What is the role of DITA Open Toolkit (DITA-OT) in defense document publishing?

The DITA Open Toolkit (DITA-OT) plays a crucial role in defense document publishing by providing the necessary tools and processes to transform DITA XML source content into various output formats for distribution to end-users. It serves as a powerful engine for converting structured DITA content into formats like PDF, HTML, and more. Here’s how DITA-OT contributes to the defense document publishing process:

Transformation Engine

DITA-OT serves as a transformation engine that takes DITA XML source files, often organized in a DITA map, and applies transformation stylesheets and templates to generate output in different formats. For instance, DITA-OT can utilize XSL-FO stylesheets to produce PDF documents with specific formatting, page layouts, and pagination for defense manuals. Simultaneously, it can employ HTML5 and CSS stylesheets to create responsive HTML documentation for online consumption.

Customization and Styling

Defense organizations can customize DITA-OT to meet their specific publishing requirements. This includes defining and modifying stylesheets and templates to control the look and feel of the output documents. DITA-OT allows for extensive styling options, enabling organizations to adhere to branding guidelines and ensure that the published documents align with their visual identity. Customizations can encompass aspects such as fonts, colors, headers, footers, and more, ensuring that the final documents meet defense standards.


Here’s an example of how DITA-OT can be configured to generate PDF and HTML output from DITA source files:

$ dita-ot/bin/dita -f pdf -i path/to/dita-map.ditamap
$ dita-ot/bin/dita -f html -i path/to/dita-map.ditamap

In this example, the DITA-OT command-line tool is used to trigger the transformation process. By specifying the desired output format (“-f pdf” or “-f html”) and providing the path to the DITA map file (“-i path/to/dita-map.ditamap”), DITA-OT generates both PDF and HTML versions of the defense documentation from the DITA source content.