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Is DITA a viable delivery format for Help?

HTML is the delivery format now used by most Help formats, whether those Help systems are delivered through a specialised viewer or browser (such as the JavaHelp viewer) or through a standard browser. Some, however, use an XML, rendered in a specialised viewer. For example, Microsoft Vista Help displays AML (Assistance Markup Language) in a Help Pane viewer.

On the face of it, XSL-T or CSS could be used to render DITA topics in most HTML-based browsers or viewers. For example, the screenshot below shows a DITA task topic compiled into a CHM file and displayed in the Microsoft HTML Help viewer, with the transformer also compiled into the CHM.

But this is only superficial. The full-text search in this case doesn't know how to search DITA content, and the table of contents is still in Microsoft's HHC format. Further, content re-use (particularly conrefs) and generated links cannot be easily implemented. To practically deliver a DITA information set on a local machine, one of the following would have to be developed:

DITA_for_Help_Delivery (last edited 2009-08-12 18:02:56 by localhost)