More on DITA Typesetting with FOP, OT & Oxygen

Just completed my planned additions to DITA Typesetting with Oxygen XML Editor. This article now covers the following aspects of creating PDF output using Oxygen and its included open-source packages, Apache FOP and DITA Open Toolkit:

  • Support for bookmap metadata, or lack thereof
  • Using OpenType fonts with PostScript outlines
  • Incorporating PDF files as images in documents
  • Automatic hyphenation and the soft hyphen trick
  • Customizing DITA XSLT attributes for text layout…
  • …with special consideration of definition lists

As promised, I uploaded a copy of my attribute customization file as an example, and I also recreated the Tektosyne User’s Guide with these customizations. Overall I think the quality is now acceptable for basic technical documentation, but it took quite an effort to get there – despite the helpful integration and documentation offered by Oxygen.

Some of the defects in FOP and DITA OT are rather shocking, considering the age and prominence of these projects. I expected a fairly laborious customization, but not whoppers like having to manually convert popular fonts, or book metadata being supported only for obsolete DITA versions. I got the impression that there are too few active maintainers who operate without any clear plans and goals. Why aren’t Adobe and IBM providing better support for these projects which directly benefit their own babies, PS/PDF and DITA?

Note: The new tool chain triggered a rendering bug in Foxit Reader 5.1 concerning embedded PDF images. I recommend using Adobe Reader or other third-party readers.

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