<map>: How do you use the <map> element to define the structure of a DITA map, organizing and linking DITA topics and resources?

The <map> element in DITA XML is used to define the structure of a DITA map, which plays a crucial role in organizing and linking DITA topics and resources. A DITA map serves as a roadmap for your documentation project, helping you arrange and connect various topics to create a coherent information hierarchy.

Defining a DITA Map

To define a DITA map, you can use the <map> element as shown in the following example:

  <title>Getting Started Guide</title>
  <topicref href="introduction.dita"/>
  <topicref href="installation.dita"/>
  <topicref href="usage.dita"/>
  <topicref href="troubleshooting.dita"/>

In this example, the <map> element represents a DITA map titled “Getting Started Guide.” It contains multiple <topicref> elements, each referencing a DITA topic file, such as “introduction.dita,” “installation.dita,” and so on. By defining these topic references within the map, you establish the structure and sequence of topics within your documentation.

Using the <map> element, you can create a logical flow for your documentation, ensuring that topics are interconnected and can be navigated seamlessly. This structured approach simplifies content management and facilitates the generation of various output formats, such as HTML, PDF, or online help systems.