What's New in Oxygen XML Author 23.1

March 4, 2021

Related version: 23.0    

Version 23.1 of Oxygen XML Author expands upon the substantial list of features that were recently added in Version 23.0 with further improvements, along with various brand new enhancements, fixes, and updates.

Dealing with errors and warnings is easier now with the new functionality that allows you to ignore validation problems, option offered by Quick Fix actions available in various places where the validation issues are presented.

DITA users benefit of the updated DITA-OT engine, version 3.6, that provides reduced publishing times, a new refactoring action to generate unique IDs for specified elements and the DITA to PDF transformation now has the possibility of displaying SVG syntax diagrams in the PDF output. You can visually customize both the PDF and the web help HTML output using Oxygen Styles Basket, a free web-based visual tool that helps you fine-tune the CSS that is used by Oxygen PDF Chemistry to produce PDF or by Oxygen XML WebHelp to produce web help output.

The SharePoint integration in Oxygen (available in the Enteprise edition only) was redesigned to use the SharePoint REST API v2 to offer authentication using the OAuth protocol. This means that you now have access to a new SharePoint Online type of connection, the various UI components that display the connection details (SharePoint Browser View, Data Source Explorer View, and the Browse for Remote File mechanism in the Open URL dialog box) were redesigned for better consistency and productivity, and quick actions were added in the SharePoint Browser View to make it easier to connect.

Some of the most popular Oxygen add-ons continued to be improved between release cycles. The Git Client add-on is even more robust with additional actions and options, as well as various UI and performance enhancements. Various new conversion possibilities were added in the Batch Converter add-on (e.g. convert multiple Markdown/HTML headings into DITA maps with referenced topics), and the DITA References view add-on received various improvements.

Other highlights for this version include improvements to the shortcuts, they can now be assigned to show side-views contributed by plugins, editor variables can now be resolved in project resources created from a project template, and as always, this release includes new API methods, various bug fixes, and component updates.

The published WebHelp from DITA can be used together with the Oxygen Feedback 1.4 block-level comments functionality to form a flexible review solution, allowing users to add and manage comments contextually at a specific location within the WebHelp page where block elements appear. The Feedback Comments Manager plugin for Oxygen XML Author integrates also the block-level comments functionality, making it easier to locate the exact content source referenced by a particular comment and streamlines the process of making changes to the source document in response to the provided comments.

Some functionality available in Oxygen was made available for automation outside of Oxygen, for example in a continuous integration server, using a separate Oxygen Scripting license. Starting with version 23.1 you can take advantage of new command-line scripts for comparing files or directories and for executing XML refactoring operations. Also, the Batch Converter script now supports converting between JSON and YAML and various arguments were added to existing scripts to offer even more configuration options.

There are changes in:

DITA Authoring

Generate Unique IDs for Specified Elements

A new refactoring action (Generate IDs) was added for DITA users. It generates unique IDs for elements that are defined in the action's configuration dialog box. The action can be found in the XML Refactoring tool, as well as in the Refactoring submenu within the DITA Maps Manager's contextual menu. This is particularly useful in cases when you need specific DITA elements to have IDs set on them, for example if you want to take advantage of the Block-Level Comments functionality provided by Oxygen Feedback 1.4.

DITA Publishing

Publish RNG-based Topics Faster

The publishing speed for RNG-based DITA topics has increased considerably. The output is now generated faster, thus decreasing the time it takes to publish your content.

Display SVG Syntax Diagrams in PDF Output

The svg-syntaxdiagrams DITA-OT plugin is now supported, providing the means for SVG syntax diagrams to be rendered in the PDF output. To learn how to install the plugin and enable this support, see How to Use SVG Syntax Diagrams.

Component Update: DITA Open Toolkit 3.6

The DITA Open Toolkit version used for publishing DITA content was updated to 3.6. This provides access to parameters that help to reduce the publishing time.


