Using DITA transforms

The core transforms of the DITA Toolkit represent an implementation of all processing defined by OASIS in the DITA specification.


A pre-process is done before the main transformation. The input of the pre-process is dita files (maps and topics) and the output of the pre-process is often referred to as "normalized" dita files. The pre-process stage resolves several common DITA behaviors, such as resolving conref attributes, resolving keyref values, and adding links based on the hierarchy and relationship tables in a map. The normalized dita files are in a temporary directory. Most DITA transforms should use this common pre-process setup.

Available core transforms

A core DITA transform is the basic set of templates that support all the elements of a topic. This set is the basis for the following processing of any specialized element. Core transforms handle one topic instance, or nested set of topics, at a time. The DITA Toolkit provides several core transforms:
DITA topic to XHTML page transform.
DITA topic or map to PDF, using XSL Formatting Objects
DITA topic or map to RTF; note that the output for RTF is more limited than for PDF, particularly for tables.
DITA topic to TROFF; complex table markup is not supported by the TROFF transform

Available special output formats

Additional map-driven tools support transforming sets of topics into special output formats, including:
map2eclipsehelp (map2elipse.xsl)
This transform generates table of content for help contents in Eclipse.
Web page (map2htmtoc.xsl)
This transform generates a set of web pages with an index page that is ready to place on a Web site.
map2htmlhelp (map2hhc.xsl map2hhp.xsl)
This transform generates hhc and hhp file for the compilation of Html Help.
map2javahelp (map2JavaHelpToc.xsl map2JavaHelpMap.xsl)
This transform generates table of content and jhm file for Java Help.

Invoke the complete transformation

The complete transformation including pre-process can be executed by an ant script. There are some examples of simple ant scripts in the directory samples/ant_sample. See Running Ant for more details about Ant processing.