In Arbortext, xrefs, related links, and images should default to relative paths for DITA projects regardless of folder location. This will allow for linking across folders in a complex DITA project, a common architecture for large companies like Oracle. Currently, Arbortext only supports relative paths immediately down to subfolders or from within a current folder.
The DITA Open Toolkit, the reference implementation for DITA, supports linking across folders via relative paths as long as a project root map is located above the multi-folder architecture. Arbortext should support the default implementation for folders and relative paths in DITA without need for further editor customization.
Relative paths is the default behavior for oXygen. To change this behavior in oXygen requires configuration. In the vast majority of cases, the default of relative paths works.
When Oracle moves acquisitions off oXygen to Arbortext, the loss of relative paths is a major pain point and criticism of Arbortext, requiring author intervention to fix thousands of newly created links.
I have entered an SR and was told that I should log this enhancement request as the product is working as designed.
According to feedback we have received, we will now have to build a customization for a feature that most people would consider basic functionality in a content authoring tool, requiring further unanticipated time and expense that will take us away from other critical priorities. This unexpected missing functionality has exposed our migration projects to considerable criticism from managers who would prefer to work with oXygen as a technically superior tool.
Until relative paths are fully supported in Arbortext, I will not be able to recommend it as a viable authoring tool in DITA projects compared to competitive alternatives like oXygen that work out of the box for complex, multi-folder DITA projects. Otherwise, I prefer Arbortext's DITA Application as a UI, but relative path construction is essential, technical functionality for our projects.