DITA Solution

What is DITA?

The Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) is an XML-based standard that allows you to separate content creation from layout, allowing the system to process and organize content in appropriate sections across multiple documents with minimal calls.

At Antenna House, our solution for creating PDFs from DITA content can repeatedly use the same piece or selection of content in many different documents — but you only need to write it once. The DITA XML format allows businesses all around the world to automate more of their document creation by using function calls instead of repeatedly building and filling text elements on each individual page.

For example, consider the "Warnings" or "Disclaimers" that are common for your industry documentations. DITA editors and systems would allow you to create these disclaimers and save then with a “Disclaimer” topic. From there, you’ll only need to call for these topics in the place your documents need the disclaimer. DITA automates the insertion and Formatter will ensure that it’s properly displayed across every document.

 Visit our DITA Partners for DITA systems, tools, and services. Visit OASIS to learn more about the DITA standard.

What is the DITA Open Toolkit?

DITA Open Toolkit (DITA-OT) is an open-source publishing tool used to process DITA content and converts it to various output formats. To convert DITA to PDF output based on XSL-FO, a standard PDF transformation plugin, called PDF2, is provided with DITA-OT by default. 

Download DITA-OT from dita-ot.org. 

Antenna House PDF5-ML Plugin

Antenna House's plugin was developed for the DITA Open Toolkit, which facilitates businesses in converting DITA documents into XSL-FO and uses XSL Formatter to generate PDF files. By default, a standard PDF transformation plugin is provided with the DITA Open Toolkit It is intended to replace PDF2; the default PDF transformation plugin provided with the DITA-OT.

The PDF5-ML plugin allows for precise control over your style definition while making variables easier to understand. It also has the ability to dynamically apply a new style through a function call.

Download the PDF5-ML plugin.

PDF5-ML Benefits:

  • DITA elements & attributes for XSL-FO output are supported w/o using xsl:attribute-set instruction and @use-attribute sets, since it is difficult to control dynamic style assignment w/ @use-attribute sets.
  • The plugin functions with Formatter by default, but the build.xml file can be rewritten to work with other formatting engines. PDF5-ML is open source.
  • DITA to XSL-FO stylesheets are written in XSLT 2.0
  • The stylesheet instructions can be customized by adding another stylesheet to the customization folder.
  • PDF5-ML can define styles and variables by languages. 
    • The styles used in PDF2 (default PDF transformation plugin) are defined by xsl:attribute-set, which does not allow styles to be defined by language.
    • PDF5-ML is more scalable compared to PDF2.
  • Changing output styles without changing the code of a style sheet.
  • Integrating with I18N Index Library and indexing for 31 languages.
  • Reducing the number of steps to produce XSL-FO or PDF documents.
  • Customizing style properties by creating easier-to-read variable names for each project.