Oxygen Styles Basket

The new Oxygen Styles Basket is a handy web-based visual tool that helps you to fine-tune the CSS file that is used to customize your PDF or WebHelp output. You simply pick and mix aspects from galleries to add and adjust the rules in your custom CSS file. Watch this video to see a quick overview of Oxygen Styles Basket.

Support for Custom CSS Properties

Custom CSS properties (also referred to as CSS variables) are now supported. They are user-defined CSS entities that contain specific values to be stored in one place, and then referenced (re-used) throughout a document.


Ignore Validation Problems

Validation problems that have an ID can now be ignored using new quick fix actions. Some of the details for this feature include:
  • You can activate/deactivate this feature in a new Ignored Validation Problems preferences page. The options page also includes a table that displays the problems that have been ignored and you have the option to restore a validation problem by removing it from the table.
  • For all validation problems that have an ID (error code), quick fix actions to ignore a problem in the current document or in all documents are included in the list of quick fix proposals.
  • The quick fix proposals are available when clicking the light bulb icon for the problem, when hovering over the problem in the editor, and from the context menu in the Results pane.
  • When you mark validation problems as ignored, they are no longer displayed in the editor pane. They are also marked with a gray color in the vertical stripe and Results view.
Ignore Validation Problems

Ignore Schematron Validation Problems

Validation problems that are reported when validating XML with a Schematron schema can also be ignored using the new quick fix actions. For the ignore validation problems proposals to be included in the list of quick fixes, the Schematron assert or report elements must have an ID.

Restore Ignored Validation Problems Directly in the Editor

Once a validation problem has been ignored (hence, it is added to the Ignored Problems Table), you can hover over its gray marker in the vertical ruler to access a Remove from ignored problems list quick fix link (instead of going to the preferences page to remove it). Clicking this link results in the problem being removed from the list and the problem will no longer be ignored. This quick fix is also available from the contextual menu in the Results pane.

Customize the Color of Fatal Validation Errors

The Document Validation preferences page now includes an option to customize the color of validation errors that are marked as fatal.

Option Added to Display Validation Problem IDs

You can select a new option called Include problem ID in description that appears in the settings drop-down menu of the Results view's toolbar to have the problem ID (as provided by the validation engine) shown in the Description column. It can be helpful when trying to debug validation issues.

Hide Ignored Validation Problems

A new toggle option (Show Ignored Problems) was added to the Settings drop-down menu in the Results view. If you have ignored validation problems, you can deselect this option to hide the ignored problems.


HTML to XML Well-Formed Improvements

When HTML5 documents are converted to be XML well-formed, entity references that are allowed in the HTML5 specification are converted to the corresponding characters.


SharePoint Integration Redesigned to Use OAuth Protocol

Now Oxygen uses the OAuth protocol enabling you to perform the authentication in your web browser. Also, the SharePoint integration was redesigned to use the SharePoint REST API v2 (instead the deprecated SharePoint Web Services).
SharePoint Integration Redesigned to Use OAuth Protocol

SharePoint Online Connection Support

A new SharePoint Online type of connection was added in the database connection mechanism. This enables you to use OAuth support for connecting to your organization's SharePoint Online repository.

Easily Configure Your Connection Using Quick Actions in the SharePoint Browser View

Quick actions were added in the SharePoint Browser view to allow you to create and configure a SharePoint or SharePoint Online connection, or to quickly start the authentication process for an already configured connection.

Access Resources From a SharePoint Online Repository Using the Open URL Dialog Box

The Open URL dialog box now includes support for browsing a repository defined using the newly introduced SharePoint Online connection type.


Oxygen provides access to a variety of add-ons that extend the functionality of the application.

Git Client Improvements

Various improvements were made to the Git Client add-on:
  • Added an Abort merge button for when conflicts result after a Pull (merge) operation. It allows you to abort the current conflict resolution process.
  • Added a set of options in the Git Client preferences page that can be used to decide whether to always switch to a newly detected working copy from a project, to never switch, or to always ask.
  • Added a Preferences action in the Settings menu that acts as a shortcut to the Git Client preferences page.
  • The Git History view now includes a text filter field at the top that you can use to conduct searches (i.e. by Date, Author, or Commit ID).
  • Updated the JGit component to version 5.10.0.
  • Integrated numerous bug fixes, UI improvements, and speed improvements.

