XML 2008 liveblog: Accelerated DITA Publishing

Roy Amodeo, Stilo.

Only 4 people in attendance when the talk starts. Quick overview of DITA. Transclusion (conref), topic-level maps, specialization, metadata-based filtering. XML and SGML flavors available. Open Toolkit has been a big part of DITA’s success. Replacable components (XSLT and FO). Many editing environments and CMS’s include this.

Topic-based publishing. Works best with many small, fairly independent topics. How well does the Open Toolkit work when pushing the boundaries? DITA stress test. Raising file size increases processing time faster than linear. Average file size 300k crashed. For overall number of files, roughly linear progression, but still blows up at large volumes.

Enter the OmniMark DITA Accelerator. Behavior modeled after toolkit, but minus the limits (streaming). Uses referents (placeholders left in place, filled in later; 2-pass algorithm). Base speed improvement 4X. Works well past where the Toolkit runs out of memory. Because DITA is standardized, the accelerated implementation can be easily plugged in.

Usability: XSLT exists somewhat uneasily with DITA. DITA Accelerator augments OmniMark with DITA-specific rules.

Conclusion: Standards are about choice of tools. (But how many OmniMark implementations are there?) Still, this makes me think I should check out the OmniMark language. I remain skeptical on DITA.

-m

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