How are elements and attributes defined in DITA XML?

In DITA XML, elements and attributes are defined to create structured and semantically meaningful content.

Elements in DITA XML:

Definition: Elements are the fundamental building blocks of DITA XML documents. Each element represents a specific type of content, such as paragraphs, headings, lists, tables, and more.

Purpose: Elements define the structure and organization of the content within a DITA topic. They give meaning and context to the content.

Usage: Elements are used to format and structure the content within the <body> of a DITA topic. They indicate the type of content and its role within the document.

Attributes in DITA XML:

Definition: Attributes are properties or characteristics associated with DITA elements. They provide additional information about the element, such as metadata or specific formatting instructions.

Purpose: Attributes add context and metadata to elements, making content more informative and enabling content management and customization.

Usage: Attributes are specified within element tags and are used to convey information about the content. They are often used to capture metadata, audience information, conditional processing, or customization instructions.


This DITA document represents a product description. It contains a simple DITA element (<p> for paragraphs) with attributes:

<productDescription audience="customers" status="published">
    <title>Product Features</title>
        <p>Introducing our latest product, the XYZ Widget.</p>
        <p>This widget offers the following features:</p>
            <li>High-resolution display</li>
            <li>Wireless connectivity</li>
            <li>Long-lasting battery</li>

In this example, <productDescription> is the root element, indicating the start of a DITA topic.

<p> and <ul> are DITA elements used to structure the content.

The audience attribute specifies that this content is intended for “customers.”

The status attribute indicates that the content is “published.”