DITA Musings – Part II

This is part II of the DITA Musings series. In this part, I want to discuss the DITA workflow I am experimenting with.

My DITA documentation workflow consists of the following components:

  • Syntext Serna Free XML Editor
  • WinANT Echidna
  • RoboHelp
DITA Workflow

Our DITA publishing workflow (I drew this diagram using Dia on an Ubuntu workstation)

Syntext Serna Free XML Editor 4.3

This is the authoring tool I use. Though it lacks a few DITA-related features, such as the exclusive DITA menu, it is still one of the best DITA editors out there. And it is open source.


The DITA Open Toolkit consists of Java-based software components, DTDs and schemas, style sheets, and build files that are required to implement DITA. It also has ANT for processing the build files and the Idiom plug-in and FOP for publishing maps and bookmaps in PDF format. DITA’s popularity may be attributed to the DITA OT; specifications are OK, but how can one implement them? The DITA OT provides the solution. Serna 4.3 uses DITA OT 1.4 and supports DITA 1.0 and DITA 1.1 specifications. I have also installed DITA OT 1.5.2 and use it for publishing. I have modified the style sheets to incorporate my organization’s formatting standards.

WinANT Echidna

It is a GUI-based DITA publishing tool. I use it to publish maps and bookmaps in HTML, HTML Help (CHM), and PDF formats. WinANT also makes conditional processing easy.

RoboHelp 2002

Thanks to my colleague, Muthu, we have found a way to generate WebHelp. As I have mentioned in DITA Musings – Part I, the project file (HHP) that is generated by WinANT is imported into RoboHelp and published as WebHelp.

Now, what is your DITA publishing workflow like? Please share.

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3 Responses to DITA Musings – Part II

  1. Muthusami S says:


    This post and the part I are really useful for those who want to get start with DITA. The workflow diagram is sweet and simple. When is the next post?

  2. Pingback: Free and Open Source Tech Comm Tools | The Technical Communication Blog

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