Are there guidelines for documenting element and attribute specializations in DITA?

Yes, guidelines for documenting element and attribute specializations in DITA are essential for maintaining consistency and ensuring that content authors can understand and use custom elements and attributes effectively. Here’s how organizations can establish these guidelines:

1. Element and Attribute Descriptions: Document a clear and concise description of the custom element or attribute, including its purpose and usage. This description helps content authors understand the specialization’s intent.

2. Syntax and Structure: Define the syntax and structure of the element or attribute. This includes specifying any required and optional elements or attributes within the specialization, as well as how they should be structured within the content.

3. Attributes and Values: If the specialization includes attributes, document the attributes and their allowable values. Explain how to use these attributes and provide examples of their usage when relevant.

4. Usage Examples: Include practical usage examples of the element or attribute within DITA topics. These examples help content authors visualize how to use the specialization in their documentation.

5. Customization Instructions: If the organization allows customization of the specialization, provide instructions on how to modify or extend the specialization. Include information on when customization is appropriate and any best practices for doing so.

6. Cross-References: Ensure that the documentation cross-references relevant information. For instance, if the specialization interacts with specific transformation scenarios or stylesheets, provide references to the relevant documentation for those components.

7. Compliance and Validation: Explain how the specialization fits into the organization’s compliance and validation processes. This can include information on how to ensure that content using the specialization is compliant with organizational standards.

8. Version and Change History: Include version information and a change history to track updates and revisions to the specialization documentation. This helps content authors understand when and how the specialization guidelines have evolved.

Establishing these guidelines for documenting element and attribute specializations in DITA is crucial for maintaining clarity, consistency, and usability of customizations. It ensures that content authors have the necessary information to work with specialized elements and attributes effectively.


<!-- Example of documentation for a custom DITA element specialization -->
    A custom element for describing specialized content in DITA documents.
        Specifies the type of the custom element.
      <title>Example 1</title>
        <element type="info">
    Provide customization instructions here if applicable.