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DITA 1.3 is 3 in1

A black circle with a three in it and another black circle with a 1 in it

With DITA 1.3 you get three in one. That is, the newly approved standard contains three different editions for three different audiences.

A Celebratory Year for DITA!

Multi-colored fireworks at night over water

The year 2015 saw two important milestones for DITA. June was the 10th anniversary of the approval of DITA 1.0 as an OASIS standard. And on December 17th, the latest standard 1.3, was approved.

Before we take a look at DITA 1.3, let's review how DITA came to be and how it has progressed.

DITA 1.3 is on the way!

Coming soon sign

Members of the OASIS Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) Technical Committee have recently approved a Special Majority Ballot to advance Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) Version 1.3 as a Candidate OASIS Standard (COS).

My presentation from CMS/DITA NA 2015

In April, I had the honor and pleasure to present at the 2015 Content Management Strategies/DITA North America (CMS/DITA NA) in Chicago. Hosted by the Center for Information Development Management, CMS/DITA NA featured a program of more than 75 presentations regarding DITA.

One Dataset--Multiple Documents

One of the most useful features in DITA is Conditional Processing (or Profiling), which allows you to use the same set of source files to create different versions of your documentation. Content is marked in a way that you can filter out entire topics, paragraphs, sentences, and even words.

DITA offers a set of standard profiling attributes that are applicable to most elements. Those attributes are: 

Write the right short description

In earlier posts, I discussed the importance of the short description <shortdesc> element (Big rewards for a short description) and best practices for writing the descriptions (Best practices for the short description element). This post discusses the importance of tailoring your short description for the type of topic you are writing.

Best practices for the short description element

In my previous post (Big rewards for a short description), I talked about the importance of the short description <shortdesc> element. Effective short descriptions are an opportunity to help users easily find the correct information for which they are looking. Keep the following best practices in mind when writing your short descriptions.
 

Big rewards for a short description

Writing text for the <shortdesc> element is easy. Writing good text for the <shortdesc> tag is hard. And if you don't write good text, you are doing your readers and your document a disservice.

The <shortdesc> element is usually one sentence. Sometimes two or more. But your editors will tell you to keep it short. Its name is what it is supposed to be. That is, a short description of the topic it is introducing. 

Best Practice--The conref file

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the conref attribute is one of the most useful tools DITA has for reuse. (See Reuse--The conref attribute.) Conrefs allow you to refer to an element and use its content in place of the current element. 

 

Tools for reuse--The conref attribute

The conref attribute (conref stands for content reference) allows you to reuse text at anelement level.

Suppose you want to reuse the text of a warning. You would assign an element ID to the note tag containing the warning text in the original file. In a second file, you would reference that warning  by using the conref attribute on a note tag.

For example, the original file is named topic1.dita with a topic ID of 111. The note tag reads:

Notice that the element ID on the note tag is damage

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