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Subject: [dita] Clarification needed on attribute precedence when resolving key references

We’ve recently had a customer issue crop up related to handling of the @type attribute when resolving key references. I’m pretty sure we need to change our handling here, but I also think we implemented things according to the spirit of the spec, so I wanted to run this by the TC and get your thoughts.


The situation is that when you have an xref with a keyref that specifies a sub-topic element ID, should the effective @type attribute come from the key reference or the key definition?


<keydef keys=”footnotes” href="" type=”concept”/>


<xref keyref=”footnotes/fn1” type=”fn”/>


We’ve always taken the position that the key referencing element’s attributes take precedence over the key definition’s except for those related to the reference, specifically @href, @scope, @format, and @type. It’s pretty clear that the effective @scope and @format should always come from the key definition, but for @type it’s not quite so obvious.


I couldn’t find any specific language in the spec for anything besides @href, so I think this is something that we’ll need to clarify somehow. I think we’re going to modify our processing to have the key reference’s @type take precedence when a sub-topic ID is specified on the keyref. In the meantime I’d appreciate any thoughts.





Chris Nitchie
Senior Software Engineer

T 734.352.2879   F 734.997.0201
E cnitchie@ptc.com




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