PDF plug-in structure

In cases that require substantial customizations, it is often useful to organize the files in a folder structure that mimics the hierarchy of the default PDF plug-in.

Note: For simpler customizations, you may want to structure your plug-in differently, but the information in this topic may help you to locate the files you need to customize.

The original Idiom plug-in used its own extension mechanism to provide overrides to the PDF transformation. With this approach, a dedicated Customization folder within the plug-in was used as a customization layer to store files that override the default behavior.

While this method is no longer recommended, the same organization principles can be used in custom PDF plug-ins to facilitate comparisons with the default settings in the base PDF plug-in and make it easier to migrate customizations to new toolkit versions.

Figure 1. Default Customization folder content
.
├── build.properties.orig
├── catalog.xml.orig
└── fo/
    ├── attrs/
    │   └── custom.xsl.orig
    └── xsl/
        └── custom.xsl.orig

To begin creating a new custom plug-in, you can copy the contents of the customization layer template in plugins/org.dita.pdf2/Customization to a new folder that will serve as your new custom plug-in folder, such as plugins/com.company.pdf.

To mimic the hierarchy of the default PDF plug-in, you may want to add a cfg/ subfolder and move the contents of the fo/ folder to cfg/fo/.

DITA-OT provides template files that you can start with throughout the Customization directory structure. These files end in the suffix .orig (for example, catalog.xml.orig). To enable these files, remove the .orig suffix from the copies in your new custom plug-in folder. (For example, rename catalog.xml.orig to catalog.xml).

You can then make modifications to the copy in your custom plug-in folder, and copy any other files from the default PDF plug-in that you need to override, such as the page layouts in layout-masters.xsl, or the font-mappings.xml file that tells your PDF renderer which fonts to use and where to find them.

Important: Wherever possible, avoid copying entire XSL files from the PDF2 plug-in to your custom plug-in. Instead, copy only the specific attribute sets and templates that you want to override. For details, see Best practices for custom plug-ins.

Things you can currently override include:

  • Custom XSL via xsl/custom.xsl and attrs/custom.xsl
  • Layout overrides via layout-masters.xsl
  • Font overrides via font-mappings.xml
  • Per-locale variable overrides via common/vars/[language].xml
  • I18N configuration via i18n/[language].xml
  • Index configuration via index/[language].xml

When customizing any of these areas, modify the relevant file(s) in your custom plug-in folder. Then, to enable the changes in the publishing process, you find the corresponding entry for each file you modified in the catalog.xml file.

It should look like this:

<!--uri name="cfg:fo/attrs/custom.xsl" uri="fo/attrs/custom.xsl"/-->

Remove the comment markers !-- and -- to enable the change:

<uri name="cfg:fo/attrs/custom.xsl" uri="fo/attrs/custom.xsl"/>

Your customization should now be enabled as part of the publishing process.

Figure 2. Sample custom plug-in structure
.
├── plugin.xml
├── ant-include.xml
└── cfg/
    ├── catalog.xml
    ├── common/
    │   ├── artwork/
    │   │   ├── logo.svg
    │   └── vars/
    │       ├── strings.xml
    │       ├── en.xml
    └── fo/
        ├── attrs/
        │   ├── custom.xsl
        ├── font-mappings.xml
        ├── layout-masters.xsl
        └── xsl/
            └── custom.xsl

When your custom plug-in is installed, the files in its subfolders will override the out-of-the-box settings from their counterparts in org.dita.pdf2/cfg/fo/attrs and org.dita.pdf2/xsl/fo.

The following topics describe the contents of the base PDF plug-in subfolders and provide additional information on customizing various aspects of the default PDF output.