DITA-related Tools

DITA Tools Mk. II

In addition to DITA-capable Component Content Management Systems (CCMSes) and DITA-optimized XML editors, there are various other tools available to help documentation teams and individual technical writers who are working with DITA. In the work I have done as a consultant for Yellow Pencil, I often find that organizations require more sophisticated output features than the DITA-OT natively offers, while others need localization tools designed to further reduce translation costs, as well as more DITA-specific utilities like xref-to-keyref converters, DITA-specific plug-ins and add-ons for those writing DITA content using FrameMaker, being able to track and produce publication metrics and more.

The following is an updated list of all of the DITA-related tools (not editors, not CMSes) I could find. This includes software that falls into the following categories:

  • Content Collaboration/Wiki
  • DITA Build Manager
  • DITA Conversion Tool
  • DITA Localization
  • DITA Metrics and Statistics
  • DITA Output/Processing
  • DITA Utility
  • FrameMaker DITA-related Plug-in
  • Information Modelling

All prices are in $US except where noted. Prices and product versions listed are current as of November 13, 2012.

Antenna House FormatterAntenna HouseDITA Output/FormattingVarious pricing options available, from Standalone ($1,250) to Server-based ($5,000 single processor, $4,000 per additional processor).6.1
"AH Formatter V6.1 now supports page layouts specified using either CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) or XSL - FO (Extensible Stylesheet Language - Formatting Objects) for formatting documents for PDF and print. In addition to the powerful formatting functions by using XSL-FO available with the V4.3, AH Formatter V6.1 has added the ability for formatting HTML and XML with CSS. AH Formatter V6.1 offers all the features (GUI, support for over 50 languages, PDF generation), W3C compliance, extensions, the significantly enhanced performance, unlimited document size and SVG support, vector support for EMF and WMF, new output capabilities through the new INX Creator Option and CGM Option, MathML native drawing, XSL Report Designer integration, support for SVG output by SVG Output Option, PANTONE® color support by PANTONE® Option and Web Interface for Formatter to support the use of XSL Formatter via the Internet, the two-pass formatting that makes it possible to format huge documents, high quality EPS embedding in PDF, the enhanced PDF features, AcroForms, PDF/A, PDF1.7, PostScript output, PDF Digital Signature and numerous other enhancements by AXF extension. New to AH Formatter is the XPS Output Option that enables the output of XPS (XML Paper Specification) files."
Antenna House FormatterAntenna HouseDITA Output/FormattingVarious pricing options available, from Standalone ($400) to Server-based ($2,000 single processor, $1,600 per additional processor).6.1
"AH Formatter V6.1 Lite is a lower priced version for those customers who produce smaller documents (under 300 pages) and don't need all the advanced features of the standard version. Lite offers the same GUI, speed, interfaces and graphic support but for less than one-third of the price. The Standalone and Server versions of Lite fits many of today's production requirements."
Apache FOPApacheDITA Output/FormattingFree, Open Source1.1
"Apache FOP (Formatting Objects Processor) is a print formatter driven by XSL formatting objects (XSL-FO) and an output independent formatter. It is a Java application that reads a formatting object (FO) tree and renders the resulting pages to a specified output. Output formats currently supported include PDF, PS, PCL, AFP, XML (area tree representation), Print, AWT and PNG, and to a lesser extent, RTF and TXT. The primary output target is PDF."
DITA AnonymizerSamalanderDITA UtilityFree (Part of Samalander Software Center)1.0.4
"DITA Anonymizer replaces all text and images in DITA-XML documentation with anonymized content. The resulting documentation has none of the original content. Great for creating demo documentation with all sensitive content removed."
DITA Backslash FixerSamalanderFrameMaker/DITA-relatedFree (Part of Samalander Software Center)1.0.8
"Backslash Fixer replaces all backslashes "\" in link paths with forward slashes "/". Useful when working with DITA cross-platform."
DITA for PublishersEliot KimberDITA Output/FormattingFree, Open Source0.9.18
"Provides general-purpose DITA map, topic, and domain specializations for the Publishing industry, as well as supporting processors (e.g., DITA Open Toolkit plugins) including EPUB and MOBI generation, HTML5 generation, and others."
DITA InPrintDITA InPrintDITA Output/FormattingNot published. Please contact sales@ditainprint.com for more information.N/A
