Book Reviews

Mark Lewis author “DITA Metrics”

This book answers the ultimate question. Is DITA right for you? And if so, how do you make the move to DITA. Though the book is intended for beginners getting up to speed on DITA, it is full of valuable nuggets for DITA intermediates and experts because of the scope that is covered.

This book helps you make the transition from authoring long narrative monolithic documents to topic and component-based collaborative authoring. This book shows you how to analyze the content that you already have and determine if and how it maps to DITA. “DITA 101” discusses the new and modified roles and processes needed in a collaborative authoring environment.

“DITA 101” is a blending of what you need to know to get started in DITA and the Rockley Group's proven Unified Content Strategy. Given that DITA was designed around best practices for technical publications, that makes this book a combination of two best practices rolled into one.

Keith Soltys - Technical Writer

One of the barriers to implementing DITA has been the state of its documentation. Like many open source projects, DITA's documentation is scattered and inconsistent. The documentation for the DITA Open Toolkit has improved dramatically in the last few years, but it still isn't up to the standard of most commercial projects.

DITA 101: Fundamentals of DITA for Authors and Managers, a new book from the Rockley Group, provides a more readable introduction. Rather than explaining the nitty-gritty of how to use the Open Toolkit and XML, it focuses on explaining what DITA is (and isn't), and what are its benefits and pitfalls. Much of the books content comes from experience the members of the Rockley Group have gained in conducting training DITA and content analysis and management.

Although this isn't a long book (140 pages), it's full of useful information, tips, and guidelines. The Rockley Group is an industry leader in the area of structured authoring and content managment, and they've distilled a lot of their experience into this book. Writers contemplating a move to DITA should definitely read it, and give a copy to their managers, too. At the very reasonable price of $9.95 for the download edition, this book is a bargain.