Last updated January 16, 2010 22:40, by eric_armstrong

DITA Publishing using DreamWeaver Templates

The RUDI production system for DITA makes it easier to generate sophisticated HTML pages for DITA output. It includes:

  • A separation of look-and-feel design-time activities from production-system coding activities that allows designers to build and test using DreamWeaver templates, while the production system merges content into them with minimal transformations.
  • The efficiency of dependency-driven builds. (Down the road a ways, but planned.)

This system does not replace the DITA Open Toolkit (DITA-OT), but rather augments it by adding post-processing steps that eliminate the need to customize the OT for HTML output (a somewhat tricky process that needs to be re-integrated into each new release of the OT).

Instead, with this system:

  • DreamWeaver templates encode frames, styles, and javascript components.
  • The DITA-OT generates standard, minimal HTML.
  • XML transforms extract content from the generated HTML and merge into the appropriate locations of a DreamWeaver template.

Thereafter, if the look and feel of the template is modified in a DreamWeaver site, the change automatically affects all pages based on that template.


  • For PDF customizations, you could either customize the DITA-OT or investigate tools that convert HTML pages into PDFs in the same way that HTML pages can be converted into context-sensitive help (using AirHelp, for example).
  • Eventually, this system needs to integrated be integrated with Claude Vedovini's open DITA Platform (aka "DITA open platform"), to create a system that allows for online editing of reusable DITA documents, in a way that makes it relatively easy to select from a set of pre-defined templates, customize them at will, and update pages efficiently as changes are made.
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