Automating DITA Builds

At the DITA Europe 2012 conference in Frankfurt on Main, many participants expressed interest in integrating software development methodologies with DITA authoring. At the 2013 conference in Munich, I’ll be speaking on “Automating DITA Builds — Lightweight Continuous Integration for Documentation Projects”.

Though some vendors create the impression that five-digit investments are the ticket to XML automation, that needn’t be the case. Here’s the session summary:

Expensive solutions are not necessary to automatically publish XML content to PDF or HTML-based formats. There are many ways to automate the process and a range of open source tools and scripting solutions can be used.

This session covers several approaches to automated XML publishing and provides simple examples for lightweight continuous integration from scheduled builds to watched folders and commit hooks to more complex hosted systems.

Of course, that’s a lot of ground to cover in a quick conference talk, and full-blown Continuous Integration is a topic broad enough for books, so my presentation will emphasize more “lightweight” approaches that authors can use to auto-generate output in DITA projects without an engineering degree or a bloated budget.

Presentation slide decks are hardly an appropriate repository for future reference, so I’ll be expanding on the ideas outlined in my talk in a series of articles on this site and elsewhere over the next few weeks. Check back here now and then for updates, subscribe to my RSS feed, or follow me on Twitter.

I’ll be in Munich Saturday evening for the oXygen User’s Meetup on Sunday, so if you’re in town early and want to talk shop, get in touch.

Update: The talk was well-received and I’ve been asked to give the presentation again at DITA North America in Seattle and turn it into an article for the Best Practices newsletter.

Thanks to a friendly prompt, I’ve posted the slides to Speaker Deck: