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Evaluating DITA editors: testing the DITA "specials"

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  • Yves Barbion
    Hi group There is an abundance of DITA editors available today. Obviously, they all support the elements and attributes as defined in the DITA Language
    Message 1 of 9 , Mar 1, 2010
      Hi group

      There is an abundance of DITA editors available today. Obviously, they all support the elements and attributes as defined in the DITA Language Specification (I should hope), but when I test them, I mainly focus on what I call the "specials", i.e. functions and mechanisms which make DITA really "work", for example:
      * content inclusion (conref)
      * conditional processing (ditaval)
      * relationship tables (reltable)
      * tables (mainly simpletable)
      * bookmap (mainly booklists)
      * publishing (output targets)
      * "content management" features (search in ditamap or folder, where used, create ZIP archive, flatten conrefs...)

      Any others? Feel free to complete the list.

      Thanks

      --
      Yves Barbion
      www.scripto.nu
    • Kristen James Eberlein
      A couple other items come to mind: * How easy is it to configure the editor to use beta releases (DITA 1.2, for example) or specializations? * (If the editor
      Message 2 of 9 , Mar 1, 2010
        A couple other items come to mind:

        * How easy is it to configure the editor to use beta releases (DITA
        1.2, for example) or specializations?
        * (If the editor uses a version of the DITA Open Toolkit) How easy
        is it configure the editor to use the latest milestone of the DITA OT?
        * (If the editor supports DITA 1.2 and keys) How well does the
        editor establish the context for resolving key definitions,
        especially when editing an individual DITA topic?
        * How intuitive is the interface for editing DITA maps (irrespective
        of relationship tables)?

        Best,

        Kris

        Kristen James Eberlein
        Principal consultant, Eberlein Consulting
        Secretary, OASIS DITA Technical Committee
        Charter member, OASIS DITA Adoption Committee
        www.eberleinconsulting.com
        +1 919 682-2290; keberlein (skype)
      • Eliot Kimber
        ... * Ability to apply filters in the editor (e.g., profiling ). * Cross references (creation of cross references using target selection dialogs, reflection
        Message 3 of 9 , Mar 1, 2010
          On 3/1/10 4:13 AM, "Yves Barbion" <yves.barbion@...> wrote:

          > Any others? Feel free to complete the list.

          * Ability to apply filters in the editor (e.g., "profiling").
          * Cross references (creation of cross references using target selection
          dialogs, reflection of resolved cross references in the editor, etc.)

          Cheers,

          Eliot

          --
          Eliot Kimber
          Senior Solutions Architect
          "Bringing Strategy, Content, and Technology Together"
          Main: 610.631.6770
          www.reallysi.com
          www.rsuitecms.com
        • Eliot Kimber
          On 3/1/10 5:45 AM, Kristen James Eberlein ... For me and my clients this is usually the most important consideration, assuming
          Message 4 of 9 , Mar 1, 2010
            On 3/1/10 5:45 AM, "Kristen James Eberlein" <kris@...>
            wrote:

            > A couple other items come to mind:
            >
            > * How easy is it to configure the editor to use beta releases (DITA
            > 1.2, for example) or specializations?

            For me and my clients this is usually the most important consideration,
            assuming that the base DITA support features are there (since they are
            essentially a cost of entry to the DITA editor market).

            Because specialization is *the* distinguishing feature of DITA and because
            my clients use DITA *because they can specialize*, it follows that editors
            that make it harder to use specializations quickly fall down the candidate
            list.

            Also, since most of my clients are publishers, Mac support may be
            requirement and certainly never hurts. I work on a Mac, so having to fire up
            Windows in a VM just to use an editor is an impediment to my using it in my
            normal day-to-day work.

            At the moment, OxygenXML is the editor that makes using specializations as
            easy as it could possibly be, requiring *only* deployment of vocabulary
            modules to Oxygen's Toolkit (or to a Toolkit whose master catalog has been
            configured as a catalog under Oxygen). No other editor I've tried comes
            close to this level of convenience. Oxygen also has the most complete
            support for DITA 1.2 at the moment (although other editors are quickly
            closing that gap).

            Oxygen is also only one of two standalone, DITA-aware XML editors that
            support the Mac, as far as I know (the other being Syntext Serna).

            Arbortext Editor, XMetal, and FrameMaker are all Windows only.

            Are there any Mac-supporting editors I've missed?

            Cheers,

            Eliot

            --
            Eliot Kimber
            Senior Solutions Architect
            "Bringing Strategy, Content, and Technology Together"
            Main: 610.631.6770
            www.reallysi.com
            www.rsuitecms.com
          • Jean-Luc Borie
            ... Not specific to DITA, but very important if you re storing your content in an external repository (CMS, SCM, XML Database, etc.): * Remote editing
            Message 5 of 9 , Mar 1, 2010
              Le 01/03/2010 11:13, Yves Barbion a écrit :  

              Any others? Feel free to complete the list.

              Not specific to DITA, but very important if you're storing your content in an external repository (CMS, SCM, XML Database, etc.):
              * Remote editing protocols supported
              (Verify compatibility with your repository)

              Cheers,

              Jean-Luc Borie
              Componize Software
              www.componize.com

               

            • noz.urbina@mekon.com
              Eliot, you said: * Ability to apply filters in the editor (e.g., profiling ). * Cross references (creation of cross references using target What do you feel
              Message 6 of 9 , Mar 2, 2010
                Eliot, you said:
                 

                * Ability to apply filters in the editor (e.g., "profiling") .
                * Cross references (creation of cross references using target

                What do you feel is the difference between conditions and Yves mentioned and 'profiling' and filters?  Do you mean previewing the result of conditionals to see what the output content would be?

