It was written:

> Something that you may want to look into is using DITA as your 
> underlying data model (if you're entertaining the idea of using 
> structured authoring). One of the biggest problems that people have in 
> using DITA is the migration of legacy content .. you don't have this 
> problem.

The same logic holds for creating a dataset using a more descriptive 
structure, so why only go halfway? Why not design a structure that fully 
describes the data?

> If the focus of your output is to online Help or web delivery, 
> DITA's topic-oriented focus may be ideal. One of the benefits of using 
> DITA is that through the OpenToolkit (free open source set of tools), 
> you get all you need to generate various forms of online output (no 
> WebWorks required). (Caveat: you will need to spend time/money modifying 
> the XSLT transformations to get the output to look the way you want, but 
> perhaps you've got some XSLT developers on staff(?).)

If you have XSLT developers on staff, you can create the outputs from 
any XML, though it may be more work than using the toolkit. (I don't 
have any experience with it.)

> Also, because DITA is XML, you can easily integrate (both in and out)
> with code in your development stream.

The same applies for any XML structure.

> If you're really on a tight budget, you could also forgo using
> FrameMaker and just use an XML editor...

As above - the same applies for any XML.

Although I'm yet to find it, I'm sure that DITA has its place. 
Recommending for a green-fields scenario where the opportunity exists to 
put a startup on a good footing smacks of lost potential to me though.

My advice for the original poster would be to forget the budget for 
tools - sort out the strategy for data management over the foreseeable 
future and then try to establish what you will require to support it. If 
you choose tools first, you'll design a data strategy that suits your 
choices, not one that serves your dataset.


Marcus Carr                      email:  mcarr at
Allette Systems (Australia)      www:
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
        - Einstein

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