Antenna House PDF5-ML Plugin

Antenna House developed PDF5-ML as an open source plug-in for the DITA Open Toolkit used to produce PDFs with XSL Formatter as the formatting engine. It is intended to replace PDF2; the default PDF transformation plugin provided with the DITA-OT.

The PDF5-ML plugin simplifies PDF output customization w/ a main XML file and subsequent XML files for each language. The main XML file contains the most commonly used style properties and is easy to read. Style can also be dynamically applied by function call.

PDF5-ML is designed to work w/ i18n index library and Formatter, which provides multilingual back of the book indexing and output to various PDF formats. Applying style by language is made easy, simply add your language file.

PDF5-ML in Detail

  • 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 w/ Formatter by default, but plugin’s build.xml file can be rewritten to work w/ 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.
  • The styles used in PDF2 are defined by xsl:attribute-set. This means you cannot define styles by language.
  • PDF5-ML can define styles and variables by languages. As a result it is more scalable than PDF2.

Sample Document


How PDF5-ML Works with DITA


Recommended Set-up

DITA PDF Solution = Formatter + PDF5-ML Plugin + I18N Index Library


  • Output to over 30 languages
  • Create PDF in fewer steps
  • Affect style without changing style sheet code
  • Variable value replacement
  • Dynamic style changes