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Subject: Initial draft of the technical content work product proposal for DITA 2.0


Here is my initial draft:

DITA 2.0 proposed feature #nn—Technical content work product

The technical content specializations will be moved to their own work product when DITA 2.0 is released

Date and version information

Bob Thomas
Previous versions

Original requirement or use case

Use case: Adding a new information type

The DITA TC approves the addition of a new techncial content informatin type for the semantic representation of process information during a time when there is no complelling reason to enhance DITA 2.0. The process information type can be added to technical content work product without waiting for DITA 2.1 to occur providing the grammar for the process information type is compatible with DITA 2.0

Use case: Adding a new element domain

The DITA TC approves the addition of a new element domain that models the semantics of documenting web application programming. The same benefits present in the new information type use case also apply here.

Proposed solution: Technical content specification

The Technical content specification would be contain the following sections:
  • Overview

  • Archictectural specification. The starting point for this would come from the DITA 1.3 specification, section 2.7 Technical content specialization.

  • Language specification. The starting point for this would come from the DITA 1.3 specification, section 3.10 Technical content elements.

The technical content work product would not include content models. Readers would need to examine the RNG grammar files which are normative.

Attribute descriptions would:

  • Define any attributes that are unique to an element or that have an overloaded meaning that differs from that of its specialization ancestors

  • List the attribute groups that are used

The technical content specification would have no cross-document linking to the DITA core specification nor would it repeat any of the core specification content.

Proposed solution: Technical content grammar files

The following would occur:
  • The rng/technicalContent and dtd/technicalContent grammar files would move to the technical content work product

  • The OASIS catalog declarations for those grammar files would move with the grammar files

There are no plans to migrate schema/technicalContent or schema-url/technicalContent. Those files would simply be removed from the DITA 2.0 grammar files structure.


Moving the technical content specializations into a separate work product has the following benefits:
  • The core DITA specification would be easier to maintain
  • It would no longer be necessary to have multiple editions of the DITA specification
  • Technical content grammar changes and additions would no longer need to be synchronized with updates to the DITA base
  • It would become clearer that DITA is more than just the technical content specializations

Technical requirements

The technical content specification must:
  1. Cover everything that is in sections 2.7 and 3.10 in the 1.3 specification.

  2. Include all relevant changes introduced by the DITA 2.0 core specification.

  3. Include all DITA 2.0 enhancements from the Technical Communications subcommittee that have been approved by the DITA TC.

The DITA Technical Communications subcommittee would be responsible for maintaining and revision the technical content work product given that all changes would be subject to approval by the DITA TC.

Backwards compatibility

There are no backward compatibility issues associated with this proposal.


Implementing this feature would have the following consequences:
Processing impact


Overall usability

Usability would be somewhat diminished because the technical content specification would have to be used in conjunction with the core specification to understand the complete context within which the technical content work product could be used.

Vendors of tools

Tools that include grammar files would need to include an package

DITA community-at-large

Information architects would need to be aware that technical content has moved into its own work product.

Best Regards,
Bob Thomas
+1 720 201 8260
Skype: bob.thomas.colorado
Instant messaging: Gmail chat (bob.thomas@tagsmiths.com) or Skype
Time zone: Mountain (GMT-7)

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