How is real-time data integration (e.g., project progress updates) into documentation achieved with DITA?

Real-time data integration into documentation with DITA is a powerful capability that allows construction professionals to keep project documentation up-to-date with the latest information, such as project progress updates, without manual intervention. This is achieved through the dynamic nature of DITA content and integration with data sources. Here’s how real-time data integration is accomplished:

Dynamic Content References

DITA documents can include dynamic references to external data sources, such as databases or web services, that provide real-time information. These references are typically represented using specialized DITA elements or attributes. When a DITA document is rendered or viewed, it dynamically retrieves the latest data from the source, ensuring that the documentation reflects the most current information.


Here’s an example illustrating real-time data integration in DITA:

<topic id="project_progress">
  <title>Project Progress</title>
    <p>The current status of the project is as follows:

<data-ref type="database" id="progress_data">SELECT status FROM project_status WHERE project_id=12345</data-ref> <p>The project is currently in <data-source href="#progress_data">progress_data</data-source>.


In this example, the “data-ref” element retrieves the project’s status from a database in real-time, and the “data-source” element dynamically populates the status within the content when viewed or rendered.

Automatic Updates

DITA-aware content management systems and publishing tools can be configured to automatically update DITA documents with real-time data at predefined intervals or upon specific triggers. This automation ensures that the documentation remains current without manual intervention, saving time and reducing the risk of outdated information.