The type attribute

Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) Version 1.3 Part 2: Technical Content Edition

version
1.3
author
OASIS DITA Technical Committee

The type attribute is used on linking elements to describe the target of a cross-reference. It also is used on the note element to describe the note type, as well as on several other elements for varying purposes.

The descriptions for the type attribute on linking elements and on note are included in this section; for other elements, such as audience, copyright, and object, the description can be found with the topic for the specific element.

Using type on a linking element

The type attribute describes the target of a cross-reference and might 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 give an error message, and MAY recover from this error condition by using the type attribute value. During output processing for references to non-DITA objects (that is, either scope is “external" 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 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 can be an unqualified local name (for example, "fig") or a qualified name exactly as specified in the class attribute (for example, "mymodule/mytype"). Processors might ignore qualified names or consider only the local name.

For example, if the value is set to type="topic", the link could be to a generic topic, or any specialization of topic, including concept, task, and reference. Applications MAY 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:

fig
Indicates a link to a figure.
table
Indicates a link to a table.
li
Indicates a link to an ordered list item.
fn
Indicates a link to a footnote.
section
Indicates a link to a section.

Other values thatcan be used on any linking element include:

concept, task, reference, topic
Cross-reference to a topic type.
(no value)
The processor should retrieve the actual type from the target if available. If the type cannot be determined, the default should be treated as "topic".
-dita-use-conref-target
See Using the -dita-use-conref-target value for more information.

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 might require the creation of processing overrides.

Using type in a note element

In a note element, this defines the type of note. For example, if the note is a tip, the word Tip might be used to draw the reader's attention to it. The values danger, warning, and notice have meanings that are based on ANSI Z535 and ISO 3864 regulations.

If type is set to "other", the value of the othertype attribute can 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:

note
This is just a note.
attention
Please pay extra attention to this note.
caution
Care is required when proceeding.
danger
Important! Be aware of this before doing anything else. When used with the hazardstatement element, this indicates an imminently hazardous situation which, if not avoided, will result in death or serious injury.
fastpath
This note will speed you on your way.
important
This note is important.
notice
Indicates a potential situation which, if not avoided, might result in an undesirable result or state.
remember
Don't forget to do what this note says.
restriction
You can't do what this note says.
tip
This is a fine little tip.
warning
Indicates a potentially hazardous situation. When used with the hazardstatement element, this indicates a situation which, if not avoided, could result in death or serious injury.
trouble
Provides information about how to remedy a trouble situation.
other
This is something other than a normal note.
-dita-use-conref-target
See Using the -dita-use-conref-target value for more information.