Customizing DITA-OT with plug-ins

You can install or create DITA-OT plug-ins to change the default output types in various ways, to add entirely new kinds of output formats, or to implement support for your DITA topic specializations.

Plug-in benefits

Plug-ins allow you to extend the toolkit in a way that is consistent, easy-to-share, and possible to preserve through toolkit upgrades.

The DITA-OT plug-in mechanism provides the following benefits:

  • Plug-ins can easily be shared with other users, teams, or companies. Typically, all users need to do is to unzip and run a single installation command. With many builds, even that installation step is automatic.
  • Plug-ins permit overrides or customizations to grow from simple to complex over time, with no increased complexity to the extension mechanism.
  • Plug-ins can be moved from version to version of the DITA-OT simply by reinstalling or copying the directory from one installation to another. There is no need to re-integrate code based on updates to the core processing of the DITA-OT.
  • Plug-ins can build upon each other. If you like a plug-in, simply install that plug-in, and then create your own plug-in that builds on top of it. The two plug-ins can then be distributed to your team as a unit, or you can share your own extensions with the original provider.

Plug-in structure

A plug-in consists of a directory, typically stored within the plugins/ directory inside of the DITA-OT. Every plug-in is controlled by a file named plugin.xml, which is located in the root directory of the plug-in.