Subject: Re: DITA?
From: Sean Wheller <seanwhe -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: lisava -at- psitek -dot- com, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 13:16:19 -0700 (PDT)

----- Original Message -----
From: <lisava -at- psitek -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2003 3:49 PM
Subject: DITA?
> Hi There,
> I am trying to find out more about DITA, Could
someone help me.
> I have been looking into using docbook, but am
sceptical. I came across
> DITA, but would like to know what makes DITA better
than Docbook?
> Thanks

No need to be sceptical about DocBook.

While DARWIN has a DTD, but imo it's more about the
architecture of
information, than about the DTD. Considering the
history of DITA I can
understand why the DTD provided by IBM is limited. In
my experience it
usually requires major customisation to fit the needs
of most projects. Not
a good idea if you're just starting down the XML
route. It also has a poor
following, making support an issue.

DocBook is by far the more widely adopted and has
loads of support in the
developer and authoring communities

You will find that most of the leading XML Editors
( , ,
etc.), provide support for
DocBook. Same goes for most of the leading XML
document database systems.
This all makes the DocBook Tool Chain very flexible
and portable. Take your
choice of processors such as XALAN, SAXON, XSLTPROC,
XT, MSXML, Sablotron,

DocBook is an OASIS Standard and is well documented
(http:// ,
available in XML Schema and will move to RelaxNG. The
DTD is currently at
4.3b2, meaning that it is very stable. The XSL's are
at 1.61.3 and support
transformation to TXT, PS, MAN pages, HTML, XHTML,
PDF, XSL-FO (Good for
Transform to RTF), HTMLHelp, JavaHelp.

A hint to the future regarding the future from
WinWriters (hint:
note the end).
More on direction from IDEALLIANCE

Take a look around and you will find that rarely is
DARWIN ever mentioned.
For instance, look at this resource of XML tools
. It's not
complete, but it's close. Visit the href's and you
will find DocBook

With these points in mind consider that more authors
know DocBook than DITA.
This broadens the talent pool from which you can
choose when you want to
outsource projects.

Most of all, DocBook is OO so you can not only submit,
but you can track
bugs (

The mailing list (docbook-apps) is very helpful. If
you can find it in the
archives then somebody is bound to know and they are
not shy to help, see
for yourself

A big plus for Linux users is that DocBook ships with
most distributions.
Check your /usr/share/SGML/.

However, if you want an alternative you may try TEI
TEI is powerful, but I found the scope to all
inclusive for my needs,
DocBook is more suited to the work I do, manuals of a
technical nature.

Best of luck,


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