I've asked to be made (co-) maintainer of this module because I think Drupal could make for a good web front-end for DITA content (see also http://idratherbewriting.com/2014/01/04/the-appeal-of-dita/).
However, I'm not sure whether this module should be developed any further or if there are other - and better - ways for integrating DITA and Drupal. Therefore I provide here some findings and thoughts in hope to elicit some feedback from the community.
The status quo - some observations
- The Drupal 6 and Drupal 7 version of this module differ in feature set and functionality. The Drupal 7 version isn't just an upgraded Drupal 6 version (see the readme file). So basically we're talking about two different modules for DITA integration.
- I've only tried the Drupal 7 version yet, but the module doesn't work out of the box (at least not for me). Actually, I haven't got it working at all yet.
- There are lots of dependencies for other modules or even external PHP libraries.
- The module is tightly coupled. Separate features are not separated into sub-modules.
- There are features which IMO should not be part of a DITA integration module, e.g. creating ditamaps from mind maps or validating the XML against a DTD or schema. There are other and better tools for this.
What features should a DITA integration module for Drupal provide?
(at least in an initial implementation)
- The module should only consume DITA files not produce them.
- The module shouldn't have to validate the DITA files. This can and should better be done externally further up in the workflow.
- The module should be able to import single topics and ditamaps.
- The module should convert DITA meta data into Drupal taxonomies.
There are already quite some robust contributed modules for handling the import of XML content (see http://groups.drupal.org/node/21338 for an overview). IMO the most promising are the Feeds API (https://drupal.org/project/feeds) and Migrate (https://drupal.org/project/migrate) which also supports XML based sources (https://drupal.org/node/1152156).
These are only some thoughts off the top of my head. Any feedback from others is highly welcome!