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What is DITA, anyway?

Have you ever read through a 60-page PDF just to find a few scattered comments from a reviewer? Are most of your technical content processes completed with the cut and paste function? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, DITA could be the solution to the problem.

What is DITA and how can it help me?

What is DITA?

DITA is the best way for businesses to publish smart and captivating technical content. DITA stands for Darwin Information Type Architecture, and is a generic and adaptable XML-based open standard to manage, create, and publish content. Defined and maintained by the OASIS DITA Technical Committee, DITA uses topics, maps, and output formats to generate documents. Simply put: it helps companies streamline technical documentation processes.

Why go with a structured content standard?

There are several sound business reasons for wanting to work with an open, structured content standard. One of the obvious benefits is that an open standard that has successfully been deployed by other organizations for at least a decade has already been vetted from a business perspective. In other words: all of the hard work has already been done by other companies. Your company can gain the benefits of the business “smarts” already built into the standard. These benefits include:

  • Consistency across all content types
  • Faster creation of content
  • Better understanding from end users due to predictable structure
  • Reusable and unified content

Other key reasons for choosing an open, structured content standard include:

  • Interoperability between systems
  • No vendor lock-in: off-the-shelf tools
  • Ability to easily exchange content in a common format between vendors
  • Access to a wide range of dynamic delivery software

In addition to these points, a structured content standard future-proofs content, paving the way for new interactive technologies like chat-bots that are being built on open structured content standards.

Maximum Content Reuse

Within Darwin Information Typing Architecture, each piece of content represents a unique XML file. The XML-based open standard allows for maximum content reuse across multiple platforms, including tablets, mobile phones, and for desktop. Unlike a Word document, where content simply exists (like a rock), DITA content is dynamic. In an instant, you can publish a document to PDF, PowerPoint, RTF, or mobile—without ever using cut and paste! A DITA content management system lets you standardize and leverage content with effective reuse, publish to multiple platforms, and translate large batches of content with ease.

What is a CCMS?

CCMS stands for “component content management software.” Instead of managing content at the document level, a CCMS manages content on a granular scale. Words, photos, phrases, chapters, and even entire procedures are stored in a central repository for maximum content reuse. Components are only stored once. This creates a consistent and trusted source that can be published across all platforms, including PDF, mobile, and print.

Simplified Content Retrieval

Within a DITA content management system, you can search for a word, group of words, or phrase in a certain version of a document. You will get a result containing the search term. Unlike other systems where you must manually locate the file and link to its path, this happens at the press of a button, making content reuse easy.

Inside a component content management system, document versions are traced and recorded. Components can be tracked individually or as an entire documentation set. This ensures full transparency when it comes to the edit and review process.

The Benefits of DITA

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Content consistency and predictability

Enhance content quality with consistency across content types and better understanding from end users due to predictable structure.

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Clear documentation hierarchy

Ensure easy navigation and comprehension with the ability to easily exchange content in a common format between vendors.

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Reusable and unified content

Boost productivity by managing reusable content and promoting consistent messaging.

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Reduced Translation Costs

Translate large batches of content with ease.

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Publishing in multiple formats

Create a consistent and trusted source that can be published across all platforms, including PDF, mobile, and print.

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Easy branding updates

Streamline branding updates by seamlessly incorporating external elements such as copyright notices, logos, and branding information during output generation.

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Interoperability between systems

Provide seamless workflow efficiency and information consistency, all while avoiding vendor lock-in through the use of off-the-shelf tools.

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Single-source Content

Efficiently automate parallel deliveries, maximize content reuse, and maintain a single, trusted content source across various publications, products, and languages.

The Benefits of Adopting a DITA-focused CCMS

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Link Management

Efficiently oversee and maintain links ensuring accuracy and accessibility across your documentation ecosystem

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Security and access rights

Organize your users in specific security groups to give them the appropriate permissions and rights.

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Content findability

Enhance content findability through advanced search capabilities and intuitive navigational tools.

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Controlled localization processes

Streamline controlled localization processes with efficient management and automation solutions.

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Improved team collaboration

Foster improved team collaboration through collaborative content management features and tools.

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Version Control

Ensure content accuracy and traceability by systematically recording and tracking changes made to documents over time.

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Automated publishing

Publish smart and captivating technical content with streamlined content delivery.

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Taxonomy term maintenance and application

Simplify content categorization and ensure consistent classification.

Why should my company use a CCMS?

Let’s say your company manufactures cell phones on a mass scale. Like most products, cell phones come with a user manual (that thing you so often toss out and three months later wish you hadn’t).

In preparation for the release of phone X, your technical documentation teams work towards creating and publishing a user guide. This manual will be delivered in multiple formats, including: as a printed booklet, an online document on your website, and as a PDF embedded on the phone itself. It will also be translated into Japanese, German, and French.

Next quarter, you will go through the same process for phone Y.

Is your head spinning yet?

A CCMS simplifies the process by offering a solution that covers technical documentation from A to Z. IXIA CCMS provides an easy-to-use interface guaranteed to improve collaboration at all levels, and is the only 100% DITA-compliant component content management system.

Now, team members can contribute to reviewing, creating, and publishing documents. Not only is content available for print, is is also available to your end-users on the web, their mobile app, or through a QR code.

To read more about how semiconductor firms benefit from a CCMS, read our blog article.

Manage Multiple Product Releases at Once

IXIA CCMS allows one to manage and automate parallel and multiple deliveries, or even continuous deliveries, while maximizing reuse. All bits of content are stored in a central repository, and can be re-purposed for publishing in several publications, products and languages. This provides a single, trusted source of content (referential). The CCMS is designed with an easy-to-use interface that can easily be adopted by anyone—even non-DITA users.

What’s more, you can filter and create targeted content depending on the product options! This creates slimmer but more targeted guides. End-users won’t need to skim through non-applicable or unnecessary content.

Click here to learn more about which leading companies are using IXIA CCMS.

Speak with an IXIA CCMS expert today!

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