal part of DITA, or something I can change in DITA-OT? Am I using one of them wrong? Where do I turn when something goes wrong?

This session is not an introduction or how-to for either DITA or DITA-OT; instead, it is an exploration of the technology stack that makes most DITA solutions a reality. The goal is to help attendees understand what makes up DITA solutions – those they use already, or those they evaluate in the future. A clear understanding of the parts will lead to better understanding of what makes up a DITA product, and make you feel more comfortable evaluating your current or future needs.

What can the audience expect to learn?

In this session we will clarify the parts at play in most DITA solutions, highlighting the differences between DITA (the standard), the DITA Open Toolkit, and vendor solutions that bundle these into a product. This will help attendees know where to start when problems arise: do you send a bug report to your vendor? Are you going to be stuck with another consultant fee? Should you just send an email to dita-users and hope for the best?

In addition, attendees will come away with a clear understanding of:

  • Who owns and maintains each piece
  • How to request changes in each
  • Who is responsible for evaluating those requests (and how they do so)
  • When (or whether) to expect the change
  • Available options if you just need it working, right now

Meet the presenter

Robert has spent 17 years working on SGML/XML publishing tools at IBM, 15 of those years focusing on DITA. For most of that time, he has contributed to and helped lead the open-source DITA Open Toolkit project. Robert is co-editor of the DITA 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3 specifications, making him one of those rare developers who has to use the tools that he supports. If you’re not careful, he will tell you (and show you!) how he uses DITA to publish his music collection and book library. Robert is currently co-authoring a book on DITA keys with Kristen James Eberlein.

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