Creating DITA topics using Twitter

I am creating today's topic by dictating the content directly to my cell phone. A dictation application allows me to construct the structure in the resultant topic. I'm thinking of calling this concept DITATwita! ;-)

I suppose I could find a harder way to do this, but I wanted to explore the idea because it is central to the scenario in which a cell phone might be the only available tool for writing with.

in fact, the dictation method is a powerful and convenient shorthand for creating not only generic html and DITA topics, but also concepts and perhaps even tasks. For example, audio recordings of field notes can be transcribed and edited for processing into topics that can be updated in a field guide for emergencies.

Capabilities of this system include:

  • creating html, topic, concept, task, in reference topic types
  • designating paragraphs, long quotes, notes, numbered and bulleted lists, definitions, and sections.
  • designating inline bold and italic markup
  • l can see already that I wish I had a way to indicate changes like deleting or replacing a previous tweet. But considering that this entire blog was authored using only the speech input and soft keyboard of my cellphone, I've successfully demonstrated a way for creating DITA content in situations where the usual laptop or desktop tools might be unusable.

Back to my regular desktop tools here... I've included some source files including the original for the above blog content, as well as a description of the syntax and directives and the PHP-based parser and writer for the various, source-driven outputs. I did not get the Twitter listener set up yet--I just copied the content out of the message view on my Twitter web account and pasted it into a text file where I reversed the order and removed time stamps. If you have a localhost WAMP or LAMP setup, the following command will convert whatever source file you have described in the opening $file variable:

For files unzipped into the www directory:http://localhost/pt.php

Zipped samples and tools:DITATwita-2011-04-11-v1