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Subject: separation of DITA architecture and DITA topic types

Esteemed DITA TC:

At the last meeting, we thought there might be value of separating the articulation of the general DITA architectural principles from the characteristics of the DITA topic elements.

As promised, here's a strawman. It can certainly bear refinement to increase the precision but, I hope, makes a start on the separation.


Erik Hennum

The DITA Architecture

The key principles of the DITA architecture are as follows:

Content granularity -- Content is organized in self-contained objects that are assembled through containment or by reference into larger and more complex structures.

Strongly typed content -- Content objects are differentiated by class based on well-defined semantics and structure.

Type specialization -- Extensibility is supported through definition of a new element type as both a semantic restriction and structural subset of a base element type such that the new element type is processable by default as the base element type.

Unified type hierarchy -- A set of shared element types provides a base from which all other element types are specialized and to which all other element types can revert.

Type module pluggability -- Element types are collected in type modules that integrate as vocabularies for resue of types and processing.

Separation of interpretation from content -- Presentation or other interpretations of content are applied by processes.

Separation of context from content -- Collection-specific relationships between content and properties of content are specified separately from the content objects with references to the content objects.

The DITA Topic Type Hierarchy

The DITA topic type hierarchy uses the DITA architecture to address the problem space of human-readable content with topic granularity. The DITA topic type hierarchy provides the following:

* A base type module for topics and their content.

* Through specialization, some core topic types (including concept, reference, and task) and domain type modules (including highlighting, programming, software, and user interface).

* Through pluggable integration, the core vocabularies.

The topic type hierarchy adds the following principle to the principles of the DITA architecture:

Topic orientation - Discrete units of human readable content that cover a specific subject with a specific intent and that can be assembled by containment or reference into websites, help systems, books, specifications, and other information deliverables.

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