What can DITA 1.2 do for me?

Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) has proven to be an excellent choice for maximizing content reuse. However, if you use older versions of DITA you may be wondering why you should use DITA 1.2 (the latest version as of 2011). If you are not using DITA, you may be curious whether the latest DITA 1.2 features are useful enough for you to try DITA.

Text by Tom Aldous


What can DITA 1.2 do for me?

DITA – a short introduction

Historically, technical communicators often created long documents in the form of books. For example, a software package normally included multiple books such as a user guide and a reference manual. These documents overlapped in significant amounts of information, and this duplicate information resulted in higher costs since it had to be written, edited, translated, and maintained more than once.

In contrast to long books, DITA breaks content down into small pieces, called topics. A document is made of a map that points to a combination of topics, and these topics can be reused by multiple documents. For example, the maps for a user guide and a reference manual may point to many of the same topics, in addition to topics that are unique to each document. A topic that is reused by multiple documents saves money since it only has to be created once, which is ...