What is DITA?

What is DITA and where can it help

Whether it is about avoiding repeated copy/paste actions to share the desired content, or about a comprehensive option for sharing content feature with minimal efforts, perhaps, DITA serves it all.

The Darwin Information Typing Architecture or DITA is an incredibly smart writing and publishing feature that makes content sharing and resharing much easier. Precisely, it is a standard that lays out a design architecture for information creation and its management while separating the content from the formatting. This standard facilitates streamlining content creation and its subsequent publishing and distribution to various technological platforms and devices, such as mobile devices.

DITA was initially developed by IBM as an XML-based end-to-end design architecture for content modulation. Later, they open-sourced this software which is now managed by OASIS.

This architecture mainly drives on XML, where a unique XML file is represented by a piece of content. DITA exploits the interchangeability and interoperability of XML to share a unique piece of content in multiple formats and across multiple platforms. In other words, DITA content is a dynamic file allowing quick conversions to PDF, RTF, PowerPoint, or mobile platforms without the need for a cut/paste action of the content. Thus, a DITA CMS lets you quickly reuse/reshare/republish and translate the information without hassle.

The usefulness of this framework has made it easier for everyone to access the same level of information in any format and on any device. For instance, if you want to learn about iPad VPN connecting problems and solutions, you can easily do a quick search right on the device in hand, and find the same information that you will find from your PC as well. The same content generated on DITA files will show up to you appropriately based on the compatibility with your device.

Some Facts About DITA

Before wrapping up, let us make a few things clear about DITA.

  • DITA is NOT a software or a tool to create content. Rather it is a design architecture to ensure the dynamic appearance of the content. You eventually select a tool that allows you to follow DITA standards.
  • Although many authors use templates for faster creation and sharing of content, you cannot consider these templates as DITA.
  • While DITA helps to pick up a tool and to create content with certain requirements, it can indeed not be categorized as a style guide. DITA has nothing to do with content formatting and style.

DITA is basically an architecture framework for facilitating the authors to create and share content quickly. It thus helps marketers, educationists, businesses (while creating write-ups), and book authors to create their content and share it across multiple platforms and devices at once without the need for repeated cut/paste actions to create copies in various formats.