How does version control intersect with conditional processing in DITA?

Version control plays a critical role in the intersection with conditional processing in DITA by managing the evolving content and the associated conditions over time. It ensures that different versions of content, each with its set of conditions, are efficiently tracked, compared, and retained within a structured repository. This enables organizations to maintain historical versions, monitor changes, and guarantee that the right conditions are applied to the corresponding content at any given point, thus facilitating content management and quality control.

Content Evolution Tracking:

Version control systems, such as Git, Subversion, or other DITA-specific CMS solutions, record the history of changes made to DITA content. This tracking includes modifications to conditions, element structures, and content updates. Each revision is timestamped and attributed to a specific user, allowing content creators to understand how the content and its conditions have evolved.

Branching and Merging:

Version control systems facilitate branching, which is the creation of separate development lines. This feature is valuable when working on different versions of content with distinct conditions. Multiple branches can be maintained to manage content for various releases, products, or audiences. Merging enables the incorporation of changes between branches while maintaining condition-specific modifications.

Content Retrieval:

Version control systems allow content creators to retrieve or “check out” specific versions of DITA documents. This is essential when needing to access previous versions of the content with associated conditions, ensuring that the right configurations are preserved.

Collaboration and Quality Assurance:

Collaboration is simplified with version control, as teams can work concurrently on content with different conditions while maintaining a shared repository. It aids in the quality assurance process by enabling comparisons between versions, allowing organizations to track when conditions were added, removed, or modified and ensuring that content consistency is maintained across different versions.


A software company using DITA for their documentation has a DITA map for their product’s user manual, with topics covering features and installation instructions. The manual has multiple versions based on product releases. Here’s how version control intersects with conditional processing:

Content Evolution Tracking: The version control system records changes made to the DITA topics, including modifications to conditional attributes. As the software evolves, new features are added, and conditions are adjusted to reflect different product versions. For example, the “product_version” attribute is altered from “V1.0” to “V2.0” to indicate changes in content over time.

Branching and Merging: The company creates branches in their version control system for each product release. They have branches for “V1.0” and “V2.0,” each with its set of conditions specific to that release. Developers and technical writers work on different branches, allowing them to maintain version-specific content.

Content Retrieval: When a customer needs documentation for “V1.0,” the technical writer can retrieve the specific branch associated with that release. This ensures that the correct conditions for “V1.0” are applied, and the documentation remains consistent with that version of the product.

Collaboration and Quality Assurance: Collaboration between teams is smooth, as each team can focus on their branch with the appropriate conditions. The version control system aids in comparing versions, identifying changes in conditions, and ensuring that content remains consistent across different releases of the software. This approach streamlines content management, reduces errors, and ensures that users receive accurate and relevant documentation for their specific product version.