Stubborn Susan and Shaky Steve. DITA typology for dummies

by Uta Lange on November 30, 2015

Are you a trial-and-error Tom or a jump-right-in Joe? And have you heard of the DITA typology? I haven't. Until today, anyway. Frank Ralf invented it.

Our colleague Frank Ralf attended the DITA Europe in Munich. At the Demo Jam he presented his invention, the DITA types. The following diagram shows their different approaches and results (or failures). The y axis stands for emotions, the x axis for knowledge). Do you recognize yourself in one of the DITA types?

DITA Typologie nach Frank Ralf

DITA Types - Dramatis Personae

Stubborn Susan

Stays put, won't write documentation at all, regardless of the format or tool. After all, you can just look at the code, can't you?

Trial-and-error Tom

Quickly gets the hang of the new DITA format, explores DITA by trial and error. If he doesn't know, he calls the support line. Often. But don't worry, he stays relaxed. The way he works keeps him happy and moves him horizontally (knowledge) over time.

Shaky Steve

Knows enough for his daily work. Is happy as long as it works; if not, he panics and his liking of DITA drops instantly. Support calls are always fire-fighting missions, so you better help him quickly. Shaky Steve moves heavily vertically (emotion) without making too much progress horizontally (knowledge).

Jump-right-in Joe

You don't ever hear from him again only to discover after two months that he has implemented a complex @conkeyref-mechnism for his DITA documentation and automatically builds release notes with Jenkins using his own DITA templates.

Grumpy Gary
But there's also a dark side of DITA. At the bottom of his heart, Grumpy Gary is convinced that topic-based documentation using XML is the right way to do. And he is very knowledge-able about everything XML. But the longer he studies DITA the more he recognizes that "all that glitters is not gold".

Enlightened Eliot

The state, all DITA users want to reach eventually.

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