Why Everyone Should Customize DITA and How to Do It Easy

Presentation Abstract

In past years, many users have been complaining that DITA is too complex. But DITA was never meant to be used out of the box, with everything always shown. Still, that is what most companies do. The main reason is that configuring, constraining and specializing the DTDs for DITA is an expert’s job and most companies do not have that expertise available in-house.

With the change to RelaxNG in DITA 1.3, the customization methods have become much easier to do and the reasons for not doing this work have basically disappeared. Except that there is as yet no tutorial about configuration, constraints and specialization for the RelaxNG files. Also, most tools do still require DTDs for validation.

This presentation shows the basic customization techniques available in the RelaxNG files and shows tools that allow the creation of DTDs out of the customized RelaxNG files. After this, nobody should still use DITA out of the box and complain about its complexity.

The presentation also shows a web-based interface to editing the RelaxNG files, which allows DITA customization without ever seeing an angular bracket.

What can attendees expect to learn?

The audience will learn how to customize (configure, constrain and specialise) their DITA shells to fit their content and business domain. Simple changes to the RelaxNG files greatly enhance the usability of DITA, as they hide unwanted domains and elements and easily add specialised elements where required for a perfect fit.

Attendees will lose the anxiety about making changes to the DITA shells in RelaxNG and understand what the issues may be when outsourcing this work to consultants.

Meet the Presenter

Jang studied Physics, Psychology and Philosophy before entering the high-tech computer industry as technical author and trainer. He taught himself programming and has been using DITA and developing DITA-related technologies for 10 years. He focuses on making advanced technology understandabe and usable for mere mortals.

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