Use the generic topic structure for untyped topics.
The <dita> element provides a top-level container
for multiple topics when you create documents using the ditabase document
type. The <dita> element lets you create any sequence
of concept, task, and reference topics, and the ditabase document type lets
you further nest these topic types inside each other. The <dita>
element has no particular output implications; it simply allows you to create
multiple topics of different types at the same level in a single document.
The <topic> element is the top-level DITA
element for a single-subject topic or article. Other top-level DITA elements
that are more content-specific are <concept>, <task>,
The <title> element contains a heading or
label for the main parts of a topic, including the topic as a whole, its sections
and examples, and its labelled content, such as figures and tables.
The alternate title element (<titlealts>)
is optional, but can occur after the topic title. Two elements can be inserted
as sub-elements of <titlealts>: navigation title <navtitle>
and search title <searchtitle>.
The navigation title (<navtitle>) element
is one of a set of alternate titles that can be included inside the <titlealts>
element. This navigation title may differ from the first level heading that
shows in the main browser window. Use <navtitle> when
the actual title of the topic isn't appropriate for use in navigation panes
or online contents (for example, because the actual title is too long).
When your DITA topic is transformed to XHTML, the <searchtitle>
element is used to create a title element at the top of the resulting HTML
file. This title is normally used in search result summaries by some search
engines, such as that in Eclipse (http://eclipse.org); if not set, the XHTML's
title element defaults to the source topic's title content (which may not
be as well optimized for search summaries)
The short description (<shortdesc>) element
occurs between the topic title and the topic body, as the initial paragraph-like
content of a topic. The short description, which represents the purpose or
theme of the topic, is also intended to be used as a link preview and for
The <body> element is the container for the
main content of a <topic>.
The <section> element represents an organizational
division in a topic. Sections are used to organize subsets of information
that are directly related to the topic. For example, the titles Reference
Syntax, Example and Properties might represent section-level
discourse within a topic about a command-line process—the content in each
section relates uniquely to the subject of that topic. Multiple sections within
a single topic do not represent a hierarchy, but rather peer divisions of
that topic. Sections cannot be nested. A section may have an optional title.
The <example> element is a section with the
specific role of containing examples that illustrate or support the current
topic. The <example> element has the same content model
The related information links of a topic (<related-links>
element) are stored in a special section following the body of the topic.
After a topic is processed into it final output form, the related links are
usually displayed at the end of the topic, although some Web-based help systems
might display them in a separate navigation frame.
OASIS DITA Language Specification v1.0 -- 09 May 2005
Copyright (c) OASIS Open 2005. All Rights Reserved.