We prepare data to match the final medium or format.
Crestec can support many formats and applications, such as InDesign, FrameMaker, and Microsoft Office. We can effectively use your accumulated data assets for efficient manual creation.
1 Supported Applications
Adobe InDesign, Adobe FrameMaker, Adobe PageMaker, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office, QuarkXPress, Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe Flash, AH Formatter, Trados, and others
2 Supported File Formats
.indd, .fm, .ai, .psd, .eps, PDF, .pptx, .xlsx, .docx, .pmd, XML (DITA supported), HTML, .swf, WebHelp, CHM, EPUB, KF8, MOBI, .svg, 3D CAD, and XVL and other image files
We can use XML to standardize and structure documents, and create content for various types of media, such as HTML, video, and smartphone apps, based on DTP data. Of course, we are also able to use CMS and DITA to ensure that your data assets can be managed smoothly.
Crestec can use the 3D CAD data for a product to create precise illustrations and also video in the pursuit of content that can communicate clearly.
Because Crestec can create highly accurate translations using our network with operations around the world and has DTP centers in China, Thailand, and other countries, we are able to carry out the work for multiple languages to meet simultaneous worldwide sales.
What is DITA?
Differences between DITA and existing "XML"
What type of manuals
is it suited for?
How should it
DITA is one of the new document production technologies based on XML. It offers an approach for making easy-to-understand documents. However, in order to introduce DITA, it is even more important than other XML technologies to understand the the specifications and ideology of DITA. Because DITA has the aspect of being combined with existing technologies, if their is a failure to properly combine the data, there is a possibility that it may result in just the data format being changed with no real changes from the previous data.
Why use "DITA"?
Why use "DITA" now from all of the other XML technologies available? The need to support media other than paper is increasing due to the rise of new devices such as smartphones and tablets. Existing contents that were made under the assumption of having paper as the medium have a tendency of being book oriented with an awareness of being read in order from the beginning. However, in order to support new devices, the need to have topic orientation with compact units that can communicate information is growing.
In addition, in the race for globalization, the desire for reduction to translation and DTP costs is greater than ever. It is in this background that DITA, with its latest document development specifications and its open standards, has gained attention. However, simply introducing DITA doesn't automatically lead to improvements. Let's correctly understand the ideology and concept of DITA to get the most out of this technology.
Topics and Maps
With DITA, topics are used as the basic units to write information, and then by referencing these topics from maps, a single document can be created.
Topics refer to collection of information that has fixed meaning from the point of view of users. In DITA, topics do not have a dependent relationship with other topics. In topics there are topic types which have multiple specified types. Topic types can be suitably used depending on the contents of topic. The main topic types include task, concept, and reference.
DITA stands for "Darwin Information Typing Architecture". It uses the "Darwin" name because of how it is a specialized system that can make new independent topic types. With specialization, you can make specialized topics from the existing topic types that are more targeted to specific information.
In document production, various methods have been used to make information into components for reuse. In DITA, it comes with a structure that makes reuse easy because documents are made of component units. The original thinking behind topics was to make them with no dependent relationships with other topics so that they could more easily reused. There are also conref and keyref, which are even smaller units of information than topics, that can be used to reuse information more precisely. These can be considered as one part of the important specializations that make it possible to greatly affect the efficiency of document production.
The DITA Open Toolkit, which makes it possible to convert DITA to various data formats, has been developed as a sourceforge open project which is available for free. However, in order to meet the design levels required for products, plugins for creating data with independent specifications must be developed.
XML Structure Definitions
Have you heard of the phrase "manual structurization"? DocBook was the first manual structurization technology followed by various others. All of these are types of "XML Structure Definitions". Structure definitions are used to determine the shape of the XML in terms of "what elements can appear where" and "what attributes there are for elements". These definitions are determined depending on how the XML will be used. For a familiar example, think of the web pages we view using PCs and other devices. A technology called XHTML is used in some web pages. It can be considered that the form of the XML used in XHTML was determined in order to display web pages. In this way, we can also think of DITA as one type of "XML Structure Definition". DITA has specializations not found in other types of structured technologies. This is the structure definition made for the purpose of "topic oriented writing".
