Most modern websites require lots of supporting style sheets and script libraries. Loading many MBytes of libraries before the page becomes visible is no exception. This becomes a real problem when your internet connection is less-than-lightning-fast. With Live DITA, only the bare bone basics are sent to each device. This makes the pages load a lot faster than, despite having to perform the XSL transform to create the HTNL.
Have you noticed that the content on this website is built just-in-time, right AFTER you clicked on the link for each individual page?
What You See Is What You Need
Performing the XSL transform when the page request comes in allows choosing a different transform depending on the parameters of the request. This allows adaptive content, not by hiding some elements via media queries but not including what the device does not need or cannot handle.
Options that make your website truly adaptive rather than merely responsive:
- Minimizing content for devices with limited bandwidth
- Creating content optimized for specific browser versions
- Optimizing media for phones, tablets and desktops
- Performing on-the-fly filtering
- Doing on-the-fly localization
With Live DITA, there is no more need to publish your content to HTML before it is requested from a browser. Only time-consuming pre-processing steps (such as resolving conrefs and retrieving metadata from DITA maps) are performed when referenced elements change. The transform from pre-processed DITA to HTML is done when the users request the page from their devices.
Apart from the adaptability, there is another advantage to this. Changes you make to the content become effective immediately after saving the changed DITA file. You could also have multiple maps - for different devices or audiences - and have the changes appear automatically wherever the DITA topic is being (re)used.
Adaptive beats Responsive
Viewing this website on a phone will give you a completely different view, optimized for low-bandwidth devices with small screens. No need for high-res images, bootstrap libraries etc. And for those who do have the bandwidth (and possibly a large smartphone screen), there is always the option to show the full website as it would have shown up on a computer screen.
At Live DITA, we believe that mobile first means not wasting bandwidth unless the user specifically asks for a fancy site. Also, it should not be required to upgrade your browser version just to be able to see our website. You may get a less-than-perfect rendering, but the essentials should always be available, no matter how outdated your computer or smartphone might be.