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DITA: Hello World getting started tutorial

This is a Hello World type of exercise where I show you how to get going with OxygenXML in the quickest way possible.

  1. Download OxygenXML.

    There are 3 flavors: Editor, Developer, and Author. Unless you intended to get heavy into XML development, just choose Author. The Developer and Author versions just provide different perspectives of the same application.

  2. Create a folder on your computer where you can easily organize and access your files.

    If you're on a Mac, I recommend that you use the /users/<username>/projects folder, since this is the default folder when you clone a repository.

  3. Go to File > New.
  4. Expand the Framework > DITA > topic and choose Topic.

    Once you choose a template here, your choices will appear under a "Recently Used" section so you don't have to browse so many folders next time.

  5. In either the Author or Text view, create some content. For example, if you're in the Text view, you might create this:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!DOCTYPE topic PUBLIC "-//OASIS//DTD DITA Topic//EN" "topic.dtd">
    <topic id="topic_vm3_v3z_bq">
      <title>Hello World</title>
        <p>This is my first help output. Hooray!!!</p>

    In either view, note how Oxygen will prompt you with options. In the Author view, hit your Return key to see a list of elements you can insert at a particular point.

  6. Save the file and called it hello_world.
  7. Go to File > New and expand the Framework > DITA Map > map, and choose DITA Map.
  8. Save the DITA map. Call it something like sample. Note that the extension will be .ditamap.
  9. In the DITA Map, add the bold text shown below (the rest should already be populated there):
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!DOCTYPE map PUBLIC "-//OASIS//DTD DITA Map//EN" "map.dtd">
     <title>DITA Topic Map</title>
     <topicref href="hello_world.dita"/>

    Note that once you save your DITA map file, when you type href=", the editor will show you available topics within the folder.

  10. While viewing your DITA map file, right-click the tab and choose Open in DITA Maps Manager View.

    The map will open in a left side pane in the DITA Maps Manager view. This view makes it easy to jump around to various topics in your help system.

    In the DITA Maps Manager view, click the wrench icon (Configure Transformation Scenario(s)).

  11. Select DITA Map Webhelp, and then click Apply Associated.

    On subsequent builds, you can just click the red triangle (Apply Transformation Scenarios) to the left of the Configure Transformation Scenario(s) button. This button will apply whatever selections you have set in the Configure Transformation Scenario(s) dialog.

    Congratulations. You should see a sample webhelp output as shown below.

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

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