1.1 About the DITA specification: Overview

The DITA specification is delivered in three editions that are optimized for different audiences. Each edition consists of a written specification, XML grammar files, and DITA source.


The DITA specification is delivered in three editions.

Block diagram illustrating the components of the three editions of the DITA specification, and the subset relationships between the three editions. The Base Edition ('Part 1') contains the Base Architecture, which includes map, topic, and subject scheme. The Technical Content Edition ('Part 2') contains the Base Architecture plus the Technical Content specializations, which include concept, task, reference, book map, glossary, classification map, machine industry, and troubleshooting. The All-Inclusive Edition ('Part 3') contains the Base Architecture, the Technical Content specializations, and the Learning and Training specializations.
Base edition
The base edition contains topic, map, and subject scheme map. It is the smallest edition; it is designed for application developers and users who need only the most fundamental pieces of the DITA framework.
Technical content edition
The technical content edition includes the base architecture and the specializations usually used by technical communicators: concept, task, and reference topics; machine industry task; troubleshooting topic; bookmap; glossaries; and classification map. It is the medium-sized edition; it is designed for authors who use information typing and document complex applications and devices, such as software, hardware, medical devices, machinery, and more.
All-inclusive edition
The all-inclusive edition contains the base architecture, the technical content pieces, and the learning and training specializations. It is the largest edition; it is designed for implementers who want all OASIS-approved specializations, as well as users who develop learning and training materials.

XML grammar files

The DITA markup for DITA vocabulary modules and DITA document types is available in several XML languages: RELAX NG (RNG), XML Document-Type Definitions (DTD), and W3C XML Schema (XSD).

While the files should define the same DITA elements, the RELAX NG grammars are normative if there is a discrepancy.

DITA written specification

The specification is written for implementers of the DITA standard, including tool developers and XML architects who develop specializations. The documentation contains several parts:

  • Introduction
  • Architectural specification
  • Language reference
  • Conformance statement
  • Appendices

The DITA written specification is available in the following formats; the XHTML version is authoritative:

  • XHTML (available from the OASIS Web site)
  • CHM
  • PDF
  • DITA source
  • ZIP of XHTML (optimized for local use)

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