Inserting JavaScript in generated HTML

JavaScript code can be bundled in a custom plug-in and automatically inserted into the generated HTML pages to enable web analytics or dynamic content delivery.

About this task

This scenario walks through the process of creating a very simple plug-in (com.example.html5-javascript) that creates a new transformation type: html5-javascript.

The html5-javascript transformation includes a custom page footer file with a JavaScript tracking snippet and sets the parameter to integrate the script content in the HTML5 <footer> element of the generated pages.

This example inserts a tracking snippet for Google Analytics, but the basic approach is the same for other analytics platforms or similar use cases that require custom JavaScript.


  1. In the plugins directory, create a directory named com.example.html5-javascript.
  2. In the new com.example.html5-javascript directory, create a plug-in configuration file (plugin.xml) that declares the new html5-javascript transformation and its dependencies.
    Figure 1. Sample plugin.xml file
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <?xml-model href="" type="application/relax-ng-compact-syntax"?>
    <plugin id="com.example.html5-javascript">
      <require plugin="org.dita.html5"/>
      <transtype name="html5-javascript" extends="html5" desc="HTML5 with embedded JavaScript"/>
      <feature extension="ant.import" file="build_html5-javascript.xml"/>
    This plug-in will extend the default HTML5 transformation, so the <require> element explicitly defines org.dita.html5 as a dependency.
  3. In the com.example.html5-javascript directory, create a subdirectory named include.
  4. In the new include subdirectory, create a file named with your custom JavaScript code.
    Figure 2. Sample file
    <!-- Google Analytics -->
    console.log('Adding Google Analytics tracker');
    (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),
    ga('create', 'UA-XXXXX-Y', 'auto');
    ga('send', 'pageview');
    <!-- End Google Analytics -->

    The division wrapper will be discarded when generating HTML files, and the contents will be inserted into the <footer> element of each page.

    The file contents must be well-formed XML. If your JavaScript snippets include attributes without values (such as the async script attribute), use valid XML syntax to define the empty attribute:

    Instead of:
      <script id="MathJax-script" async src=""></script>
      <script id="MathJax-script" async="" src=""></script>
  5. In the com.example.html5-javascript root directory, add an Ant script (build_html5-javascript.xml) to define the transformation type and set the path to the JavaScript footer file created in the previous step.
    Figure 3. Sample build file: build_html5-javascript.xml
    <?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
      <target name="dita2html5-javascript"
      <target name="dita2html5-javascript.init">
        <property name=""
    When defining the path to the footer file from the Ant script, use the plug-in directory property with the plugin-id as shown in the example above: ${dita.plugin.plugin-id.dir}.


The files for this sample plug-in are included in the DITA-OT installation directory under docsrc/samples/plugins/com.example.html5-javascript/ and on GitHub.

The plug-in directory has the following layout and files:

├── build_html5-javascript.xml
├── include
│   └──
└── plugin.xml

What to do next

  1. Use the dita install subcommand to install the plug-in.

    For more information, see Installing plug-ins.
  2. Build output with the new transformation type to verify that the plug-in works as intended.
    dita --input=my.ditamap --format=html5-javascript
  3. Open one of the generated HTML topic files in a modern web browser and check the JavaScript Console. When the page is loaded, Adding Google Analytics tracker will appear on the console to verify that the sample script is loaded.
  4. Remove the console.log debugging message from the sample JavaScript code, and replace the 'UA-XXXXX-Y' placeholder string with the tracking ID of the Google Analytics property you wish to track.
This example places the JavaScript code in the page footer to ensure that page display is not delayed while the script is loaded. If your JavaScript code supports pre-loading and your application targets modern browsers that recognize the async script attribute, you may prefer to insert the JavaScript snippet in the <head> element of the generated HTML files using the args.hdf parameter instead.