The type attribute is most often used on linking elements to describe the target of a cross-reference. It is also used on the note element to describe the type of the current note, and on several other elements for varying purposes.
The type attribute describes the target of a cross-reference and may generate cross-reference text based on that description. Only the <xref> element can link to content below the topic level: other types of linking can target whole topics, but not parts of topics. Typically <xref> should also be limited to topic-level targets, unless the output is primarily print-oriented. Web-based referencing works best at the level of whole topics, rather than anchor locations within topics.
If not explicitly specified on an element, the type attribute value cascades from the closest ancestor element. If there is no explicit value for the type attribute on any ancestor, a default value of “topic” is used. During output processing for references to DITA topics (format="dita"), it is an error if the actual type of a DITA topic and the explicit, inherited, or default value for the type attribute are not the same as or a specialization of the type attribute value. In this case, an implementation may (but need not) give an error message, and may (but need not) recover from this error condition by using the type attribute value. During output processing for references to non-DITA objects (i.e., either scope is not “local” or format is neither “dita” nor “ditamap”) or other cases where the type of the referenced item cannot be determined from the item itself, the explicit, inherited, or default value for the type attribute is used without any validation. When a referencing element is first added to or updated in a document, DITA aware editors may, but are not required to, set the type attribute value based on the actual type of a referenced DITA topic.
If the type attribute is specified when referencing DITA content, it should match one of the values in the referenced element's class attribute. The type value may be an unqualified local name (e.g. "fig") or a qualified name exactly as specified in the class attribute (e.g., "mymodule/mytype"). Processors may ignore qualified names or may consider only the local name.
For example, if type="topic", the link could be to a generic topic, or any specialization of topic, including concept, task, and reference. Applications may, but need not, issue a warning when the specified or inherited type attribute value does not match the target (or a specialization ancestor of the target).
Some possible values for use on the xref element and its specializations include:
Other values that may be used on any linking element include:
Other values can be used to indicate other types of topics or elements as targets. Processing is only required to support the above list or specializations of types in that list. Supporting additional types as targets may require the creation of processing overrides.
In a note element, this defines the type of note. For example, if the note is a tip, the word Tip may be used to draw the reader's attention to it. The values danger, warning, and notice have new or additional meanings with DITA 1.2 that are based on ANSI Z535 and ISO 3864 regulations.
If type is set to other, the value of the othertype attribute may be used. If you use othertype, many processors will require additional information on how to process the value. Allowable values for the type attribute are:
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OASIS DITA Version 1.2 -- OASIS Standard, 1 December 2010
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