A small documentation team working on a tight budget can now use the tool ecosystem enabled by the DITA standard to create the sophisticated content that previously required long and expensive projects. The author spent just nine person-weeks over three years to replace a custom XML system with a DITA system based on a combination of off-the-shelf software, authoring conventions, and custom scripts.
Key factors to minimize the required effort were the adoption of authoring conventions instead of specializing DITA topics and the use of folders instead of elaborate metadata. These decisions avoided the need to customize the editor and the toolchain, and simplified the creation of style sheets for the required output formats.
A small documentation team of five writers maintains over 6300 topics and publishes documents, online helps, and training materials. Open formats allow a custom script to generate reference topics from commented C# code.