"DITA InPrint solves a key challenge for organizations considering migrating their technical and business documentation to DITA: publishing documents that conform to corporate standards. DITA InPrint makes it easy for non-technical users to design publishing templates that conform to corporate standards. And it enables users to easily publish DITA XML content with those templates to fully styled Microsoft Word and PDF documents."
DITA MetricsSamalanderDITA Metrics and Statistics $333 CAD1.0.12
"Samalander DITA Metrics allows you to track and measure writer workload and content reuse while authoring DITA-XML without a Content Management System."
DITA Open ToolkitGitHubDITA Output/ProcessingFree, Open Source1.8
"The DITA Open Toolkit, or DITA-OT for short, is a set of Java-based, open source tools that provide processing for DITA maps and topic content. You can download the OT and install it for free on your computer to get started with topic-based writing and publishing."
DITA PackagerSamalanderDITA Utility $278 CAD1.0.8
"The Samalander DITA Packager is an easy way to create a self-contained package of documentation that can be copied or moved without breaking any links."
DITA White Space RemoverSamalanderFrameMaker DITA-related Plug-inFree1.0.8
"DITA Whitespace Remover finds leading whitespace on the lines of DITA-XML files and removes it. Useful if the whitespace is causing display errors or artifacts in an XML editor."
DITA Xref ManagerSamalanderDITA Utility $333 CAD1.0.0
"DITA Xref Manager allows technical writers to centrally manage their xrefs while working without a CMS. With just a few clicks you can redirect xrefs, assign keys, and monitor the state of links in an entire documentation suite on your local disk."
DITA2GoOmni SystemsDITA Conversion ToolBasic version is free, Premium subscription is $97 per seat per year; discounts apply for 5 licenses and aboveN/A
"DITA2Go is a Windows software tool that converts DITA content to these and other formats: HTML and XML (XHTML, Flat XML, DITA, and DocBook), Microsoft Word RTF (for Word 6, 97, 2000, XP, 2003, 2007, and 2010), On-line Help: Microsoft HTML Help, Eclipse Help, JavaHelp, Oracle Help for Java, WinHelp, OmniHelp, a browser-based Open Source cross-platform Help system (hosted on SourceForge)."
DITA-FMxLeximationFrameMaker DITA-related Plug-inIndividual license: $235, site license (up to 25 users) $3525
"Jointly produced by Leximation and Silicon Publishing, DITA-FMx is a set of plugins and structure applications that let you create and edit DITA XML files in FrameMaker. DITA-FMx provides a complete DITA authoring and publishing solution."
Ditaval File Generation UtilitySuite SolutionsDITA UtilityFreeN/A
"This utility parses all the DITA files referenced in a ditamap file (including all conrefs in any file) and gives a list of all conditional attribute values found in product, platform, audience and otherprops. Using this list, you can check that all the values are valid and that there are no mistaken values. You can then choose which attributes to include and exclude, and automatically generate a ditaval file."
Elkera XML Print for DITAElkeraDITA Output/FormattingNot published. Please contact pmeyer@elkera.com for more information.N/A
"Traditionally, XML based print publishing applications require a very high development effort. This has been a significant barrier to the use of structured content for smaller enterprises or content management teams. Elkera XML Print smashes this barrier. Using pre-developed style rules for DITA and other schema, Elkera XML Print makes it easier than ever for documentation managers to design and publish high quality documentation from XML content."
expeDITALearning by WroteContent Collaboration/WikiFree, Open SourceN/A
"This project defines a walk-up-and-use, wiki-like experience designed to encourage the widest possible deployment of basic DITA writing capability across new communities of users, whose requirements can help drive additional DITA tools and services."
Heartsome Translation StudioHeartsomeDITA LocalizationLite Edition: Free, Personal Edition: €298€ US$388, Professional Edition: €398€ US$518, Ultimate Edition: €598€ US$7888.2
"It is the first and only computer-aided translation (CAT) tool that is fashioned and developed entirely on latest open standards language technology:
- usage of XML Localisation Interchange File Format (XLIFF) as default file format
- usage of TMX (Translation Memory eXchange v1.4 and below), in translation memory database
- usage of SRX (Segmentation Rules eXchange v1.1 and below) for segmentation of filesusage
- usage of TBX (TermBase eXchange) in terminology database
- usage of UTF-8 (Unicode) for text encoding
- usage of ISO 639 for language codes and ISO 3166 for country codes.
