Continuing my reconsideration of concept, task, and reference as cardinal topic types, this post is about reference. I planned to call it “A Reference is Not a Table”, as I promised in The Tyranny of the Terrible Troika, but thinking more about it I realized that the issue is really much broader than that. The real issue is that a reference is not a topic at all, it’s a database.
Today, I am announcing the launch of a new website, SPFE.info. [EDIT: Information on SPFE has moved to GitHub. See http://mbakeranalecta.github.io/spfe-open-toolkit/] The SPFE architecture is a design for building structured authoring systems. Why would the world, need such a thing when it already has DITA? Why have I spent the last 15 years or so working on what I now call SPFE?