DITA Comes of Age

Every year in October, for the past four years, we’ve gotten together with our customers and anyone else interested in learning more about structured content, to discuss how DITA is enabling the current trends in technical communication. SDL has always been invested in XML, and all the various flavors it comes in, since the earliest days when it was just known as an application profile of SGML. XML’s promise of separating the content from the formatting has proven itself with lowered publishing and translation costs. However, many companies wanted a better way of authoring the content, and that’s where DITA came to the rescue.

Even though DITA XML has been around since 2001, it didn’t become an official OASIS standard until 2005. Since then, adoption has steadily increased among the technical communication community. SDL has been involved with the DITA standard from the beginning, helping companies to more rapidly adopt DITA. We’ve witnessed first hand, through our own customer base, the growth in adoption, the maturity of deployments, and lately, the increasing number of content creators now asking themselves, “What’s next?"

That’s why the theme for this year’s DITA Fest is all about coming of age. We’re going to spend some time talking about expanding DITA usage beyond tradtional deliverables from technical publication groups. We’ll discuss how companies can get their subject matter experts more effectively collaborating with the content creators. And most importantly, we’ll take a look at how DITA can actually improve customer experience, something Support and Marketing spend a lot of time thinking about! Personally, as an avid gamer, I’m really excited to hear the keynote from Aaron Dignan, author of GameFrame, on how games and new media are changing how we do business.

If you’re at all interested in DITA, or want to meet like-minded colleagues, you’ll discover a ton of useful content at DITA Fest. Oh! And it’s free! This is my first year attending, and I’m really excited to participate, so I just had to share. And if the links weren’t obvious enough, you can register or learn more about it here: http://www.sdl.com/en/sites/ditafest_2011/.