Directly supporting a wide range of file formats: RTF, HTML, XML, DITA, Plain Text, Java Properties, PO, RC/ResX, FrameMaker MIF, SVG, Open Document (OpenOffice.org 2.x) and OpenOffice.org 1.x, Office 2003/2007 XML formats, Tagged RTF, Trados TTX (all versions of Trados) and Adobe InDesign CS2/CS3 INX, complete with full-featured SRX-compliant segmentation capability."
IBM Information Architecture WorkbenchIBMInformation ModellingFree7.1.5
"Information Architecture Workbench visually models human activity, supporting the rapid creation and analysis of DITA maps, HTA diagrams, roles and goals models and many more."
White Space RemoverSamalanderFrameMaker DITA-related Plug-inFree (Part of Samalander Software Center)1.0.2
"The Samalander MIF to DITAMAP module converts a FrameMaker .book MIF file into a DITAMAP."
MigrateStilo InternationalDITA Conversion ToolsNot published. Please contact migrate@stilo.com for more information.N/A
"Migrate is a cloud service that enables subject matter experts to automate the conversion of their content to DITA and Custom XML. It provides greater control over conversion quality, immediate turnaround times and operates on a low-cost, pay-as-you-use basis."
PTC Arbortext Advanced Print Publisher
DITA Output/Formatting
Please see PTC Website for more information.
"Advanced Print Publisher enables automatic publishing of complex documents without sacrificing quality. Best-in-class typographic capabilities coupled with powerful automation tools allow users to create DTP quality output in a server or desktop environment. Global language support allows multi-lingual formatting from a single template, reducing production costs. Interactive fine-tuning enables content and aesthetic changes to be made post-composition."
PTC Arbortext Publishing Engine **
DITA Output/Formatting
Please see PTC Website for more information.
"PTC Arbortext Publishing Engine is a server-based system that manages content flow and delivers high-quality, consistent product and service information throughout the product lifecycle. This publishing engine can intelligently aggregate, profile and assemble content automatically to provide accurate, relevant product and service information. Publishing can be done to one or many media, such as Web, interactive and page-based formats. PTC Arbortext Publishing Engine produces on-demand, updated publications across all of your target media including HTML for Web, EPUB or Help delivery, page-based formats such as PDF and PostScript and also Microsoft Word."
PTC Arbortext Styler **
Stylesheet Development
Please see PTC Website for more information.
"PTC Arbortext Styler gives stylesheet developers the power to create and maintain XML-based stylesheets for automated publishing without the need for specialized programming skills. Users can create a single source of style which supports multiple output types. Stylesheets are used by PTC Arbortext Publishing Engine to publish XML content to HTML and Web pages, print or PDF, EPUB, HTML Help and Microsoft Word."
RenderX XEP EngineRenderXDITA Output/FormattingMultiple options available, ranging from single seat licenses to server-based licensing. See their published price list for more information.4x
"At the heart of each RenderX publishing solution is RenderX XEP Engine. XEP is built around the mature, high-quality formatting kernel developed by RenderX and which has passed many years of deployment in a wide range of environments. XEP is continually improved in the quality of formatting, standards' conformance, support for advanced features and in compliance to strict requirements to the formatted output of print-ready materials."
Samalander Software CenterSamalanderDITA Conversion Tool"Free, includes a one month trial of all our modules".N/A
"The Samalander Software Center is a suite of software products designed for technical writers authoring in DITA-XML. Its focus is managing documentation in in a file system, making it ideal for small teams that want to avoid high costs."
SDL Trados Studio 2011SDLDITA LocalizationVarious pricing options available, see their price list for more information.SDL Trados Studio 2014
"SDL Trados Studio, market-leading translation software, provides a range of sophisticated features to help you not only work more easily but also up to 20% faster* than previous versions of SDL Trados. Translation memory (TM) is at the heart of SDL Trados Studio and works by recycling previously translated content so that you can complete translations projects more quickly while maintaining high quality."
SQUIDDS DITA PackageSQUIDDSFrameMaker DITA-related Plug-inNot published. Contact Squidds for more information.N/A
"The DITA Package® is a comprehensive package that includes all the tools required for a lean DITA workflow through to a print ready book. Create DITA documents with Adobe FrameMaker®10, the user-friendly XML editor. At the same time profit from the improved DITA application for Adobe FrameMaker®10 and the multilingual templates. The much requested DITA Services take care of extensive publications. The prepared files are published, in a single step, by WebWorks ePublisher as PDF, online help such as Java or EclipseHelp, REVERB or as a Wiki."
