The RUDI production system for DITA makes it easier to generate sophisticated HTML pages for DITA output. It includes:
- A better way to do XML transforms that combines the power of Ruby with the economy of XSL templates.
- 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:
- 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.