For a complete list of updates added in version 2.4.0 of the Git Client, see https://github.com/oxygenxml/oxygen-git-plugin/releases/tag/2.4.0.

Git Client Improvements

Batch Documents Converter Improvements

Various improvements were made to the Batch Documents Converter add-on:
  • New conversions were added for converting JSON to YAML, and vice versa.
  • Added a new option that allows you to convert Markdown or HTML documents with multiple headings into DITA maps with referenced DITA topics.
  • Added a new option that allows you to create DITA short description elements (<shortdesc>) in Markdown to DITA conversions.
  • Improved the Markdown to DITA conversion, allowing you to convert documents that start with a high heading level or increase the heading level with more than one unit.
  • Fixed some cases where Word to DITA and HTML to DITA conversions created a document without its root.
  • Fixed the escaping of invalid characters from the IDs of the topics in Word to DITA conversions.
  • The actions for batch converting between the various document types are now easier to access via an Additional conversions submenu located in File->Import, as well as an Import submenu located in the Append Child, Insert Before, and Insert After submenus and the contextual menu of the DITA Maps Manager.
Batch Documents Converter Improvements

DITA References View Improvements

Various improvements were made to the DITA References View add-on:
  • Added a new tab where incoming references are presented for the current DITA topic.
  • Added support for translating the view's user interface in English, German, French, Japanese, or Dutch.
  • Fixed various small bugs.
DITA References View Improvements

XSpec Helper View Add-on Now Bundles XSpec 2.0.7

The XSpec Helper View add-on was updated to include XSpec version 2.0.7.


The all platforms distribution of Oxygen is bundled with a scripts sub-folder that contains scripts for automating and running various utilities from a command line interface. To run any of these scripts, you are required to purchase a special scripting commercial license.

New Command-Line Script for Comparing Files

A new command-line script (compareFiles) is now available that can be used to compare two specified files in one of three available output formats. You can also add numerous options as arguments and filter the results according to your needs. For details, see Scripting Oxygen: Compare Files. Note that this script requires a special scripting commercial license.

New Command-Line Script for Comparing Directories

A new command-line script (compareDirs) is now available that can be used to compare two specified directories in one of six available output formats. You can also add numerous options as arguments and filter the results according to your needs. For details, see Scripting Oxygen: Compare Directories. Note that this script requires a special scripting commercial license.

New Command-Line Script for Running XML Refactoring Operations

A new command-line script is now available that can be used to execute XML Refactoring Operations. The xmlRefactoring script requires a special scripting commercial license and it helps to reduce the time and effort required to perform various structure management tasks.

Batch Convert JSON to YAML and YAML to JSON

The Batch Converter script (batchConverter) now supports converting multiple JSON documents to YAML or multiple YAML documents to JSON. For details, see the Oxygen Scripting: Batch Converter documentation topic.

Create a Short Description Element from First Paragraph when Batch Converting Markdown to DITA

A new argument (-csd) was added for the Batch Converter script. When set to true, it creates a short description element from the first paragraph before the headings.

Convert Sections into Separate Topics when Batch Converting Markdown or HTML to DITA

The argument (-ss) used for converting sections into separate topics in the Batch Converter script can now be applied on Markdown to DITA or HTML to DITA (previously, it was only available for Word to DITA conversions). When set to true, it converts multiple headings from a Markdown or HTML document into separate individual DITA topics that are also referenced in a newly created DITA map.

New Extended Version of the XML Instance Generator Script

The XML Instance Generator command-line script now has an extended version with additional arguments. For example, the -s argument can be used to specify an XML schema file to be used for the file generation, -r specifies the root element, -o specifies the output directory, -i specifies the number of XML files to be generated, and more.


