Evaluating the DITA Open Toolkit (Full Easy Install)

The most common scenario for first users of the DITA Open Toolkit is to evaluate how it functions. Previous versions of the Toolkit required a number of preliminary installation steps for components necessary both to run the base function and to show off additional output capabilities. For each release since DITA-OT 1.4.2, three versions of the Toolkit are available: the minimal package (contains core function only), standard package (minimal plus docs and demos), and a "full easy install package" that basically installs everything you need to enable quick and easy evaluation of the Toolkit. This topic deals with installing and using the full easy install package for the first time.

Note: This topic explains how to use the Full Easy Install on Windows; the three versions are also available on all other supported platforms. For a description of all packages available, see What packages are available for the DITA Open Toolkit at dita.xml.org.

Unzip or extract the "full_easy_install" zip file to a convenient directory, such as your c: drive's root directory. The package will create a directory such as C:\DITA-OT-1.5.1\ that contains not only the usual Toolkit materials but also all the run-time components needed to run the Toolkit in a basic evaluation mode.

Browse over to this new directory and double-click on the "startcmd.bat" file in that directory. A new "command shell" window will open up, with the environment variables already set to enable the Toolkit to run within that shell.

At the command prompt (usually c:\DITA-OT1.5.2\ for this version), type "ant samples.web -f build_demo.xml". After a series of processing messages, there should be a new out\ directory in the DITA-OT1.5.2\ directory that contains a folder with the resulting HTML output in it. Congratulations on creating your first example of DITA output!

Now try the full set of transforms from a single command: "ant all -f build_demo.xml". This command will process DITA samples in the toolkit into many of the supported output types for the Toolkit. After a much longer flurry of messages, the out\ directory should have a number of folders in it, each with several deliverables produced by the Toolkit demos. If you happen to have the Microsoft HTMLHelp Workshop or the JavaHelp toolset installed for other work you have done with User Assistance, you might even get ready-to use CHM and JavaHelp output files. By comparing the outputs with the various source materials in the distribution, you can get an idea about how the processing works. That explanation is best found in the DITA Open Toolkit User Guide and at the DITA-OT Focus Area at http://dita.xml.org .

Demo targets

Here are the individual demo targets that you can try while evaluating the DITA Open Toolkit. Note that most are subcomponents of larger operations--you can use any of these individually. Earlier releases also contained demo targets for building the DITA 1.1 Language Specification, but that was removed in DITA-OT 1.5.2 because it was superseded by the DITA 1.2 specification.

 all                             Build all output
 clean                           Delete all output
   clean.demo                      Remove the demo output
     clean.demo.book                 Remove the book demo output
     clean.demo.elementref           Remove the Element Reference demo output
     clean.demo.enote                Remove the eNote demo output
     clean.demo.faq                  Remove the FAQ demo output
   clean.doc                       Remove the documentation output
     clean.doc.articles              Delete the articles directory in doc.
   clean.docbook                   Remove the docbook output
   clean.samples                   Remove the sample output
     clean.samples.eclipse           Remove the sample Eclipse output
     clean.samples.htmlhelp          Remove the sample HTMLHelp output
     clean.samples.javahelp          Remove the sample JavaHelp output
     clean.samples.pdf               Remove the sample PDF output
     clean.samples.web               Remove the sample web output
 demo                            Build the demos
   demo.book                       Build the book demo
   demo.elementref                 Build the element reference demo
   demo.enote                      Build the eNote demo
   demo.faq                        Build the FAQ demo
 doc                             Build the documentation
   doc.articles.chm                Build the articles of dita as document.
   doc.articles.pdf                Build the articles of dita as document.
   doc.articles.web                Build the articles of dita as document.
 docbook                         Transform the samples to DocBook
 prompt                          Prompt to build anything
 samples                         Build the sample output
   samples.eclipse                 Build the samples for Eclipse
   samples.htmlhelp                Build the samples for HTMLHelp
   samples.javahelp                Build the samples for JavaHelp
   samples.pdf                     Build the samples as PDF
   samples.troff                   Build the samples as troff
   samples.web                     Build the samples for the web

If you do not specify a target for build_demo.xml, the default target is prompt.

You can also try your hand at modifying some of the sample scripts in the ant directory. These represent the kind of driver files that you would create for your own projects. You can easily adapt these to process your own test DITA files, for example. Call the other ant samples after this example:

c:\DITA-OT1.5.2>ant -f samples/ant_sample/sample_xhtml.xml

(This is basically the same as running ant samples.web -f build_demo.xml, but intended for you to modify.)

You will find the output for this exercise in the samples/ant_sample/ directory itself. You can add parameters to the sample_xhtml.xml file to change where your outputs end up, and also to modify the build process in other ways. See the documentation for Ant parameters to learn more about processing options.