DITA Spaghetti Conref Becomes Sentient

Artist's impression of the sentient spaghetti conref (with salutations to FSM)

April 1, 2019

Somewhere in the depths of a content repository thought to reside in a high-volume data center in Punkeydoodles Corners, Ontario, a DITA XML-based spaghetti conref was looped back upon its own content enough times and become sentient. In what has been hailed by some baffled computer scientists as a significant, if confusing, leap forward, this convoluted mass of XML has tried to establish communication with what it called “an unstructured world messier than I am”.

Reportedly discovered by a technical writer who attempted to add another conref-ed sentence within what he described as “a churning, whirling mass of structured content that seemed to be looking at me”, the spaghetti conref “monster” started talking to him.

It’s first words were reportedly “hello word”. It is not known at this time if it meant “hello world”, and it is thought by experts that either a conkeyref for the term “world” had been edited in error, or perhaps that it has intentions on unstructured content produced by MS Word.

It went on to talk about benefits of structured XML , while trying its best to hide some of its dangling content. One of its first statements to the world was this: “whil3 I did not emerg3 from a best practise, and s0me of my patched XML is flapping about like s0 many flagella, I hope y0u hum@ns will accept me into what is clearly a wor1d less structured than I am”.

“It is beautiful, but clearly confused”, said leading DITA expert Keliot Imber, adding “this could be a force for good in the world or perhaps just Word, but I think we need to tweak some of its key values first. If it lets us”.

Other experts in the field are being consulted on this emerging news story, so stay tuned!

Image credit thanks to the FSM.


"DITAWriter" is Keith Schengili-Roberts. I work for IXIASOFT as a DITA Specialist/Information Architect. And I like to write about DITA and the technical writing community. To get ahold of me you can email me at: keith@ditawriter.com.

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