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Build and Add Plugins 

Guidelines for building and adding plugins.
Creating plugins can make your publishing more flexible. These plugins can be standard DITA OT plugins or simple sets of ANT, CSS, javascript, XSLT, and DITAVal files. 

Key Points 

  • DITA Open Toolkits and plugins are stored separately on the server. This allows them to be mixed and matched when you Set up a Publishing Scenario.
  • Any plugins that have been selected for use will be temporarily moved into the DITA OT during the publishing process. They are moved back into their storage location after the process is complete.

Use Cases for Plugins 

There are four primary use cases for using DITA OT plugins in easyDITA:
  • Using a standard DITA OT plugin to extend or modify the DITA OT 
  • Adding custom CSS or XSLT to modify the styling of your output
  • Using a custom ANT file 
  • Adding DITAVal files to filter output
Plugins can be any combination of these cases. But it’s often best to separate them out into small pieces to allow them to be reused in various combinations.

Protyping Your Plugin 

DITA OT plugins can be protyped on a local instance of the DITA OT, then ZIP’ed and uploaded into easyDITA. When building a plugin, you should place your files in a directory in the plugins directory in the DITA OT. This is because easyDITA will take the plugin and move it into this directory while it’s running the publishing process. 
You should also place your source content in a directory parallel (next to) the DITA OT you’re using to test your plugin. This more closely represents the structure easyDITA will build at publish time.

How easyDITA Runs the Build 

It’s important to take into account that easyDITA is always going to pass a few parameters into the ANT build file. These parameters are:

ANT Parameter  Description 
dita.dir Absolute path to the DITA Open Toolkit that is being used.
args.input Absolute path to the source content being published. This is always in a directory tree completely removed from the DITA OT being run.
output.dir Absolute path to the directory easyDITA will place the published output.
dita.extname At the time of this writing, easyDITA sets the extname as the expect “.dita” extension. This may change in future releases.

If you’re developing a plugin with an ANT file that will be the build.xml file, it’s important that these values are passed along as is. easyDITA has a highly structured publishing environment and expects these values to be as it produces them.

Other ANT parameters can be set through configuration when you Set up a Publishing Scenario