Intro to DITA: TechWhirl Fast 5 Roundtable

TechWhirl Fast Five Widget BannerWhat happens when three DITA experts get together to talk about DITA to people who are new to the subject? They start talking in limericks.

Patrick Bosek (co-owner for Jorsek LLC, makers of easyDITA, a DITA CCMS), Stephen Morse (Marketing and Communications Manager at easyDITA), and me, Jacquie Samuels (owner of Writing Wise, a DITA consultancy), sat down back in March to have a frank and friendly video discussion about DITA as part of the TechWhirl Fast 5 Interview series. The co-owners of TechWhirl, Connie Giordano and Al Martine, played the role of moderators and stood in as our DITA newbies. We also tried something new for our Fast 5 session on DITA, sharing a document that everyone could work on live, throughout the hangout. Jill Parman took the lead on capturing notes, while a few intrepid audience members added some details and questions.

DITA-Darwin Information Typing ArchitectureDuring this Fast 5 interview, we wanted to discuss DITA with an audience who had just barely heard about it, something that’s often quite difficult for experts to do without slipping into barely coherent DITA terms and acronyms. We did our best to avoid DITA jargon while still answering the questions, including these Fast 5 questions that started things off:

  1. What is DITA in three or fewer sentences?
  2. What does DITA “do”? What doesn’t it do?
  3. What tools do I need? When do I need a CCMS? (What role do tools play?)
  4. What changes should I expect if my company is using DITA versus using Word?
  5. When should I consider moving to DITA?

We also answered listener questions that were submitted via Twitter. Some listener questions included the difference between DITA and a DTD, and which version of DITA a contractor should focus on. And yes, we did talk in limericks, at least at the start.

You can watch the one hour video on YouTube, and have a look at the Intro to DITA shared Google document that we compiled during the roundtable.

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