<prolog>: When and why do you use the <prolog> element in DITA, and what content does it typically contain?

The <prolog> element in DITA XML is used to provide essential metadata and information about a DITA topic. It serves as an introductory section that typically contains details about the topic’s author, publication date, and other relevant information. Understanding when and why to use the <prolog> element and what content it typically contains is crucial for effective DITA documentation.

When to Use the <prolog> Element

The <prolog> element is employed at the beginning of a DITA topic to provide context and metadata. It is used to convey information about the topic’s creation, revision history, authorship, and any other pertinent details. Including this element is essential for creating well-structured and informative DITA topics.

Content in the <prolog> Element

The content within the <prolog> element typically includes:

  • Author information: The name or identity of the person or team responsible for creating the topic.
  • Publication date: The date when the topic was originally created or last updated.
  • Version information: Details about the topic’s version or revision history.
  • Other metadata: Any additional information relevant to the topic, such as keywords, copyright notices, or licensing details.


Here’s an example of how the <prolog> element is used in a DITA topic:

<topic id="topic_id">
    <author>John Doe</author>
  <title>Topic Title</title>
    <p>This is the content of your DITA topic.</p>
    <p>It can include text, images, links, and more.</p>

In this example, the <prolog> element contains author information, creation date, and version information, providing important context for the DITA topic.