What is conditional processing in DITA?

Conditional Processing in DITA

Conditional processing in DITA is a feature that allows content creators to selectively include or exclude specific content within documents based on predefined conditions or criteria. This plays a pivotal role in creating tailored documentation while maintaining a single source of content. By applying conditional processing, content variations can be efficiently managed to address diverse scenarios, audiences, and output formats.

Conditions are the criteria or rules used to determine whether a given piece of content should be included or excluded during the publishing or transformation process. These conditions are typically established using conditional attributes like conkeyref or conref, which are associated with DITA elements. The conditions and criteria for content inclusion or exclusion are contained in DITAVAL files.

Conditions can be applied selectively to text, elements, or entire topics within their documents. For example, specific paragraphs, sections, or even individual words can be included or excluded based on specific criteria. This granular control ensures that content remains highly customizable and adaptable to the document’s requirements.

Common uses for conditional processing include audience segmentation, version control, localization, and platform or device-specific customization. For example, content can be tailored to different audience segments, such as beginners, intermediate users, and experts, ensuring that each group receives information relevant to their needs. Additionally, it streamlines version control by adapting content to different product versions or releases. It also facilitates managing multilingual documentation by controlling which content is required for various languages. Furthermore, it supports content customization for various platforms or devices, optimizing the user experience.