Members of the OASIS Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) Technical Committee have published a Version 1.1 Committee Draft specification for public review. The public review period ends May 04, 2007. The DITA Version 1.1 release consists of an architectural specification, a language specification, a set of DTDs, and an equivalent set of Schemas.
According to OASIS, the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) is “an XML-based, end-to-end architecture for authoring, producing, and delivering readable information as discrete, typed topics. It is designed to support: managing readable information; reusing information in many different combinations and deliverables; creating online information systems such as User Assistance (help) or web resource; creating minimalist books for easier authoring and use.”
DITA supports: (1) topic-oriented authoring: creating a unit of information for a single subject, where topics can then be assembled into help systems or books that require a particular selection and organization of subjects; (2) information typing: identifying the type of topic, such as task, concept, reference, example, and so on; (3) specialization: extensibility with inheritance, which allows the creation of new types that inherit processing rules from existing types. For example, API documentation is a particular kind of reference information and requires more specific rules and descriptive markup than a generic reference type; as a result, topics from different domains with different markup and markup rules can be built together into one help file, Web site, or book.
The DITA language reference describes the elements that comprise the topic DTD and its initial, information-typed descendents: concept, reference, task, and glossentry. It also describes DITA maps DTD and its current specialization (bookmap), as well as various topic and map based DITA domains. The separate DITA Architectural Specification includes detailed information about DITA specialization, when to use each topic type, how topics and maps interact, details of complex behaviors such as conref and conditional processing, and many other best practices for working with DITA.