SuiteHelpSuite SolutionsDITA Output/ConversionCost: Several licensing options available. Contact solutions@suite-sol.com for more information.3.1
"The next generation of online help has arrived with SuiteHelp. This modern cross-platform mobile optimized webhelp framework allows you to leverage the latest web standards such as HTML5 and responsive design to deliver your DITA XML content."
SuiteShareSuite SolutionsDITA Output/ConversionCost: Several licensing options available. Contact solutions@suite-sol.com for more information.
"Facilitate quick and easy access to contextually relevant information on any device. Enable audience participation. Build a customer-centered community around your products. SuiteShare supports DITA as a native format, so there is no need to convert your DITA or other XML content to HTML before submitting to the knowledgebase. Simply upload a zip file containing your maps and topics, or integrate with you CMS."
Swordfish Translation EditorMaxprogramsDITA LocalizationSeveral licensing options available. See their price list for more information.Swordfish III
"Swordfish III is an advanced CAT (Computer Aided Translation) tool based on XLIFF 1.2 open standard, designed for demanding professional translators."
WinANTHyperWriteDITA Build ManagerFreeN/A
"WinANT allows a user to select build characteristics using normal Windows interface devices such as dropdown lists, radio buttons, tabs and browse buttons. When all the required settings are in place, the program creates the Ant build file, creates a ditaval file (if required), creates a batch file, and then executes the batch file to trigger the Ant build. When Ant has finished the processing, WinANT displays the generated output file. The settings can be saved (as a build file) and later recalled."
xDoc Converter DesktopCambridgeDocsDITA Conversion ToolNot published. Please contact info@docscience.com for more information.3.0
"The xDoc Converter Desktop is a point-and-click application designed to make the process of transforming your legacy content into "meaningful XML" simpler. Any XML schema or DTD can be specified as the output, and multiple source formats can be consolidated into a single XML stream. With the xDoc Converter Desktop, you can manage your conversion project without writing custom code OR manually converting documents."
XMLmind DITA ConverterXMLmindDITA Output/ConversionFree *2.5
"Out of the box, XMLmind DITA Converter (ditac for short) allows to convert the most complex DITA 1.0, 1.1 or 1.2 documents to production-quality XHTML 1.0, XHTML 1.1, HTML 4.01, XHTML 5, Web Help, Java™ Help, HTML Help, Eclipse Help, EPUB 2, EPUB 3, PDF, PostScript®, RTF (can be opened in Word 2000+), WordprocessingML (can be opened in Word 2003+), Office Open XML (.docx, can be opened in Word 2007+), OpenDocument (.odt, can be opened in OpenOffice/LibreOffice 2+)."
XTM CloudXTM InternationalDITA LocalizationDifferent rates available depending on the number of licenses. See their price list for more information.N/A
"XTM Cloud is a translation tool for a new age of translators and LSP's - an online CAT tool to rival desktop solutions. XTM Cloud enables freelancers to use cutting edge translation technology at a competitive price. It scales perfectly allowing teams to work together and build a powerful workflow. With translation workflow management, easy to use CAT tools and best in class file filters, XTM Cloud is a true independent alternative to other available products."

* But designed to integrated with XMLmind’s commercial products

As you can see there are a number of additional tools over those from the last survey, (including Elkera XML Print for DITA, DITA Anonymizer, and DITA Xref Manager, which was covered in a product preview piece a couple of days ago) and even a few that have been dropped, as Samalander concentrates on fewer key products that are in demand.

* Designed to be integrated with XMLmind’s commercial products
** Works with the Arbortext CMS

This is a work in progress, as I am sure there are people out there who have run into tools and tool categories I haven’t even thought of. If so, please let me know in the forum below!

(Update, November 15, 2013: A big thank you to Julio Vazquez whose eagle eyes picked out a few things I had missed, and which are now corrected.


"DITAWriter" is Keith Schengili-Roberts. I work for IXIASOFT as a DITA Specialist/Information Architect. And I like to write about DITA and the technical writing community. To get ahold of me you can email me at: keith@ditawriter.com.

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