Set Shortcuts to Show Side-Views Contributed by Plugins

In the Menu Shortcut Keys preferences page, shortcuts can now be assigned to the actions that show side-views contributed by plugins.

Resolve Editor Variables in Projects Created from Templates

Editor variables can now be resolved in project resources created from a project template (by default, the variables are not resolved). This feature can be activated using the expandEditorVariablesIncludeFilter property in the .properties file that corresponds to the project template. If a subset of the included resources needs to be excluded, the expandEditorVariablesIncludeFilter property can be used.

New Document Wizard Now Includes a "Popular" Category

The New Document wizard now includes a Popular category. It contains a collection of popular framework templates. This category can be customized using properties files for the framework templates.

Custom Frameworks Created With a Script Are Automatically Loaded

If you create a custom framework using an extension script, you no longer need to compile it. You just need to save the script inside the framework directory and Oxygen will automatically load it for you.

See History of Recently Closed Files in the "Switch Editor Tab" Dialog Box

You can now see the history of your recently closed files in the Switch editor tab dialog box. This feature allows you to switch to a particular editor tab by selecting it from a filterable list of currently open files, and it now also includes recently closed files.
See History of Recently Closed Files in the 'Switch Editor Tab' Dialog Box

Special Oxygen Distribution for Apple Silicon

An Oxygen distribution is available for macOS aarch64 (Apple Silicon). It does not have a Java runtime bundled. It requires OpenJDK (or similar) 11 - 15 for the macOS aarch64/ARM64 architecture to be installed. It is recommend to use Zulu JDK FX 11 or 15 for macOS ARM 64-bit (.dmg installer).


Remove Multiple Highlights at Once

The new AuthorHighlighter.removeHighlights(Highlight[]) API can be used to efficiently remove multiple user highlights at once.

Create a Process and Keep a Reference to It

The WorkspaceUtilities.createProcess(ProcessEventHandler, String, File, String, boolean) API method was added and can be used to start a process and keep a reference to it. This reference can later be used to stop the process.

Replace the URL Input Fields with Labels in the Diff Tool

Two new methods were added in the DiffAndMergeTools interface that can be used to replace the URL input fields at the top of each editor in the Diff tool with labels.
  • openDiffFilesApplication(String leftLabelText, URL leftURL, String rightLabelText, URL rightURL) - For 2-way comparisons.
  • openDiffFilesApplication(String leftLabelText, URL leftURL, String rightLabelText, URL rightURL, URL ancestorURL, boolean showAncestorURLPanel) - For 3-way comparisons. This method can also be used to choose whether or not to show the base URL.

Terms of Use Changes

DocBook WebHelp Classic with Feedback Transformation Deprecated

The DocBook Webhelp Classic with Feedback transformation scenario is now deprecated. WebHelp Classic for DocBook can now be integrated with the new Oxygen Feedback commenting platform instead.

API Method 'createXQueryUpdateTrasformer' Removed

The XMLUtilAccess.createXQueryUpdateTransformer method was removed due to licensing limitations. This means that it is no longer possible to create XQuery update transformers from third-party add-ons.

Component Updates

Apache Commons Codec 1.14

Updated the Apache Commons Codec library to version 1.14.

Apache Log4j 2.14

Updated the Apache Log4j library to version 2.14.

Calabash 1.2.5-99

Updated the Calabash engine to version 1.2.5-99.

Eclipse 4.18

Updated the Eclipse plugin to support version 4.18.

Everit 1.12.2

The Everit library was updated to version 1.12.2.

JSON-Java 20201115

Updated the JSON-Java (org.json) library to version 20201115.

JAXB 2.3.3

Updated the Java Architecture for XML Binding library to version 2.3.3.

Saxon XSLT and XQuery Transformer Add-on and 10.3

Updated the 9.9 version of the Saxon transformer add-on to support Saxon version and the 10.x version to support 10.3.

Java Native Access Libraries (JNA) 5.7.0

Updated the bundled Java Native Access (JNA) libraries to version 5.7.0.