Publishing from DITAToo through DITA OT version 1.6

As you know, DITA Open Toolkit (DITA OT) version 1.6 has significantly improved the overall performance, especially when publishing large documents. The Release Notes for DITA OT 1.6 state that “building the DITA 1.2 Language Specification to XHTML takes just over 1/3 of the time as with the previous release (tests show an improvement of 288%).

So it makes a lot of sense to begin using DITA OT 1.6 with DITAToo. The only problem is that in DITA OT 1.6, some system variables which were previously used by DITAToo to run the DITA OT’s publishing, have changed. As a result, if you try to publish a project from within DITAToo via DITA OT 1.6, the publishing will fail (with earlier versions of DITA OT, publishing works like a charm).

We are definitely going to address this issue in the next release of DITAToo. At the same time, we realize that many of you want to start using DITA OT 1.6 right away, without having to wait for the next release of DITAToo.

To let you use DITAToo with DITA OT 1.6 right now, here’re several simple steps that you need to do:

  1. Right-click on My Computer.
  2. From the context menu, select Properties. The System window is displayed.
  3. If you are using Windows 7, on the left sidebar, under Control Panel Home, click Advanced system settings. If you are using Windows XP, click the Advanced tab.
  4. On the Advanced tab, click Environment Variables… The Environment Variables window is displayed.
  5. Under System Variables, click New. The New System Variable window is displayed.
  6. In the Variable name field, enter: A_DIR
  7. In the Variable value field, enter the full path to the DITA OT folder.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Under System Variables, click New. The New System Variable window is displayed.
  10. In the Variable name field, enter: CLASSPATH
  11. In the Variable value field, enter: %A_DIR%lib\commons-codec-1.4.jar;%A_DIR%lib\xercesImpl.jar;%A_DIR%lib\xml-apis.jar
  12. In the Environment Variables window, click OK.
  13. In the System Properties window, click OK.
  14. Restart the computer.
  15. Start DITAToo.
  16. On the DITAToo’s menubar, select Preferences > Settings…
  17. Click the Paths&Locations tab.
  18. In the DITA OT location field, specify the folder of DITA OT.
  19. Click OK.

That’s it! Now DITAToo is able to use the latest version of DITA OT for publishing. If something goes wrong, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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