Thursday, February 08, 2007

Interoperability Framework presentation at DITA West 2007

Jim Earley and I presented the Doc Standards Interoperability Framework at DITA West 2007 yesterday.

Despite the somewhat low turnout at the conference overall (especially given the number of DITA user groups and high tech companies in the Bay Area!), our attendees included several members of the DITA TC, including: Erik Hennum (keynote speaker at DITA West 2007), France Baril and Yas Etessam.

Erik spoke very favorably of our approach and had a number of technical-level questions during the Question and Answer time. France Baril had some concerns from a DITA purist perspective regarding what kind of content this would open up.

This approach opens up access to content that might have been difficult to integrate otherwise. To address France's concerns, while this framework enables non-DITA content to be brought into DITA topics, there is no reason that you cannot treat this as a "stub" to then provide additional enhancements according to DITA best practices. I think her main concern is that the content may not follow some of the key information architecture designs from DITA (it may be dirty DITA), but this approach does not prevent you from then "cleaning" the content up to purist DITA standards. It really is an enabling mechanism.

This "content enablement" and interoperability is especially important in partner, OEM and cross-organizational content relationships, not to mention the reality of mergers and acquisitions.

We will be posting our whitepaper and slides to the docstandards-interop-tech list and the Flatirons Solutions website shortly.

Thanks to all who attended!

UPDATE: I've posted a copy of our presentation to the Flatirons Solutions site here.

1 comment:

Jim Earley said...

I think there are two important aspects to this approach:
1. Think of the 80/20 rule here: Even if, the content is 'generalized' to simplistic markup (thereby losing some of the semantics), this is far better than the current alternative, which promises to cause larger problems down the road.
2. I think it promotes a 'neutral' communication vehicle that all standards should keep in the back of their minds when developing new elements and attributes: Meaning that if they do not directly communicate with each other, there is at least some consideration indirectly through the framework.

I think that there is another compelling aspect here in that legacy content "frozen" in formats like Frame or (gulp!) Word, could be potentially be unlocked, simply by migrating to XHTML, which could then be transformed into the local 'lingua franca'