DITA Proposed Feature # 19

New general task type between topic and task.

Longer description

The purpose of the DITA Task topic type is to enable content creators to answer the question "How do I...?".

The topic type content model in DITA OASIS 1.0 imposes the task body content model:

This structure is suitable for most task types and specialised types consisting of one or more clearly defined steps. However, it does support the creation of tasks consisting of simply one or more figures and/or objects or block-level text and one or more figures and/or objects.

There seems to be popular support in the DITA TC for the creation of an additional topic type, which is more flexible than the current task topic type . However, there has been little discussion on the mailing list on detailed requirements.

The requirement was raised as a candidate for the DITA 1.1 release by Michael Priestley in: http://www.oasis-open.org/apps/org/workgroup/dita/email/archives/200503/msg00115.html


Major? - the addition of a new DTD impacts existing documentation and the OASIS DTD/schema packages.

Use Case

Specification and creation of a new DTD/schema based on the existing DITA task type with a relaxed body content model, between topic and task body models.

Technical Requirements

The feature entails:

Suppose, for example that a new element generic-task is introduced to generalize task. The content model is the same as for task except that the taskbody is replaced by a new element generic-taskbody. A sample proposed structure for generic-taskbody would be:

Body contents are the contents specified for the body element in the DITA language specification.


The feature involves the specification and implementation of the DTD/schema with accompanying documentation. Existing OASIS documents need to be updated.

The impact on transformations should be minimal as existing transformations exist for the elements of the new DTD. It is only the content model of the task topic type, which is being modified.


DITA users can create simple task topics consisting of a title and block content.

DITA users can document tasks in DITA, which already exist in their legacy documentation without work-arounds such as creating one-step procedures or adding padding text required by the current topic task type.

Users can still provide prerequisite, when to use, examples and what to do next information using the new task DTD.

Time Required

Specification, implementation and testing of DTD and schema - 2 days

Documentation - 1.5 days