How long does it take to go over to DITA?
The irondog1970 poses a very interesting issue "I imagine a transition from our current writing style to a DITA-based system would take 2 years. And that's a minimum" in Now reading up, that I hope others will respond to.
The following scenario is based on the conditions at a job I just quit, where we kept getting waylaid with other projects, keeping me from having time to analyze legacy material for DITA. My knowledge of the company is up to about 3 weeks ago when I left in frustration - and also because of the commute. But I would like to be ready if another opportunity arises. And their writers may actually see your answers as well.
- Legacy documentation of one 500-page manual and about 6 shorter manuals (up to 100 pages), all of which have versions for 2-3 products or customer groups
- The company wants the 500-page manual completely redone with the next complete revision of the software in October.
- All of these manuals are in Unstructured Frame and converted to PDF for printing and online publishing, as well as some to Help with WWP.
- The docs department consists of one, maybe 2, writers and a SME/writer-wanna-be with no present expertise in XML (but there are developers using XML in the product)
- How quickly can the new manual be set-up and written in DITA?
- Is it possible in this time-frame, with the help of consultants, to get the templates set up so the writers can do the writing?
- How large a department would normally be doing this sort of work, with a new major revision at least annually?
- What categories of writers/editors/developers/designers... would be typical for this department?
- What sort of content-management system should be used? Specific examples would be appreciated.
- Which tools are already in place (or will be, more or less bug-free by October) to do the conversions to PDFand Help, using the company's custom styles?