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From Ross Gardler <>
Subject Re: DITA plugin
Date Thu, 31 Mar 2005 09:54:41 GMT
Jeff Levitt wrote:
> Hi all, 
> I am new to this list.  I am a Derby contributor, and
> I wanted to see if I could help out with Ross's Jira
> issue:

:-)) That issue was created because I say a discussion that about Derby 
needing DITA sources. I'm glad to see you here, we know Forrest but I 
don't think anyone here knows DITA.

> I created the DITA docs that Derby is using for
> documentation, and since we use Forrest for our site,
> it would be nice if we could throw our XML DITA files
> into directories within our xdocs/ directory and get a
> working site with html output in there using the DITA
> toolkit.
> Basically, all the DITA toolkit does is use xsl
> transforms with ant to build html or PDF (with FOP). 

Forrest works by on a pipeline process. You start with an input format, 
this gets transformed into our internal format which is then converted 
to out output formats.

We have this intermediate step so that we only need to maintain one set 
of output XSL's.

Right now our internal format is called XDoc, however we plan to move to 
a subset of XHTML2 in the next release. XDoc is pretty much XHTML2 
anyway at this stage.

In order to have Forrest generate the "decorations" on a page 
(navigation, logo's search box etc.) we need to convert your DITA 
documents into our internal format.

Since there is a toolkit that provides DITA->HTML and we have a 
stylesheet that converts HTML->XDoc we would be best to go that route.

 > There is a preprocessing step to fix related links and
 > linking etc.

This could be a concern, although we can do preprocessing too. Can you 
explain a little more about what this preproccesing step is and what it 

 > So in my research of Forrest, it seems I would have to
 > follow this process to get a transform to work with
 > DITA's xsl files:

This is a way of overriding behaviour on a per-site basis. However, 
since DITA is a format that other projects are likely to use we would be 
better off cresting an input plugin. The process is very similar, but 
there is an automated distribution and installation process for plugins.

Plugins are not in 0.6, but the framework has been stable for a while 
now, and will be in the imminent 0.7 release. You can see some users 
docs for plugins at:

Some developer background at

and some docs on how to make a plugin at:

> Is there anyone who would like to work on this with me
> who might know a lot more about modifying the xmap
> files to accept new xsl files?  I figure it might be
> easier to share my DITA toolkit knowledge with someone
> more familiar with Forrest, and together we can get
> the right xsl files in the right places and allow for
> preprocessing and full transform of the DITA source in
> a Forrest site build.

Lets go...

First off, a few questions:

- what stylesheets are used to create the HTML output at present
- what are the processing steps to create HTML at present
- can you make available some of the output of the existing process


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