Consideration of a profile for modest needs

[Don Day, April 4 2011]: I've been discussing this idea with several vendors and it seems to have traction. In short, some new users (and particularly those who are not tech writers by trade) do not necessarily need to experience the full extent of DITA capability. If we can agree on what a lowered profile of expectation and need is, there are several benefits:

  1. Existing tools can provide UI masking of features that can be enabled later on (license upgrade, etc.)
  2. New tools can enter the market providing function up to that level, and compete evenly in that space.
  3. Users perceive lower cost, lower complexity at the range of use they expect, and can move up as requirements dictate (basically playing to progression of needs and investments in the DITA Maturity Model). Win/win

A suggested profile (this is just for discussion, please) might start with:

Tools that are new in this space:

In-browser editors that may be considered in this usage space include Xopus and DITA Storm. They are full-featured, but can be customized for GUI requirements. Quark's XML Author is a peer to Simply XML in the same regard.

Lightweight DITA

[Michael Priestley, July 17 2012]: Here's my strawman writeup for simplified DITA:

Topic Content Model

Goals: eliminate complex content models (no putting lists inside paragraphs, no mixing text and paragraphs in a section), eliminate redundant elements (goodbye, cals table), anything remotely optional (goodbye metadata, related links).

Note: CDATA means text content

Elements:

Attributes:

Topic Domains and Constraints

Simplified DITA topics declare a standard constraint module that sets the baseline of the topic content model. That baseline can then be extended with additional predefined domains/constraints.

Attribute domains:

Element domains:

Element constraints:

Example Topic Type

<topic id="mini" domains="(lwdita-c)(no-nesting-c) (no-sections-c)">

</topic>

Map Content Model

One requirement on base DITA: add <title> as an option before <topicmeta>.

Elements:

Attributes:

Map Domains

Simplified DITA maps declare a standard constraint module that sets the baseline of the map content model. That baseline can then be extended with additional predefined domains/constraints.

Example Map Types

Constraints/domains can be combined to create special-purpose maps such as:

Specialization Model

I'm proposing a model that is primarily concerned with sharable domains, with structural specialization only occurring at the topic level to allow sequencing of domain-specialized section elements.

This limits specialization to the following elements and attribute:

So a new topic type would be constructed by:

  1. Defining a new container name (topic element specialization)
  2. Pulling in a particular set of section specializations in a particular order (like <goals>, <agenda>, <minutes>, <actionitems>)

  3. Choosing the attribute and inline semantics to enable (@props and ph specializations)

A new section type domain would be constructed by:

  1. Defining a new container name (section element specialization)
  2. Defining its content model - for example, a sequence of elements (p, table, note)

Example Specialized Topic

<meeting id="abc123" domains="(lwdita-c)(all-sections-c) (goals-d) (agenda-d) (minutes-d)>

</meeting>

LimitedDitaProfile (last edited 2012-07-19 13:45:01 by mpriestl)