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(Typing "DITA" and "LaTeX" into Google is NSFW, but this is a genuine question!)

I'm a technical writer rather than coder, but I'd appreciate a coder's answer.

DITA is a maturing standard for modular technical writing. It seems to be gaining some popularly in the enterprise, but it's a bit hard to tell.

The DITA-OT's PDF rendering is well known for being underwhelming, and this seems to be a feature of the limited XSL-FO transforms. I think this is a big factor in DITA's (so far) low adoption.

I've used LaTeX via Org-mode, texinfo, LyX, etc., and these all produce lovely PDFs with the classy TeX look.

I'm wondering why no-one seems to have produced a DITA to PDF rendering via LaTeX. Maybe it's technically very difficult, or maybe no-one's thought of it. Neither of these seem all that likely.

Has any work been done on this? -- thanks

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jul 11 '12 at 11:11

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Welcome to TeX.sx! Your question was migrated here from Stack Overflow. Please register on this site, too, and make sure that both accounts are associated with each other (by using the same OpenID), otherwise you won't be able to comment on or accept answers or edit your question. –  Werner Jul 11 '12 at 13:49
I heard DITA for the first time today, seems to be interesting. But I would require LaTeX export in any case. –  Uwe Ziegenhagen Dec 28 '12 at 19:21

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I think the reason why there are not publicly available DITA to PDF conversion via LaTeX is that no one has needed to make one. Technically it should be equally easy as generating XSL FO and processing that. For example DocBook seems to have conversion to LaTeX.

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I'm a university lecturer -- now also programme director -- in engineering. For me TeX/LaTeX is still unbeatable for writing research papers etc., but DITA is the perfect medium for teaching materials in STEM subjects: it imposes a highly structured style which students need, and the range of online and print output media now available is amazing. DITA's adoption low? Over the time I've been watching, it's grown explosively.

Yes, TeX output would be nice, and early on I asked the same question. But if you're writing math, most browsers offer good MathML support and if the free FOP FO processor in the DITA Open Toolkit isn't up to TeX quality for PDF, you can buy a better one. Generally the PDF quality you get depends mainly on the stylesheets you use. Those in DITA OT are just demos, but Antenna House's free 'PDF5' stylesheets are fantastic, and I find XSL styles a lot easier to customise than TeX.

In short: you don't write the same things in DITA that you write in TeX and if you do, you really can get equally good PDF output by going beyond the Open Toolkit. Stick with it!

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