Joe Malin wrote: > Well, I *finally* finished the new book for our next software > release, so I can justifiably turn my attention to getting myself > into structured docs.
Ah, some time to play... ;-) > I am not going to go with DITA just yet. My plan is to convert my > existing unstructured docs to structure first, and then start the > next round of docs in DITA. So, my first decision is what EDD to use. > Should I develop an EDD myself from scratch, or start with the > DocBook EDD? My only hesitation in using the DocBook EDD is that it > will have a lot of elements that I don't want to use. In my opinion, the last sentence hints that you already know the answer to your question. My long-standing belief is that if you try to structure your data in accordance with what tools you currently have at hand, you're focusing on the wrong issue. Your documents have an inherent structure, and you should respect and support it. There is a cost to every single XPath that you don't use, so something like DocBook can be a very expensive approach. If you cut it down, you'll often find that you're left with the right elements, but the names may not be what you'd choose yourself. Also, DocBook is very loosely structured, so you may want to tighten up the models - by the time you go through all of this, you may as well have just done the analysis yourself and started with the pre-existing (but implied) structure of your documents. Although there may be good reasons for going to DITA, I've never had reason to do so, as I feel that the benefits gained from standardisation would quickly dry up as soon as you started customising. I'd be inclined to convert to DITA as a final process if you really had a need to mix and match modules, but I would probably choose a more descriptive syntax for data creation and management. > Any advice, particularly from those who have gone the same route, > would be much appreciated. Fifteen years of SGML and XML consulting and publishing and pretty much as much involvement with FrameMaker for me. I'm also involved with the emerging field of XML Governance, partially because my company has seen so many substandard approaches taken to structuring data and the current inability to manage XML-based projects effectively. > As you probably know, I have many years experience in software > development, so developing my own EDD is not an issue. You're perfectly positioned to start this off right. -- Regards, Marcus Carr email: mcarr at allette.com.au ___________________________________________________________________ Allette Systems (Australia) www: http://www.allette.com.au ___________________________________________________________________ "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." - Einstein