What is DITA?

@Lillie_Harris may I ask what DITA is?

Is it this?

Is this what the change to the man pages is all about?

The new Help portal is “all about” a significant improvement to how we deliver our documentation. It’s different, and I appreciate that some people might not like the new portal, or might need some time to get used to it, but on many levels it’s an improvement.

The fundamental information (the content of the manuals, their availability as webhelp and PDF simultaneously, etc) has not changed.

The question was not that. It is ‘what is DITA’ that you mentioned in your announcement.

Yes, it’s some kind of single-source information system. Works with some major software like
et al.


So DITA is a content-management system?

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Not exactly. In simple terms, DITA is a way of structuring information. Because it uses XML, you can think of it as a kind of file format for structured documentation. The documentation is authored in DITA, and then it can be published in a variety of formats, including HTML web help and a PDF book.


Does it follow, then, that the author only has to “touch” the content once and it will be “pushed out” to web and PDF versions?

In theory, yes, you could set things up such that you have a continuous integration system that automatically deploys a new version of the documentation every time you make an edit to any file, but in practice that’s not how we work, because the manuals team work towards synchronising their releases with the software releases to which they correspond. However, if we needed to update the docs urgently for some reason, it’s possible to do somewhat automatically, and both the web help and PDF would be updated accordingly.


Very cool. Not only saves author(s) some time in not duplicating “urgent” efforts, but also helps with consistency at just such moments as keeping track could be extra challenging.

But I can understand why you wouldn’t want to go the full “driverless car” route with automation on it.

(And, of course, since the information is Darwinian, only the fittest user manuals will survive…)

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DITA Open Toolkit (dita-ot.org)

Well I posted that link in the OP to ask if it is this.

:joy: Oh! sorry Andro… I need to change my glasses. :face_with_monocle: :nerd_face:

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