hard-drive DITA projects in Oxygen XML Editor

DITA is a power tool for technical writers who need to reuse content. Explore one popular DITA tool: Oxygen XML Editor.

For my DITA projects, I use the Oxygen editor. I wanted to learn more about how to use Oxygen, so I reached out to Radu Coravu. Radu is a DITA XML expert working for oXygen XML Editor. Radu's main focus is in the development of the visual XML Author editing environment and the specific-DITA support provided by oXygen. He provides support for complex integrations and helps steer the product in the right direction—all this with some development on the side.

I asked Radu about how technical writers use Oxygen to work on DITA projects:

Let's start with an introduction to DITA. What is DITA?

DITA XML (like any XML standard) is about single sourcing, using a single set of documents to produce various output formats.

In addition DITA XML comes with lots of reuse possibilities, starting from big reuse (producing documentation for similar products from the same set of XML documents) to reuse of topics and elements.

DITA projects can be quite large (thousands of topics). How can technical writers collaborate to work together on DITA projects?

We have quite a lot of clients (both small, medium and very big companies) which use Git with Oxygen to work and collaborate on documentation projects.

Using free Git platforms like GitHub or GitLab, you can create technical documentation projects, collaborate on them using the features that Git provides to create branches, see the history of resources, and manage conflicts.

For an overall organization and workflow on a technical documentation project for teams like this, this article might help: DITA For Small Technical Documentation Teams.

There are also plenty of commercial content management systems (many of which are integrated with Oxygen) which allow people to work and collaborate on a large technical documentation project.

What other kinds of projects can I manage with Oxygen?

Oxygen is a multi purpose XML editing tool. By default it comes bundled with support for XML vocabularies like DITA, DocBook, TEI, JATS or (X)HTML. But it can be customized to edit and validate any kind of XML vocabulary. We have clients who create XML vocabularies specific for their companies from the ground up, define their own elements, implement their own validation rules and create an Oxygen framework to visually edit such documents in the Oxygen Author visual editor using CSS to style the edited content.

Lately we also shifted some of our capabilities and added stronger support for other non-XML types, like support to edit and convert JSON documents, support to edit YAML configuration files.

I've only used Oxygen for DITA projects. What other cool features in Oxygen should I know about?

Oxygen has many strong points. For example, we provide support for the entire DITA XML specification along with special publishing plugins which allow you to produce quality online WebHelp and PDF outputs and to style these outputs using CSS. We even provide an online color themes/styles builder to customize the publishing styles

Oxygen allows defining custom validation rules using the Schematron standard which allow you to impose your own company specific restrictions.

We also provide lots of useful free add-ons, like an add-on for Terminology Checking or a Git client add-on for working with Git projects.

Thanks to Radu for this in-depth interview about Oxygen for technical writers. Oxygen is a multi-platform application (Windows, Mac, and Linux). You can download it from the Oxygen website and try it out with a 30-day trial license.