Introduction to DITA

The Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) is an XML-based architecture for authoring, producing, and delivering topic-oriented, information-typed content that can be reused and single-sourced in a variety of ways. While DITA historically has been driven by the requirements of large-scale technical documentation authoring, management, and delivery, it is a standard that is applicable to any kind of publication or information that might be presented to readers, including interactive training and educational materials, standards, reports, business documents, trade books, travel and nature guides, and more.

DITA is designed for creating new document types and describing new information domains based on existing types and domains. The process for creating new types and domains is called specialization. Specialization enables the creation of specific, targeted XML grammars that can still use tools and design rules that were developed for more general types and domains; this is similar to how classes in an object-oriented system can inherit the methods of ancestor classes.

Because DITA topics are conforming XML documents, they can be readily viewed, edited, and validated using standard XML tools, although realizing the full potential of DITA requires using DITA-aware tools.