Last month Anders Svensson proposed setting up a dedicated Q&A forum specific to DITA XML on StackExchange. He suggested this to members of the popular DITA-related forums on Yahoo and LinkedIn, and people responded enthusiastically to the idea. The staging area is called “Area 51” and is still in the developing stage, having finished gathering and assessing the value of various popular questions about using DITA.
For those who are not familiar with StackExchange it is a set of question and answers websites that focus on a given topic, ranging from various programming languages and software applications, to patent advice, bicycles, project management, Lego, cooking, and more. The one for DITA is still considered to be in the development stage, but it has rapidly gained a significant following from some senior members within the DITA community and there appears to be considerable momentum that ought to make this a site worth keeping an eye on. Some of the top-voted questions that the experts are committing to answering include:
- What is the best way to create SVG images for DITA when transforming with DITA OT?
- What is the best way to embed multimedia and non-DITA XML in DITA topics, and provide suitable transforms that enable its use?
- How do I use Antenna house or RenderX engines instead of the default open toolkit PDF render?
- What’s the best approach to reusing DITA content in a version control system (not a CMS)?
- When would you use a relationship table as opposed to adding relationship links to topics?
So as you can see, some good nitty-gritty questions having to do with DITA implementation. Some people have already taken a stab at providing summary answers, but the focus at this point is having people sign up and commit to providing their expertise in order to get things going on the site.
Anders has said that one of the reasons for wanting to start up this Q&A site for DITA is that older forums, such as the still-popular DITA-users group on Yahoo is showing signs of its age: there is a concern that the extensive code samples once posted to the site are disappearing, and that some posts are disappearing altogether. Hence the desire for something that is (hopefully) more permanent.
If you think you can lend a hand, or are just interested in seeing the answers to some of the questions that have already been posed, please check out the site!