Using Markdown and Lightweight DITA in a Collaborative Environment

Do developers, engineers, or other SMEs contribute content to your team? Do they use DITA? Cheerfully? How about your writers using DITA? Are they comfortable? Do they feel DITA offers many more options than they need? Do you wish there were an integrated way to provide a simpler DITA authoring environment—one that could easily be expanded to a full DITA environment when appropriate? If you’re nodding your head, then you’re in luck. Lightweight DITA (LwDITA) offers both a simplified tagset and an interchange mechanism between DITA and Markdown. This presentation offers one example of a workflow implemented in the IXIASOFT DITA CMS that takes advantage of both DITA CMS features and oXygen XML functionality to show how teams can use LwDITA and Markdown to improve the authoring and content contribution experience. The presentation also illustrates useful aspects of the workflow not dependent on the IXIASOFT DITA CMS.

What can the audience expect to learn?

Entry-level usability, particularly for casual contributors and authors new to DITA, is an ongoing concern for the DITA community. Both Markdown and LwDITA have great potential to enable a straightforward authoring experience. This presentation shows that it is absolutely possible to create an end-to-end process whereby new or infrequent DITA users can author fully valid DITA content with minimal exposure to tags or structure.

Meet the presenter

Leigh White is a DITA author, information architect, and DITA Open Toolkit fanatic. She advocates that effective technical communicators need to be more than writers; they need to be part programmer, part designer and part project manager. Leigh is a DITA Specialist at IXIASOFT, where she helps documentation groups evaluate their workflows and transition into the IXIASOFT DITA CMS. She is the author of DITA for Print: A DITA Open Toolkit Workbook (recently updated for DITA OT 2.x) and a contributor to The Language of Content Strategy and The Language of Technical Communication. Leigh is also a member of the OASIS DITA Adoption TC. A conference veteran, Leigh has spoken on XML, DITA, and content management systems at several conferences, including the STC Summit, DITA North America, DITA Europe Intelligent Content, Lavacon, and Writers UA.

Keith is the DITA Evangelist and Market Researcher at IXIASOFT. Keith is an award-winning lecturer on Information Architecture at the University of Toronto’s School for Continuing Education. He is also the company’s liaison with OASIS, actively working on the DITA Technical Committee and the Lightweight DITA sub-committee. Most recently he has become Chair of the OASIS DITA Adoption Committee, succeeding in this role from JoAnn Hackos. He can often be found presenting at conferences, researching how DITA is being used, and sharing those results with the DITA community. Look for his chapter on the DITA marketplace in the upcoming book Current Practices and Trends in Technical and Professional Communication, due out in 2017. Keith’s popular industry blog DITAWriter.com has become a focal point on DITA resources and best practices. Connect with Keith on Twitter @KeithIXIASOFT.

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