Use Publishing Profiles to Produce Different Outputs Based on DITA Conditional Attributes

Today I want to tell you how DITAToo 1.6 helps you produce different outputs from the same DITA map based on conditional attributes.

Let’s suppose that I’m documenting a product that has different editions (say, Professional and Enterprise). Because the product can work on different operating systems (say, Windows and Linux), there’re slight variations in the functionality. To make things even more complicated, let’s imagine that the product documentation varies for different types of users (say, Users, Admins, and Developers), though 80% of the content is the same for all the audiences.

Of course, you know what it means from the DITA perspective. Chances are that you’ll want to use DITA conditional attributes, such as audience, product, and platform, to conditionalize content variations.

After the content is conditionalized, you’ll need to create multiple .ditaval files. In each .ditaval file, you’ll have to define which attribute values should be excluded from a particular deliverable. When you have many topics in which conditional attributes are set to different values, it might be a difficult task.

Look how I can do this with DITAToo. On the Projects tab, I select the project that contains topics with conditional content. I choose Project > Manage Project Publishing Profiles and get the Project Publishing Profiles dialog box.

DITAToo Publishing Profiles

A publishing profile is a set of attributes with values already defined. For example, you can create a profile for producing a deliverable intended for Developers of the Enterprise edition of the product on Windows. Then you can create another profile for Admins of the Professional edition of the product on Linux, and so on.

You can use the same profile for multiple outputs over and over again. Instead of manually selecting conditional values to be included into a deliverable, you’ll just select one of the existing profiles.

To create publishing profiles, I click Add New underneath the Publishing Profiles area. DITAToo looks through all topics in the project, finds all conditional attributes and their values used in these topics, and shows them in the Conditional Attributes area. This is how I know the attributes and values used in the project, which is already useful.

I can now select the values that I want to include into a deliverable, and DITAToo will save the selected values in the profile.

DITAToo Publishing Profile Settings

As you can see, I can create many different profiles. Each of them will have different conditional values selected.

When I’m ready to publish and choose Project > Publish, in the Publishing Wizard, DITAToo lets me decide whether I want to select conditional attribute values which I want to include manually, or use one of the profiles that I previously created.

Selecting Publishing Profile

For my convenience, DITAToo shows which values will be included and which of them will be excluded from the output. So always know what I can expect to get in the output.

DITAToo Publishing Profile Settings

In my next post, I’ll tell you how those users who want to publish outside of DITAToo (for example, using FrameMaker) can generate .ditaval files from publishing profiles.

Stay tuned!

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