Balisage Paper: DITA or Not?
Lynne A. Price
Text Structure Consulting
Lynne A. Price is president of Text Structure Consulting, Inc., a consulting company that specializes in structured FrameMaker and XML. Prior to founding Text Structure Consulting in 1996, Lynne was a software engineer at Frame Technology and then Adobe where she worked on FrameMaker's structure features. While Lynne has been active in the XML/SGML community since 1985, her interest in structured documentation began in graduate school. She completed a Ph. D. in Computer Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1978, writing a dissertation titled "Representing Text Structure for Automatic Processing".
Use of DITA has become so pervasive that some users assume that anyone who inquires about moving to an XML environment must use DITA. Often, the selection of DITA is independent of DITA's strengths such as ease of reuse, specialization, support of distributed authoring, and availability of the Open Toolkit. While numerous DITA case studies have been published, such reports tend to focus on what was accomplished rather than how the approach was chosen, and typically reflect successful implementations in large organizations. This study focusses on why end users, consultants, and tools have chosen to use or to avoid DITA. While this should not be considered an unbiased or scientifically balanced survey, anecdotal evidence such as this can be valuable to organizations faced with similar decisions.