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DITA for Print

Cover of DITA for Print, linked to larger image
DITA for Print: A DITA Open Toolkit Workbook
by Leigh W. White. $35.95 (print) $24.95 (Ebook).

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As DITA has become more and more popular, demand has increased for tools that can produce high quality PDFs from DITA content. The DITA Open Toolkit provides a basic PDF capability, but nearly any real-world application will require customization. Leigh White’s new book, DITA for Print, takes you through the process of building a print customization plugin for the DITA Open Toolkit that will give you control over your PDF output.

DITA for Print is for anybody who wants to learn how to create PDFs using the DITA Open Toolkit without learning everything there is to know about XSL-FO, XSLT, or XPath, or even about the DITA Open Toolkit itself. DITA for Print is written for non-programmers, by a non-programmer, and although it is written for people who have a good understanding of the DITA standard, you don’t need a technical background to get custom PDFs up and running quickly.

Inside the Book

  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Custom PDF plugin creation
    • What is a PDF plugin and why do you need one?
    • Organization of the orgditapdf2 plugin
    • DITA Open Toolkit 1.5 and earlier
    • Exercise: Download and install the DITA Open Toolkit
    • Exercise: Create your own PDF plugin
    • Exercise: Integrate your plugin into the DITA-OT
    • Exercise: Add an attribute set file to your plugin
    • Exercise: Add an XSLT stylesheet to your plugin
    • Exercise: Add a localization variable file to your plugin
  • Chapter 3: DITA Open Toolkit builds
    • What is an ANT build file?
    • Exercise: Create an ANT build file
    • Exercise: Run an ANT build file (Windows)
    • Exercise: Run an ANT build file (Mac, Linux)
    • Exercise: Create a batch file to launch an ANT build (Windows)
    • Exercise: Create a shell file to launch an ANT build (Mac, Linux)
    • Exercise: Test your plugin
    • Exercise: Use a specific PDF renderer
  • Chapter 4: Fonts
    • About fonts in the PDF plugin
    • Exercise: Select basic fonts for your plugin
  • Chapter 5: Attribute sets
    • What are attribute set files?
    • How attribute set defaults work
    • Special attributes for XEP, Antenna House, and FOP
    • Basic-settings variables in attribute sets
    • Exercise: Create a new attribute set
    • Exercise: Call a new attribute set
    • Exercise: Conditionalize an attribute set
  • Chapter 6: Localization variables
    • What are localization variables?
    • Literal characters and numeric character references
  • Chapter 7: Page masters
    • Page masters and regions in the PDF plugin
    • Default page masters, regions and attribute sets
    • Exercise: Set up double-sided pagination
    • Exercise: Set page dimensions
    • Exercise: Set page margins
    • Exercise: Set up body regions
    • Exercise: Set up header and footer regions
    • Exercise: Set margins for the front cover page
  • Chapter 8: Page headers and footers
    • About headers and footers
    • PDF plugin defaults for headers and footers
    • Where does header and footer information come from?
    • Metadata variables for headers and footers
    • DITA element classes
    • Header setup
      • Exercise: Set up headers that include external files
      • Exercise: Set up headers that include boilerplate text
      • Exercise: Set up headers that include generated text
      • Adding information from the map to headers
      • Exercise: Create metadata variables for headers and footers
      • Exercise: Add fallback header and footer variables to the localization variables file
      • Exercise: Set up headers that include map metadata
    • Footer setup
      • Exercise: Set up footers
      • Exercise: Create new header and footer definitions
      • Exercise: Add chapter, appendix, or part numbers to page numbers
      • Exercise: Restart page numbering in each chapter, appendix or part
      • Header and footer formatting
      • Exercise: Set top and bottom margins for headers and footers
      • Exercise: Set left and right margins for headers and footers
      • Exercise: Format the appearance of headers and footers
      • Exercise: Justify elements of a header or footer
      • Exercise: Add space around a header or footer image
  • Chapter 9: Cover pages
    • Front cover customization
      • Exercise: Add bookmap information to the front cover
      • Exercise: Format information on the cover page
      • Exercise: Place cover page information in a specific location
    • Back cover creation and customization
      • Back cover workflow steps
      • Exercise: Create and call a back cover template
      • Exercise: Create back cover page sequence
      • Exercise: Add back cover page master attribute sets
      • Exercise: Add content to the back cover
      • Exercise: Format content on the back cover
  • Chapter 10: Titles, body text, and notes
    • Title formatting
      • How topic title attribute sets work
      • Exercise: Format topic titles
