What considerations should be made when migrating DITA content with conditional processing to a new CMS?

When migrating DITA content with conditional processing to a new content management system (CMS), organizations must consider factors like data compatibility, condition handling capabilities, metadata mapping, and training for content creators. This ensures a smooth transition, as the new CMS should support DITA’s conditional processing features, facilitate metadata migration, and provide adequate training to help content creators adapt to the system’s workflows.

Data Compatibility:

Before migrating, organizations need to ensure that the new CMS is compatible with DITA content. This includes compatibility with DITA’s XML structure, the ability to handle conditional attributes and elements, and the preservation of existing condition settings during migration. The CMS should also support DITA-specific features like key references and content references.

Condition Handling Capabilities:

The new CMS must have robust condition handling capabilities. It should support the definition and application of DITA conditions, including the ability to create, edit, and manage condition attributes and values. This ensures that conditional processing can continue seamlessly in the new environment.

Metadata Mapping:

As DITA content often relies on metadata for conditional processing, it’s vital that the new CMS can map existing metadata to condition attributes. This mapping should be carefully planned and executed to ensure that metadata-based conditions are accurately transferred to the new system.

Training for Content Creators:

Transitioning to a new CMS can be challenging for content creators. Organizations should provide training to ensure that writers and editors understand the CMS’s interface, condition handling procedures, and the process for managing conditional content in the new system. Training helps content creators adapt to the new environment and continue working efficiently.


An organization specializing in manufacturing documentation decides to migrate their extensive DITA content with conditional processing to a new CMS. They select a CMS known for its DITA support and condition handling capabilities. During the migration process, they perform extensive compatibility tests to ensure that their DITA content, including conditional attributes and elements, seamlessly integrates into the new system.

To map metadata-based conditions, they collaborate with CMS specialists to create custom scripts that transfer metadata attributes to condition attributes in the new system. This mapping ensures that the conditions used in their DITA content are preserved during migration.

As part of the migration plan, the organization offers training sessions for their technical writers and editors, introducing them to the new CMS’s interface and condition management features. This training helps the content creators familiarize themselves with the CMS and adapt to the updated workflows.