                 

                From: dita-users@yahoogroups.com [mailto:dita-users@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Eliot Kimber
                Sent: 01 March 2010 14:04
                To: dita-users@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [dita-users] Evaluating DITA editors: testing the DITA "specials"

                 

                On 3/1/10 4:13 AM, "Yves Barbion" <yves.barbion@ gmail.com> wrote:

                > Any others? Feel free to complete the list.

                * Ability to apply filters in the editor (e.g., "profiling") .
                * Cross references (creation of cross references using target selection
                dialogs, reflection of resolved cross references in the editor, etc.)

                Cheers,

                Eliot

                --
                Eliot Kimber
                Senior Solutions Architect
                "Bringing Strategy, Content, and Technology Together"
                Main: 610.631.6770
                www.reallysi. com
                www.rsuitecms. com

              • Eliot Kimber
                ... Exactly. If you have paragraphs with different values for @audience in one topic, being able to get any of the following: - A view showing just
                Message 7 of 9 , Mar 2, 2010
                  On 3/2/10 3:17 PM, "noz.urbina@..." <noz.urbina@...> wrote:

                  > Eliot, you said:
                  >
                  > * Ability to apply filters in the editor (e.g., "profiling").
                  > * Cross references (creation of cross references using target
                  > What do you feel is the difference between conditions and Yves mentioned and
                  > 'profiling' and filters? Do you mean previewing the result of conditionals to
                  > see what the output content would be?

                  Exactly. If you have paragraphs with different values for @audience in one
                  topic, being able to get any of the following:

                  - A view showing just audience="expert" or just audience="novice"
                  - A view showing both
                  - A view showing none
                  - A view with elements with different condition values shown in different
                  colors or similar distinctive highlighting. This usually requires the user
                  to define the mapping from condition sets and values to colors.

                  Cheers,

                  Eliot


                  --
                  Eliot Kimber
                  Senior Solutions Architect
                  "Bringing Strategy, Content, and Technology Together"
                  Main: 610.631.6770
                  www.reallysi.com
                  www.rsuitecms.com
                • Laurens van den Oever
                  As a vendor I d like to add two items I haven t seen in the other answers: * Is the tool a desktop installation or a web based tool installed and managed on a
                  Message 8 of 9 , Mar 3, 2010
                    As a vendor I'd like to add two items I haven't seen in the other answers:

                    * Is the tool a desktop installation or a web based tool installed and managed on a central server?
                    * How does the tool guide less experienced authors?

                    For DITA we've added a few features which allow you to specify the preferred content model without limiting the XSD/DTD using specialization or constraints. For instance the generic topic types allow lists in paragraphs and as siblings of paragraphs, but most authors don't understand the difference and consequences of their choice for the rest of the content livecycle. So you want to give them a sensible default from which they can deviate when they do understand the difference.

                    Best regards,

                    Laurens van den Oever
                    Xopus BV
                    +31 70 4452345
                    KvK 27301795

                    2010/3/1 Yves Barbion <yves.barbion@...>
                     

                    Hi group

                    There is an abundance of DITA editors available today. Obviously, they all support the elements and attributes as defined in the DITA Language Specification (I should hope), but when I test them, I mainly focus on what I call the "specials", i.e. functions and mechanisms which make DITA really "work", for example:
                    * content inclusion (conref)
                    * conditional processing (ditaval)
                    * relationship tables (reltable)
                    * tables (mainly simpletable)
                    * bookmap (mainly booklists)
                    * publishing (output targets)
                    * "content management" features (search in ditamap or folder, where used, create ZIP archive, flatten conrefs...)

                    Any others? Feel free to complete the list.

                    Thanks

                    --
                    Yves Barbion
                    www.scripto.nu


                  • Su-Laine
                    I agree it is very important for a DITA editor to make it easy for writers to use specializations. However, I emphasize a distinction between making it easy
                    Message 9 of 9 , Mar 22, 2010
                      I agree it is very important for a DITA editor to make it easy for writers to use specializations. However, I emphasize a distinction between making it easy for writers to use specializations, and making it easy for users to *configure the tool* to enable using specializations. The former is a day-to-day task and the latter is a one-time task. Both are important, but to varying degrees.

                      For XMetaL, the procedure for configuring the tool to enable using a specialization is described here: http://na.justsystems.com/webhelp/en/xmetalauthor/enterprise/6.0/XMEE.html#Configure%20XMetaL . I can do this in around five minutes. If another tool is faster to set up (most, AFAIK, are much slower), they are at most five minutes faster for a one-time task. An argument could be made that the user shouldn't have to do any setup at all, but we should keep one-time tasks in perspective. Evaluation of DITA editors should be more weighted towards day-to-day tasks.

                      Regards,
                      Su-Laine

                      Su-Laine Yeo
                      Solutions Consultant, JustSystems


                      --- In dita-users@yahoogroups.com, Eliot Kimber <ekimber@...> wrote:

                      > Because specialization is *the* distinguishing feature of DITA and because
                      > my clients use DITA *because they can specialize*, it follows that editors
                      > that make it harder to use specializations quickly fall down the candidate
                      > list.

                      <snip>

                      > At the moment, OxygenXML is the editor that makes using specializations as
                      > easy as it could possibly be, requiring *only* deployment of vocabulary
                      > modules to Oxygen's Toolkit (or to a Toolkit whose master catalog has been
                      > configured as a catalog under Oxygen). No other editor I've tried comes
                      > close to this level of convenience. Oxygen also has the most complete
                      > support for DITA 1.2 at the moment (although other editors are quickly
                      > closing that gap).
                      >
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