The future of DITA: Looking ahead!

It may be hard to imagine, but DITA 1.3 became an official specification over two years ago, near the end of 2015. As authors get used to the those updates, and new features no longer feel so “new”, many are already asking: what’s next?

The OASIS DITA Technical Committee did not stop work with that release in 2015 — we’re already at work on the next version, DITA 2.0. This release will be the committee’s first opportunity to shake things up and make real changes, rather than just adding new features. So how much shaking can you expect?

What can the audience expect to learn?

In this session, we’ll look ahead to:
* The sure things – what’s already done, or nearly done?
* The likely stuff – what’s already in process, and what’s going to be treated by the committee as a “must do” before any new version?
* Robert’s perfect DITA 2.0: If I had nothing else to do but work on the spec, what would change?
* What’s happening with the always-popular technical content specializations, such as concept, task, and reference?
* Does any of this affect Lightweight DITA?
* What about Learning and Training?

By now you may have heard DITA 2.0 will not be 100% backwards compatible with earlier versions, so in addition to the changes themselves, we’ll also consider the impact on your own documents. It’s not likely many of you actually use the long-deprecated <boolean> element, so getting rid of that should not cause any concern – but are any of the other changes likely to cause you problems? How much migration will be needed, and should you do anything now to help prepare? And finally, is anybody willing to guess when 2.0 is likely to arrive?

Meet the presenter

Robert has spent more than 19 years working on SGML/XML publishing tools at IBM; 15 of those years have been spent primarily with 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.


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