To boldly go where no tech writer has gone before (one can dream, right?)

Learn DITA on Your Own: Get connected

(This post is part of the Learn DITA on Your Own series.)

A great way to keep abreast of what’s happening in the DITA world is to get connected with the very active and dynamic DITA online community. By following a few blogs, Yahoo/LinkedIn groups, and Twitter accounts you can get the latest news on DITA, read about interesting implementations, and develop your knowledge. 

Even if you’re not an active participant in this community, being connected is very useful. I don’t participate much in these groups (I have the luxury of working with DITA experts who can answer any question that I have), but I have learned a lot by reading about other people’s problems, questions, and solutions.

So here are the groups, accounts, and blogs that I follow regularly. Don’t hesitate to let me know if I have missed one that should be on this list.

DITA Users Yahoo Group

The best technical reference on DITA is the DITA Users Yahoo Group. It’s the one resource that I follow quasi-religiously. Some of the best DITA experts are there, sharing their knowledge. Some of the questions (and answers!) go way over my head, but I have learned about new concepts and new ways of using DITA thanks to this group.  (And I think I’m secretly hoping I’ll learn by osmosis simply by hanging around these experts :).

LinkedIn groups

There are a few DITA groups on LinkedIn, but here are the two that I follow more regularly:

  • DITA Awareness Group: This group, the largest about DITA on LinkedIn, is very active and is a great place to get the latest news about the DITA standard, learn about interesting blog posts or upcoming presentations, and see how other writers are implementing DITA.
  • The Content Wrangler: Content management is a very important part of DITA. The Content Wrangler is not DITA-specific but covers content issues that are very relevant.

There are also a few regional DITA groups (for example, France, Japan, Alberta, Central Texas), so it might be worthwhile to search for DITA groups in LinkedIn, since there might be one for your area.

Twitter accounts

I have compiled a list of DITA Twitter accounts that I follow. You can find it here:

https://twitter.com/nathalielaroche/lists/all-about-dita

You can subscribe to the list or create your own. Again, this is not a complete list, so don’t hesitate to suggest accounts I could add.

Blogs

There are so many blogs out there on DITA, I couldn’t possibly list them all. Here are my favorite ones:

  • DITAWriter: Keith Schengili-Roberts’s blog has everything you want to know about DITA, from the list of the XML Editors that support DITA to links for more than 200 videos on DITA. He covers changes to the DITA standard, trends, webinars, etc. Keith also has a good list of DITA blogs on his blogroll, so browse through them and you might find one that interests you.
  • Official DITA XML site: This is a community-driven site hosted by OASIS that provides background information on the standard. It’s not always active, but it provides a lot of reference information.
  • I’d Rather Be Writing: While Tom Johnson’s blog is not specific to DITA, his latest series detailing his DITA journey is very interesting, especially if you’re new to DITA.

Conclusion

I hope that you enjoyed this series. Learning DITA has been a great boost in my career, and I wanted to share my enthusiasm with fellow writers interested in learning new technologies.

In a few weeks, I’ll post about how you can create a portfolio of your DITA content. But in the meantime I have to prepare for my presentation at the STC Summit 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona, coming next week. I hope to see you there! :)

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One Response to “Learn DITA on Your Own: Get connected”

  1. Tom Johnson says:

    Thanks for mentioning my DITA series in your post! I’d love to see information about dita proliferate online.

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