Fundamentals of DITA Open Toolkit 2.X

Who should attend this course?

Nearly all DITA content management systems and editors use the DITA Open Toolkit to publish output. This toolkit is, as the name implies, a flexible platform with which to build one’s own preferred output styles and tailored format. Yet, Open Toolkit configuration is seen as an esoteric task, for specialists only. This course is an accessible, insightful introduction to DITA-OT programming. It is intended for two primary roles: developers or authors who need to maintain publishing stylesheets; and technically-minded team leaders. You should be comfortable with markup languages such as DITA and HTML, and have some experience of CSS and simple coding.

Duration 2 Days
Price Call for details
Location Mekon House, Sutton, London, SM1 1JN, UK, or at your premises.


For those who need to maintain and extend their organization’s publishing stylesheets, the course enables you to perform simple customizations to output such as changing fonts and colours, and provides a sound grounding in the DITA-OT framework to prepare you for further learning and more complex development tasks in the future.

For technically-minded team leaders who need to co-ordinate DITA-OT development work, the course gives you valuable insight into the structure and assumptions of the DITA-OT, so that you know:

  • Which tasks require most development effort than others, and why
  • What are some sensible approaches to common development requirements, and what approaches should you avoid?
  • What do your DITA-OT developers mean when they talk about XSL templates? String variables? Attribute sets?

The course is based on DITA-OT version 2, which offers major improvements in developer efficiency and performance, and is being adopted by the major DITA tool vendors. Nevertheless, the course provides much valuable information that applies to all versions of the DITA-OT.

Length of course

2 Days

Contact us for a quote

+44 (0)20 8722 8400 Enquiry form

Course outline

Summary of topics

  • Programming Skills Needed (ANT, XSLT, XSLT-FO, CSS)
  • Architecture (ANT, build files, plugins)
  • XHTML pipeline & modifying output (XSLT, CSS)
  • PDF pipeline & modifying output (XSL-FO)
  • Scoping and Planning Development Projects

Day One

  • Introduction to DOT skills, versions, and installation
  • Overview of the DOT including output types, architecture, languages, configuring, extending and customizing the DOT
  • Customizing the DOT covering extension points, parameters, creating new plugins and coding conventions and limitations
  • An introduction to ANT, XSLT and CSS programming required for the DOT
  • A hands-on look at the XHTML plugin pipeline

Day Two

  • A practical, hands-on, exploration of the PDF plugin pipeline including an introduction to XSL-FO, PDF Rendering Engines, Process Flow, Fonts, Page Layout, Headers and Footers, Cover Pages, Bookmap, Chapter and Topic Processing
  • Project planning including complexity, scoping, best practice, testing and resources

Contact us for a quote

+44 (0)20 8722 8400 Enquiry form