What is the purpose of filtering attributes in DITA XML?

In DITA XML, filtering attributes serve a crucial role in allowing you to tailor and customize your content for different output scenarios and audiences. These attributes provide a flexible way to control which elements and content should be included or excluded when generating various output formats, such as print, online help, or web pages. The purpose of filtering attributes is to manage the granularity of your content and ensure that it is presented appropriately to meet the specific needs of your readers or users.

Filtering Content

Filtering attributes can be applied to elements, topics, or even individual blocks of content within your DITA documents. By using these attributes, you can create conditional content that appears or disappears based on the output scenario or user requirements. For example, you can have content that is relevant to a particular product version, language, or audience segment. Filtering allows you to efficiently maintain a single source document while accommodating multiple publication scenarios.


Here’s an example of how filtering attributes can be used in DITA XML:

<topic id="installation_guide">
  <title>Installation Guide</title>
    <p>This guide provides instructions for installing our software product.</p>
    <p outputclass="productA">For product A, follow these steps: ...</p>
    <p outputclass="productB">For product B, follow these steps: ...</p>
    <p audience="beginner">If you're new to our software, you might want to start here: ...</p>
    <p audience="advanced">Experienced users can skip to this section: ...</p>

In this example, filtering attributes such as “outputclass” and “audience” are applied to different paragraphs within an installation guide. These attributes control which paragraphs are included or excluded in the output, making it possible to generate distinct versions of the guide for different products and user levels.