Topic Oriented Writing
Topic oriented writing is where you bring together multiple topics to make a single document. In addition, in DITA the first thing you do is think of which type topic type, from task, concept, and reference, to use for the given information. So that you can communicate the information that users want to know in an easy-to-understand manner, the contents of each topic type are classified and structured, and there are fixed guidelines for what should be written where. The DITA topic types form the basis of the InfoMap method. The InfoMap method is based on scientific knowledge from cognitive psychology, and was created as a method to communicate information in an easy-to-understand manner. There is also the term "task oriented". This refers to a way of thinking where "what the reader wants to do" and "what the reader wants to know" are used as topics. This is a commonly used writing method in topic oriented writing in DITA. It is important to understand that the focus of the specifications of DITA on contents is for the purpose of making documents with the DITA topic orientated specializations that are easy to read and understand. Another way of putting it is a structure definition that places importance on the role of people over the system.
Topic orientated writing can be considered as way of writing where you match the text to a prescribed form. Because there is a prescribed form, even if multiple writers write topics, it is easier to maintain uniformity and consistency in the quality and content. What are the types of documents that would need multiple writers? First of all, we can all think of documents with large amounts of information that are difficult for 1 writer to write for. Also, if there are manuals that are read on smartphones that have the type of contents that could get the most out of the special traits of topic writing, it might be good to consider DITA regardless of the information volume. However, it doesn't mean that any type of document can made simply by using DITA. DITA has its own merits and demerits.
Because DITA is a document structurizing technology, it is capable of automatic composition. You can expect DTP cost savings if you are moving from DTP to DITA. This saving increases the more languages and information volume there are. You can also expect translation cost savings with increases to reuse of content with conref, etc. However, if you reuse too much, it may become difficult to manage the quality of translations and the reused contents.
Because DITA is a document structurizing technology, when writing the information becomes stylized and the expressions used become uniform with little variety. Therefore DITA is not suited to manuals with a strong visual themes, and lavish brochures, etc. that are used for sales promotions. It is important to recognize that structure definitions and expression methods put restrictions on each other.
From new manuals or documents
If transferring from DTP, you can expect some merit from automatic composition. However, if you want to change a document to DITA that has already been structurized with DocBook or other methods, you need to thoroughly investigate if there are benefits to introducing DITA. There is also the risk that if DITA is introduced without understanding the aspects of topic oriented writing, you may perform conversion work with no real benefit. (Data conversion for the purpose of data standardization is needed.) Currently we are in an age where we must consider that documents will be viewed in a variety of ways on multiple devices including smartphones, tablet PCs, and the latest browsers. When you are reviewing how to meet the needs of these ways of distribution and viewing, it may be a good time to consider introducing DITA.
It's not the purpose - it's the method
If you think of DITA as an aspect of IT solutions, there are almost no limits to the cost of the system you can construct. It is important to not think of introducing a system or just simply changing to DITA, you must recognize the methods for making better documents and think of the correct way of introducing DITA.
The importance of designing maps
Maps play an important part in topic oriented writing. Maps make the whole aspect of the document clear and give a role to the document. Also, they make it clear what types of topics are needed in the document, and also determine positions for each topic and give them each a role. With this writers can know how to use each topic. Especially for documents with multiple writers, the ability of maps to clarify design is important.
For Crestec, DITA is one out of many technologies for making documents. Crestec, from our stand point of the importance of contents, believes that the essence of DITA is "topic orientated writing". From the technologies that we have cultivated and our experience, we understand that DITA is seamless and we are continuing to investigate the essence of making documents with DITA.
Support for Multiple Devices
Each device has its own characteristics and the optimal way of showing contents is different for each device. From the characteristics of each device we can understand the limitations of expressions with that device. For example, on the small screens of smartphones, there are limits to the amount of information that can be displayed. Ir order to have contents that are easy to read and understand for users, we must optimize contents according to the limitations of each device. At Crestec we have writers who understand the characteristics of each device and are here to help you with your document production for multiple devices.