<body>: What constitutes the primary content within a DITA topic’s <body> element, and how should it be organized?

The <body> element in DITA XML constitutes the primary content area within a DITA topic, where the detailed information, instructions, or explanations are presented. Organizing the content within the <body> element is essential for clarity and comprehension. Here, we’ll explore what should be included in the <body> element and how it should be structured.

Content within <body>

The <body> element should contain the core content of the DITA topic. This typically includes:

  • Explanations: Detailed information, explanations, or instructions related to the topic.
  • Examples: Illustrative examples, code snippets, or visual aids that support the topic’s content.
  • Graphics: Relevant images, diagrams, charts, or tables to enhance understanding.
  • Links: Hyperlinks to related topics or external resources for further exploration.

Structuring the <body> Content

It’s important to organize the content within the <body> element logically. This can be achieved through:

  • Headings and Subheadings: Use <h2>, <h3>, etc., for headings to create a hierarchy of information.
  • Lists: Employ <ul> (unordered lists) and <ol> (ordered lists) for presenting items in a structured manner.
  • Paragraphs: Use <p> tags for regular text paragraphs to maintain readability.
  • Tables: Utilize <table> elements for tabular data if applicable.


Here’s an example of how content can be structured within the <body> element of a DITA topic:

<topic id="body_example">
  <title>Creating a User Account</title>
    <p>This topic explains the steps to create a user account on our platform.

<h2>Prerequisites</h2> <ul> <li>Valid email address.</li> <li>Access to the internet.</li> </ul> <h2>Steps</h2> <ol> <li>Visit our website.</li> <li>Click the 'Sign Up' button.</li> <li>Fill in the required information.</li> <li>Click 'Submit' to create your account.</li> </ol> <h2>Example</h2> <pre> <code> <html> <body> <p>This is an example of creating a user account using HTML forms.

<form> <!-- Form fields here --> </form> </body> </html> </code> </pre> </body>

In this example, the <body> element contains sections with headings, lists, paragraphs, and an example code snippet, providing a structured and informative presentation of the topic.