Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) is an XML architecture and standard for designing, writing, managing, and publishing information. DITA specifies elements, their order of occurrence, and standard attributes on the elements. Elements are also known as tags. XML is a markup language, meaning that text is marked with tags.
Some key features of DITA are the modularity and reuse of content. When you author using DITA, content is divided into topics that are small, reusable pieces of information. DITA is also known for three distinct information types – concept, task, and reference. Topics are organized for publication and delivery through maps.
DITA involves writing topics, which are single files that encapsulate information. The three main types of topics are concept, task, and reference. Topics are organized using maps. Maps are lists of links to topics that are used to create a deliverable.
The DITA standard is currently maintained and advanced through version releases by a technical committee through Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards. It originated at IBM in the 1990s and was donated to OASIS in 2004. The first approved public version of the standard was published in May 2005. The DITA standard provides downloadable DTD and schema implementations for validation on the OASIS web site.
The DITA Open Toolkit is an implementation of the OASIS DITA XML Specification. The Toolkit transforms DITA content into many deliverable formats.