DITA topics with Oxygen XML Editor
DITA makes topic based authoring easier. Create your first DITA topic using Oxygen XML Editor.
Oxygen XML Editor is a powerful cross platform tool to manage and edit XML based projects, such as projects using DITA. While Oxygen is flexible and provides many options to create and modify DITA topics, I find the tool has a few usaiblity quirks that make it difficult for first time users. Here is my workflow to create a new DITA topic using Oxygen:
Oxygen provides several paths to create a new DITA file. Using the File > New menu action will get you there, as will clicking the "empty document" icon on the toolbar. But I find either of those options requires you to pay close attention to where the new file will be created. This is okay as a quick shortcut to create another file in the same folder where you're already working, but it can be a pain if you need to create a new DITA file in a specific folder.
Instead, I prefer to right-click on a folder, and click New > File to start working on a new file. Oxygen supports editing many different file types; to create a DITA file, navigate to DITA then click Topics then Concept. Enter the new topic's title and make sure the suggested filename makes sense in your project.
DITA is just XML with a well defined structure, such as paragraphs, bold, italics, tables, and other common formatting and data. So the editor will look a little plain, with fields for the title, short description, and body.
When editing DITA, you will focus on the content not the presentation - save the "how it looks" until the end, when you transform your content into some kind of output, such as a PDF file or a website.
Using "Author" mode is usually the easiest option, but if you feel brave, you can click on the "Text" mode to view and edit the raw XML of your DITA file.
Oxygen makes working with DITA a much easier process. Use this as a "quick start" guide to help you learn this professional technical writing tool.