This workshop title is available both in-person and online.
Many companies move to DITA based on an aggressive business case showing tremendous cost savings through content reuse. Unfortunately, after a few years they find that they are not meeting their reuse and cost savings goals. The reasons are many:
- Authors do not plan for reuse.
- Authors do not write with reuse in mind.
- Authors distrust the system and/or their peers.
- Authors use the wrong mechanisms for the wrong jobs.
- Authors do not fully understand how to implement the available reuse mechanisms.
With the release of DITA 1.3 and even more advanced reuse possibilities, the potential for savings and the potential for failure both grow exponentially. To realize the full benefits of DITA reuse, authors must be as comfortable adding reuse elements and attributes as they are inserting a paragraph or building a table in a topic.
To provide that level of comfort, this workshop dives deep into all DITA reuse options:
- Conditional processing
- Conref, conref range, and conref push
- Keyref and conkeyref
- Branch filtering
- Scoped keys
Participants will learn when and how to use each of these mechanisms. Through a highly interactive course scenario, you will gain hands-on experience implementing all of these mechanisms within DITA files, building documentation and training materials that share content across different outputs, audiences, and products. In addition, as part of the process, we will dispel common myths and misperceptions about reusability. You will gather tips for how to better plan and write for reuse, tag reusable content for easy findability, manage changes to the reused content, and measure results. We’ll also discuss the importance of collaboration and the process changes that will facilitate reuse.
You will learn to
- Implement an effective reuse strategy within your organization
- Choose the appropriate reuse strategy for the situation
- Include reusable content in the planning process
- Isolate reusable content into reusable content objects
- Assign appropriate metadata to easily locate reusable content
- Reference content from other topics
- Push content into topics without directly changing the files
- Add conditional attributes to content
- Create new conditional attributes through specialization
- Write and apply DITAVAL files
- Specify different DITAVAL files for different portions of the same map
- Reference variable content
- Define variable content in maps and key files
- Define different values for the same variable within the same map
- Combine reuse strategies within a single document
- Measure the amount of reuse within your organization
Attendees must already be proficient in basic DITA, comfortable using authoring tools, but also unafraid of viewing and writing raw XML code as they learn the intricate details of each reuse approach. Instructors cannot take time from the class to tutor participants on standard DITA elements and attributes.
Online Course Required Materials / Background
- Laptop / personal computer
- Internet access
- Course is delivered using a live, interactive virtual online classroom, providing an environment for optimal learning.
- 8 sessions, once per week
- Sessions are 2 hours in length
- Office hours, 2 hours once a week
- Each session will end with a homework assignment to be completed prior to the next session. Participants are welcome to email instructors with questions and may chat directly with instructors during given office hours. Homework will be quickly reviewed at the beginning of the next session. The last session’s homework will be reviewed in a final office hours offering. Solutions to all assignments will be provided electronically.
- Participants will be given a trial version of a DITA authoring tool. Be sure to install the DITA authoring tool prior to the start of session 2 (week 2).