      • Exercise: Format section titles
      • Exercise: Format chapter, appendix, or part titles
      • Exercise: Format the chapter, appendix, or part autonumber
      • Exercise: Change the chapter number label and format
      • Exercise: Put the chapter, appendix or part label, number, and title on the same line
    • Text formatting
      • Formatting body text
      • Exercise: Set body font sizes
      • Exercise: Format code samples and messages
      • Exercise: Set the default line height
      • Exercise: Format trademark, registered trademark, service mark, and copyright symbols
    • Notes formatting
      • Exercise: Format note labels
      • Exercise: Change the label for a note type
      • Exercise: Delete the label for a note type
      • Exercise: Change or delete note icons
      • Exercise: Format note text
      • Exercise: Add left and right borders to notes
      • Exercise: Use a custom label for other-type notes
  • Chapter 11: Lists
    • Hints on working with list-related attribute sets
    • Exercise: Create multiple bullet formats for unordered lists
    • Exercise: Create multiple numbering formats for ordered lists
    • Exercise: Create a checklist
  • Chapter 12: Task topics
    • Task step formatting tips
    • Exercise: Change the label for optional steps
    • Exercise: Change labels for task sections
    • Exercise: Format task section labels and text
    • Exercise: Format step and substep numbers
  • Chapter 13: Tables
    • Table border overrides
    • Exercise: Force table column widths to be respected
    • Exercise: Change or delete the label for a table title
    • Exercise: Format the table heading row
    • Exercise: Format table cell text
    • Exercise: Format table rules
    • Exercise: Format the table title
    • Exercise: Place titles below tables
    • Exercise: Add chapter, appendix or part numbers to table titles
  • Chapter 14: Images
    • Exercise: Change or delete the label for a figure title
    • Exercise: Format figure titles
    • Exercise: Add chapter, appendix or part numbers to figure titles
    • Exercise: Place titles above images
    • Exercise: Dynamically scale images to the page width
    • Exercise: Change the default alignment for all images
  • Chapter 15: Related links, cross-references, and footnotes
    • General links and cross-references
      • Exercise: Change the format of cross-references
      • Exercise: Change the on-page text for related links
    • Related links
      • Exercise: Include related links in a PDF
      • Exercise: Change or delete the ìRelated Linksî label
      • Exercise: Add a divider above the ìRelated Linksî section
      • Exercise: Change the format of related links
    • Footnotes
      • Exercise: Change the appearance of footnote text and callouts
      • Exercise: Change the footnote separator line
      • Exercise: Add brackets around footnote callouts
  • Chapter 16: Table of Contents
    • How TOC attribute sets interact
    • Title levels in bookmaps and ditamaps
    • Exercise: Add a TOC to a PDF
    • Exercise: Change the title of the TOC
    • Exercise: Format the TOC title
    • Exercise: Add or remove entry levels from the TOC
    • Exercise: Apply different formatting to different TOC entry levels
    • Exercise: Format page numbers in the TOC
    • Exercise: Add chapter, appendix or part number to TOC page numbers
    • Exercise: Change the leader in TOC entries
    • Exercise: Remove leaders from TOC entries
    • Exercise: Adjust indents for TOC entries
  • Chapter 17: Index
    • Index entry levels
    • Exercise: Add an index to your PDF
    • Exercise: Change the title of the index
    • Exercise: Format the index title
    • Exercise: Format index letter headings
    • Exercise: Format index entries
    • Exercise: Format index page numbers
    • Exercise: Adjust indents for index entries
  • Chapter 18: List of Tables and List of Figures
  • Chapter 19: Bookmarks

About the Author

Leigh White is a DITA Specialist for Ixiasoft. Starting out as a technical writer and moving into information architecture, she has been working with DITA since 2008, developing standards, workflows, and publishing tools for groups in both the software and hardware sectors. One of her primary interests is exploring ways that small technical publication groups on a budget can leverage tools and improve processes to raise their efficiency, increase their offerings, and save their sanity. She advocates that effective technical communicators need to be more than writers; they need to be part programmer, part designer, and part project manager, and she hopes this book is a helpful step in that direction.

Leigh has spoken on XML, DITA, content management systems, content conversion, and taxonomies at a number of conferences, including Intelligent Content, Lavacon, the STC Summit, and DITA Netherlands. She has also presented hands-on “DITA In a Day” workshops to STC chapters in several cities. When she is not parked in front of a computer, Leigh enjoys reading, running, hiking, photography, woodworking, and motorcycles.

Book Extras

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