Using DITA for publishing documentation in Eclipse Help format

Alexej Spas DITA blog

Blog about DITA and Eclipse tool for it

This article discusses main challenges that documentation team faces when it decides to use DITA as a source format for Eclipse Help documentation. It also explains how DITAworks documentation tool plans to address these challenges.

About Eclipse Help

The Eclipse Platform includes its own help system based on an XML table of contents referencing HTML files.  This is a standard way to document Eclipse-based software products.

But eclipse help format is not reduced to usages inside of Eclipse platform only. It is available as standalone server solution and can be used for providing ANY help content via Web server. Eclipse help system provides such important functions like navigation through TOCs, search, indexing, bookmarking and s.o.

When Eclipse help is used for documentation of Eclipse-based software it allows much more sophisticated mechanisms for context-dependent help definitions like: search expressions, contexts, so called cheat sheets and s.o.

Additionally, due to component-oriented architecture of Eclipse, Eclipse help is structured in form of plugins that can be independently deployed and interlinked. This enables creation of scalable documentation that fits to complex product configurations.

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