Darwin’s notebook: Documenting DITA customizations

This presentation will describe an approach to documenting the decisions made in implementing DITA customizations. I propose a file format that records DITA customization decisions as a series of transactions to be applied to a set of DITA schema modules.

The specific approach began as a simple script that parsed schema files to ensure specializations were implemented correctly. The script evolved to support interactive requirements analysis and rapid specialization development, the iterative and often speculative nature of which required a way to persist the specialization details and supporting information.

The file structure defines a set of transactions that can be applied to a set of DITA schema modules, whether the modules are from the OASIS standard or an organization’s existing customized DITA schema. The stored information can provide a human-readable digest of the customizations. The process of DITA customization can thus become repeatable, auditable, and potentially processable.

What can the audience expect to learn?

Attendees will see one approach to documenting DITA customizations, and its potential extended uses. The intent is to raise awareness of the benefits of a structured documentation approach, and possibly move toward a common and widely accepted approach.

Meet the presenter

Tom Comerford is senior consultant with Supratext, providing expertise in all aspects of the content lifecycle. He has worked with content technologies in various industry segments for three decades. His particular areas of interest are content quality and localization. He has worked with several clients on DITA implementations, including specializations.

Tom is co-secretary of the OASIS XLIFF Technical Committee.

 

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