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Copenhagen, Sept. 12-13
Copenhagen, Sept. 12-13

Lecture

Vaisala’s Migration to DITA XML

From 2015-to the present, Vaisala has moved from a creating traditional, linear documentation towards creating topic-based documentation in DITA XML in order to optimize publishing to various print and online help media. In order to reach this point, we have used extensive teamwork on many different levels.

On a technical level, we specified, purchased, and implemented a brand new documentation environment.  There are many solutions on the market, each with their own pluses and minuses.
On a user experience level we redesigned our print and online help outputs.  We worked with graphic designers to create a modern look and feel that met our users’ needs.
On a personnel level, we revisited our content creation ‘culture’ to rethink how we plan and create topic-based content that improves usability and optimizes reuse.

Successfully migrating a large body of material required extensive planning of the information model and reuse strategies, identifying opportunities for automization, and identifying various migration models and which migration models applied best to which product areas.

By the end of 2016, we had migrated approximately 200 manual totaling about 17000 pages of content, with extensive rates of reuse.

The story has not ended. Most of our product areas are producing technical documentation almost exclusively in DITA.  We have continued to add support for more outputs and output channels as well as have considered how to further optimize our documentation and localization practices.