Demystifying DITA to PDF Publishing


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This session, from DocTrain West 2009, explores the pros and cons of using InDesign, FrameMaker, or the DITA Open Toolkit for publishing DITA content.

Published in: Technology, Design

Demystifying DITA to PDF Publishing

  1. 1. Demystifying DITA to PDF Publishing Sarah O'Keefe Scriptorium Publishing
  2. 2. Housekeeping Slides and some demo files available after the presentation; email me. I will have several question breaks. Please ask questions. Emphasis will be on Open Toolkit and InDesign; no extensive FrameMaker demo.
  3. 3. The five stages of DITA-based PDF publishing “How hard could it be?” “Why is this so $#@!$#@ hard??” “Maybe I can get this to work with different tools/people...” “At least I got our logo on the front page and nobody knows that I did this.” “It looks adequate and it publishes in seconds.”
  4. 4. PDF publishing is hard because: Printed page layouts have more options than HTML layouts. Extensible Stylesheet Language Formatting Objects (XSL-FO) needs to support sophisticated page layout options. Pushing XML into page layout tools is challenging. Automation means giving up page-by-page formatting.
  5. 5. Please choose one of the following terrifying options: DITA Open Toolkit Page-based layout tool FrameMaker InDesign Quark Help authoring/conversion tool RoboHelp ePublisher Pro Flare?
  6. 6. What are your PDF priorities? For typography, choose InDesign or similar. For automation, choose the DITA Open Toolkit. For a middle ground, choose FrameMaker.
  7. 7. Lower your standards. Does your audience care about fine typography? Less copyfitting = greater automation
  8. 8. What about the help authoring tools? Yes, if you need cross-browser, cross-platform help. Not the best choice for PDF only.
  9. 9. PDF through the DITA Open Toolkit Very difficult to configure No “tweaking” to fix copyfitting problems Almost certainly the long-term winner
  10. 10. DITA Open Toolkit process Install the DITA OT (!) Java Ant XSL processor XSL-FO processor Modify XSL-FO files to get the output you want Generate PDF from the command line
  11. 11. DITA Open Toolkit challenges Fonts Formatting Foggy FO FOP foibles
  12. 12. DITA Open Toolkit demo
  13. 13. Questions about DITA Open Toolkit?
  14. 14. PDF via FrameMaker Configuration requires modifying a formatting template Nice PDF Can tweak to adjust pagination
  15. 15. FrameMaker process Modify the template to meet your requirements Open the map file (v8 and earlier) Generate intermediate book Save as PDF
  16. 16. Only sort of fake FrameMaker demo
  17. 17. FrameMaker pitfalls Sensitive to whitespace DITA specializations Round-tripping Authoring
  18. 18. FrameMaker recommendations Use DITA-FMx plug-in
  19. 19. Questions about FrameMaker?
  20. 20. PDF via InDesign Beautiful typography Can tweak to adjust pagination No default support for DITA Extensive configuration required Whitespace in XML results in anaphylactic shock for InDesign
  21. 21. InDesign process Transform DITA content into “InDesign-friendly” XML via XSLT Flatten map files Resolve and flatten content references (conrefs) Modify structure of images and tables Control whitespace Do something about xrefs with InDesign scripts Set up template in InDesign Import modified XML into InDesign
  22. 22. InDesign challenges Extensive preprocessing Round-tripping Authoring Whitespace
  23. 23. Questions about InDesign?
  24. 24. Factors to consider Platform requirements Technical resources Typography requirements Velocity Volume Versioning
  25. 25. Questions