Author-it Adds DITA Authoring In v5.3

Seems everyone’s adding a DITA authoring tool to their content management systems these days. The latest one -- for today at least -- comes with the release of v5.3 of Author-it’s (news, site ) web content management system.

It comes with the promise of bringing consistency to your content and documentation and all for a fraction of the cost of implementing other tools that require costly migration and systems integration.

It also extends the use of DITA-authoring outside the technical documentation department and out of the hands of technical authors who are already proficient in the use of XML and DITA authoring tools.

DITA Authoring Made Easy

However, while the company is using this as one of its big selling points it might consider pushing price as its principal attraction -- if indeed it really is cheaper -- as just about any company that offers a DITA-authoring solution claims that even novices will be able to use their particular offering.

In this respect it does give pricing examples on its website, which are probably worth a look, but the ‘for-novice-users’ as a selling point is not going to cut the cloth.

For example, in the last week alone:

And as DITA increasingly becomes standard fare, there is going to be a lot more of them.

The bottom line is that if you want to sell your DITA authoring tool, it's just gotta be easy-to-use.

Extending Author-it v5.0

Author-it 5.3 is another step with its v5.0, which was released in September 2007 and has gone through two other upgrades since.

With v5.0 the company introduced Author-it Xtend that enables collaborators to reuse and share knowledge across an organization and included “fuzzy logic” features that matches content stored in a central repository with what a user is typing.

Author it Xtend_2009.gif
The Xtend feature introduced with v5.0

This gave users an immediate list of what other content in the repository that has used similar terms. And v5.3 also displays this ability.

New Version, New Features

However, there are a number of new features in the new version.

According to the company, these include:

  • A significant enhancement in it performance that dramatically cuts the time it takes to carry out tasks like opening books, search queries, or anything in the localization manager.
  • Enhanced structured authoring that allows user to implement structured authoring for any content model, whether it is a company’s customized customized content model or a standard like DITA
  • New Web Help templates for publishing content to HTML
  • Support for automatically creating TOC bookmarks and clickable links when publishing PDF documents.
  • Eighteen new dictionary files for spell checking content in Author-it and Author-it Live. The dictionaries include updated word lists for most of the existing languages and several new languages
  • A sitemap file that lists published web pages in HTML or XHTML, which were issued to inform search engines that you have pages available for crawling.

Another nice feature for existing Author-it users is that they will get an automatic upgrade to this latest release -- for free.

And when all is said and done, that really is the key to selling any solution in the current environment -- show us where the savings are.