PTC Australia, the Product Development Company, has released a new version of its dynamic publishing software, Arbortext 5.3. This version extends PTC’s commitment to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA).
DITA, an OASIS-sponsored initiative, is an XML-based architecture for authoring, producing, and delivering technical information. OASIS (Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) is a not-for-profit, international consortium that drives the development, convergence, and adoption of e-business standards. IBM donated DITA to OASIS in March of 2004, where it is now managed by the OASIS DITA Technical Committee.
PTC expects that by the end of 2008, up to 80% of all new XML publishing installations will be based on DITA. DITA is one of the important innovations in XML, as it incorporates several practices to XML publishing.
First, DITA requires a modular approach to building publications, which is essential for reusing information effectively, and for configuring information for the varying needs of multiple audiences. Second, DITA allows different groups to customise their application for their specific needs, while maintaining the capability to share information easily with all other groups using DITA. And third, DITA increases an organisation’s agility to respond to new requirements by allowing adaptations of an XML application, while remaining compatible with all existing downstream applications.
Companies that use Arbortext 5.3 for their DITA initiatives will be able to significantly lower the costs associated with building XML publishing systems.
According to the OASIS DITA Technical Committee, although DITA topics and maps are quite simple in concept, coping with the features of the architecture itself has always been challenging for some writers. PTC is enhancing its Arbortext 5.3 product to help authors make much better use of DITA features.
Arbortext has supported DITA since 2004 with user interfaces, stylesheets and document type definitions (DTDs) for standard DITA information types (task, concept, and reference), and support for DITA’s specialisation capability, conref inclusion mechanism, and custom table models.
The new release of Arbortext includes the following enhancements that support:
Simplified user interface for creating topics and maps, which lists the topics to be assembled into a finished publication
Spell checking and search/replace across all files in a finished publication
Profiling feature that provides a simple user interface, so that authors can create variable publications that easily adapt to specific readers’ needs
Supports DITA maps to control the assembly and publishing of finished documents
Simplifies development of stylesheets for both hard-copy and electronic output media
Arbortext 5.3 availability
The planned availability for Arbortext 5.3 is December 2006.