Can a DITA map contain both topics and other maps?

Yes, a DITA map can contain both topics and other maps, allowing for hierarchical organization and structuring of content. This enables complex information architectures and modular documentation development.

DITA maps are versatile containers that can include references to various types of content, such as topics and other maps. This hierarchical structuring of maps within maps is a fundamental feature of DITA, and it’s highly beneficial for managing complex documentation. This nesting capability allows content authors to create modular and reusable content structures.

For example, a DITA map might represent a chapter in a user manual and contain references to individual topics covering different sections of the chapter. Additionally, this chapter-level map could reference other sub-maps that provide more detailed subsections, effectively creating a structured hierarchy. This flexibility makes DITA maps a powerful tool for organizing and presenting information in a clear and efficient manner.

Example: Structuring a User Manual

An organization is structuring a user manual using nested DITA maps.

<!-- Main DITA Map -->
  <title>User Manual</title>
  <topicref href="introduction.dita"/>
  <topicref href="chapter1.ditamap"/>
  <topicref href="chapter2.ditamap"/>

In this example, the “User Manual” DITA map includes references to topics like “introduction.dita” and two sub-maps, “chapter1.ditamap” and “chapter2.ditamap.” These sub-maps, in turn, can contain more detailed topic references or even further sub-maps, creating a structured hierarchy for managing content at different levels of granularity within the documentation. This hierarchical approach enables efficient content reuse and management.