Adam Kozyniak, Co-founder and CEO of Codex Systems presented their new "light weight" DITA editor called Codex. This editor is targeted at people who may be able to benefit from the modular nature of DITA authoring but don't need (or want) all of the overhead imposed by an editor that supports the entire DITA specification. Codex is an Adobe AIR application, which means that it will install on both Windows and Mac systems.
At this time Codex only supports the creation and editing of "topic" topics and a limited number of elements. The interface is very easy to use, and could be used by anyone regardless of their knowledge of DITA or structured authoring. Codex also lets you create maps, and has a very slick method for adding and arranging topic references. For this feature alone, I'd consider using Codex as an easy way to create new maps.
After the presentation we had a lengthy discussion of the pros and cons of such an editor, with many people feeling that a lightweight editor definitely has its place in their organization, but it would need to be a bit more feature-rich than Codex is currently. Because of the limited support for elements and topic types, it may be difficult to integrate into many existing authoring workflows. We discussed a possible feature that would allow the end user to define the set of limited topic types and elements, and thought that this could resolve the issue of wanting to "keep it simple" while remaining flexible enough for various needs.
It sounds like Codex will be adding more features over the coming months, so this is definitely something to keep your eye on.
This meeting was quite the event. Adam was presenting remotely from Japan, we also had remote attendees from Israel, Florida, and Los Angeles (well, actually Orange Co.). Our in-house audience was made up of many of the usual folks from the area, but we also had a couple of out of town guests from North Carolina and Los Angeles. It's great to be able to include so many people in our gatherings! Thanks again to Citrix for the use of GoToMeeting which makes it possible to include remote attendees!
Would one of your DITA-based, structured projects benefit from being published along with related, unstructured content as an information mashup on a Drupal-based website? Do you have the time and energy to participate in such a project on a short-term basis?
Dick and I are interested in working on a volunteer basis (no cost to you) on such a content-rich solution. We would like to start the project by mid-August and complete it by the end of September.
To see what we mean by "DITA/Drupal mashup" see our model sites: www.XMLdocs.info (WordPress) and www.DITAinfo.info (Drupal). Some of our blogs on those sites explain our vision, and you can click through the structured and unstructured information (the information domain is DITA itself).
Benefits to you: (1) Opportunity to experiment on a project you judge to have future business value (2) Opportunity to take advantage of all we have learned so far on these kinds of projects.
Benefits to us: (1) Opportunity to expand our knowledge and skill in this area (2) Opportunity to better understand client requirements and preferences.
If you are interested in exploring the possibilities, please contact us at 408-832-4212 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a one-time offer to an organization with the right profile and the ability to act quickly.
-Anna van Raaphorst and Dick Johnson