The DITA application pack that was previously available from Adobe Labs for use with FrameMaker 7.2 has now been rolled in to FrameMaker 8, enhanced to support Unicode and extended to generate a single compound FrameMaker document from a DITA map file.

This latter bit allows you to roll a DITA project into a standalone FrameMaker document, which you can save as a PDF file, for example.

This is all well and good, and was hinted at in various sneak peaks Adobe provided in advance, but there’s one big caveat that they’re not talking about much…

Installation Surprise #3: The version of the app pack included with FM8 doesn’t allow output (such as CHM or HTML) to be generated via the DITA Open Toolkit!

The User Guide dwells on this glaring omission for all of one line:

Note: The DITA application pack no longer supports the functionalities available through the use of the open toolkit (OT).

While it’s understandable that Adobe was not keen on supporting the complexities of DITA-OT configurations with myriad Ant versions, JDK installations and the slew of environment variables that need to be set just right for it all to work, this is certainly a step backwards from the freely available application pack, and hardly the integrated DITA authoring environment many had hoped FM8 might be.

Certainly plug-in authors will step up to the plate to fill this gap, but it would’ve been so much nicer out of the box — after all, it’s really only a batch file that gets called in the background.

Update [2007-08-02] This just in from Adobe:

DITA OT integration with FrameMaker 8 will be available as a web download from Adobe site in a few days.

Thanks, Vivek!

2007-08-31: The Adobe FrameMaker 8 Plug-in for DITA Open Toolkit is now available for download from Adobe at