Reusable XML

IBM and software vendor JustSystems plan to announce on Tuesday the availability of a methodology that allows organizations to break up huge Extensible Markup Language documents into reusable pieces.

The Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) Maturity Model, co-authored by IBM and JustSystems, is the first step-by-step process for implementing DITA, officials from the companies said.

DITA is an XML Document Type Definition that can be used to mark up different sections of documents so they can easily be found later and reused in other documents.

DITA can be applied to content that is highly branded or regulated and broadly leveraged, including technical documents, marketing materials and regulatory filings, said Paul Wlodarczyk, vice president of solutions consulting at JustSystems.

'The DITA Maturity Model recognizes that each organization is adopting DITA at its own pace,' Wlodarczyk said. 'So, the model starts from square one, laying out the key steps that any organization can take to successfully adopt DITA.'

'DITA is emerging as one of the preferred approaches for document authoring and publishing due to its cost and efficiency benefits,' said Ken Bisconti, vice president of IBM enterprise content management products and strategy. 'DITA will become an increasingly important component of many organizations' ' content management systems.

One of DITA's most attractive features is its support for incremental adoption. However, organizations at different stages of adoption claim radically different numbers for cost of migration and return on investment. To address these issues, the DITA Maturity Model divides DITA adoption into six levels, each with its own required investment and associated return on investment.

As a result, users can assess their own capabilities and goals relative to the model and choose the initial adoption level appropriate for their needs and schedule, IBM and JustSystems officials said.

The six levels of DITA adoption include:
  • Level 1: Topics. The most minimum DITA adoption requires the migration of the current XML content sources.
  • Level 2: Scalable Reuse. The major activity at this level is to break down the content in topics that are stored as individual files and use DITA maps to collect and organize the content into reusable units for assembly into specific deliverables.
  • Level 3: Specialization and Customization. Users at this stage expand the information architecture to be a full content model, which explicitly defines the types of content required to meet different author and audience needs and specify how to meet these needs using structured, typed content.
  • Level 4: Automation and Integration. Once content is specialized, users can leverage their investments in semantics with automation of key processes and begin tying content together even across different specializations or authoring disciplines.
  • Level 5: Semantic Bandwidth. As DITA diversifies to occupy more roles within an organization, a cross-application, cross-silo solution that shares DITA as a common semantic currency lets groups use the toolset most appropriate for their content authoring and management needs.
  • Level 6: Universal Semantic Ecosystem. As DITA provides for scalable semantic bandwidth across content silos and applications, a new kind of semantic ecosystem emerges: Semantics that can move with content across old boundaries, wrap unstructured content and provide validated integration with semi-structured content and managed data sources.

The model will be announced tomorrow during a webinar sponsored by KMWorld magazine and titled: 'The DITA Maturity Model: Fast-Tracking Your Enterprise Content and XML Adoption Strategy.'

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


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