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Über dieses Buch

This book presents a concise, real-world description of DITA principles. Explanations are provided on the basis of simple, applicable examples. The book will be an excellent introduction for DITA novices and is ideal as a first orientation for optimizing your information environment.



Chapter 1. What Is DITA?

DITA is often compared to the Lego system. Just as you can use Lego bricks to build the most varied replicas of the real world such as houses, cars, and landscapes, you can use DITA topics to create any information products necessary.
Sissi Closs

Chapter 2. Basic Principle for DITA: Topic-Oriented Structuring

DITA builds on topic-oriented structuring. The basic idea of this structuring principle is the division of content into pieces known as topics with the aim of assembling and reusing them flexibly. This structuring principle has a long history and was used in classical book production for lexicons and glossaries.
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Chapter 3. Sample Class Concept

The development of an initial class concept is shown in the following using the coffee example. There often exists raw material that contains correct information but is neither meaningfully structured nor well formulated.
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Chapter 4. Implementation in DITA

For marking structures without making commitments to a particular layout or tool, XML languages have been used successfully for many years. DITA too is an XML language and it is specially equipped for marking topic structures in a suitable and display-neutral manner.
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Chapter 5. Assembling Topics

DITA provides several ways of assembling individual topics. You can nest topics or combine them in maps.
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Chapter 6. Defining Relations

You place topics in relation to each other so as to show interrelated and therefore interesting content for the user. The best-known relations in documentation are cross references, which relate content items to each other either within a document or between different documents. A cross reference leads the reader from the current place in the text to other places that the author considers to be related to the current place, to explain the current place better, or to provide further information on the current place. In the electronic world, references are known as links. They are visible as such to the user and occur in different forms.
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Chapter 7. Reusing Contents by Embedding

A central aspect in a DITA-based documentation environment is the orientation to single sourcing and content reuse. You can reuse material from complete topics down to individual sentences.
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Chapter 8. Addressing

For referencing, DITA since Version 1.2 has supported not only direct but also indirect addressing. With direct addressing, you specify the destination with its actual address. But this results in considerable dependency. If the destination is renamed, moved, or deleted, the reference has to be edited to remain intact.
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Chapter 9. Variants

DITA provides very good options for setting up an efficient variant management, including if the sources are to be managed only in the file system and without a content management system. These include the options of combining different maps from the same topic pool, and using variables and filtering. The basis is the map via which these methods can be used to produce the variants.
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Chapter 10. Collaboration Under Full Control

Successful collaboration is an important success factor in any environment, but it needs suitable rules so that it does not get out of control. Since Version 1.2, DITA has provided good support for successful collaboration.
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Chapter 11. How Is an Information Product Produced?

An information product is produced by combining topics in a map and defining an output format for them. From a collection of topics, you can put together information products flexibly and according to your requirements on the basis of suitable maps: for different target groups, purposes, and output media. DITA is an XML language, so information products are generated from DITA sources according to the normal XML production process.
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Chapter 12. Production with DITA Open Toolkit

DITA Open Toolkit comes cost-free in different versions. You can adapt the transformations that come with the toolkit to your own needs. But you need programming knowledge (CSS, XSL-FO, XSLT, ANT) according to the degree of your adaptation.
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Chapter 13. DITA Specialization

With DITA, you can define new domains and types on the basis of predefined basic types. Such adaptations and extensions are called specialization. Using the inheritance principle, definitions for the output types are passed on to derived new types and can be specifically adapted and extended according to requirements.
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Chapter 14. Why Use DITA?

DITA builds on topic-oriented structuring and therefore has all the benefits of this structuring technique if used correctly.
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