DITA 101 (Anglais) Broché – 3 juillet 2009
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The organization of the book is terrible. After many pages, I still don't know what DITA is for or how it's associated with XML. But I'm deep into detailed tag definitions, etc.
Explanations in the book are convoluted, confusing, and have many references to chapters and sections later in the book. Inconsistent terminology, bad sentence construction, use of technical terms that are unexplained until later in the book, and other classic examples of poor writing abound. Here's the definition of "unique content" from page 52: "Unique - Content which is unique is just that, unique."
You also need a magnifying glass (really!) to read some of the figures in the book.
The book's content might make sense to someone who's already a DITA expert. But to me (only a technical writer trying to understand what DITA is about), it's a waste of time.
The books does provides a comprehensive high-level overview of the technical aspects of DITA--tags, topic types, DITA maps. But, more importantly, it discusses the broader considerations when moving to DITA. The authors discuss how a DITA environment affects people. How do you plan your information development? How do you reuse information? How does DITA affect the day-to-day roles of writers and managers? What new roles might you need to define in your organization? How does it fit with a Component Content Management System (CCMS)?
It is important to remember that this is "DITA 101" and is not a graduate course on the subject. This book is a great place to start your DITA investigation. I think it would be money well spent for an organization to get a copy of this book for all their people to help shape any pending DITA implementation.
If you have already used markup languages (trof, nrof, HTML, SGML, XML) then this book is a great starting place for DITA. The book covers all the basic concepts and gives some insight on how you can use the DITA language. As the title states, it's not all you'll need because the detail of how you use DITA will depend on the content strategy of your organization.
If you want to go another step forward in DITA learning, try Julio Vazquez - Practical DITA. But Vazquez concentrates on software documentation and includes information about DITA 1.2 which could be misleading for those destined to use DITA 1.1 on topics other than software.
Nonetheless, the two books together provide a good foundation for then more easily learning how DITA will be used in your organization.
DITA Best Practices: A Roadmap for Writing" which does a great job guiding you step by step into what DITA is and how to use to implement it in an XML editor.