Document development process

A document goes through multiple phases before it is published. For example, content may be created by an author, approved by subject matter experts, and then polished by the editor before being sent off for translation. The exact scenario varies with the installation.

But whatever the exact scenario your company uses, documents of all types—images, maps and topics—go through distinct cycles that roughly correspond to the major cycles of DITA CMS.
Important: The cycles and states described here are those implemented at IXIASOFT Technology. Yours are likely to vary in their specifics. Please contact your CMS administrator for the specifics of your deployment.

Cycles

Document cycles establish the larger framework for document development.

  • Authoring—Each document type has its own distinct set of stages in the Authoring cycle.
    • Images/Resources—Graphic artists create, modify, and finalize images. Team members locate resources (background material not directly utilized by the document deliverable) and add them to resource packages.
    • Topics—Authors develop, edit, and finalize content.
    • Maps—Information architects and authors develop map structure and add topics to it. The project is globally reviewed for inconsistencies and incompleteness.
  • Localization—Translators produce different language versions.
  • Published—A release version is created where content is kept unaffected by future changes. Official output may be generated from this location in a number of different formats for distribution.

States

Within each cycle there are several different states—such as work and review—that identify the multiple actions performed on content at every level of development. Document states track content within the different cycles.

Figure 1. Within each cycle there are several different states
Document life cycle - generic flipped

Status

A document's cycle and state, written together, define its status, e.g., Authoring:review. The document's status tracks its progress though the various cycles of the document life cycle—Authoring, Localization, and Published—and offers further control over the process by breaking each cycle into states.

When a topic or a map is created (or when an image is imported), it is assigned the status Authoring:draft. From that point on, status promotions (and demotions) are done by the system users. The files go out for review and are either accepted (and pass on into another cycle) or are found incomplete and demoted for further clarification and development.