What is the role of “class attributes” in DITA specialization?

The role of “class attributes” in DITA specialization is to enable finer-grained control over the behavior, styling, and processing of elements and attributes. Class attributes provide additional metadata and context for DITA elements, allowing content creators to distinguish and manage elements based on specific characteristics or categories.

Class attributes serve several key purposes in DITA specialization:

1. Styling: Class attributes can be associated with custom styles, enabling content creators to define unique formatting for elements with specific class attributes. This allows for visual differentiation and improved presentation in the output.

2. Behavior: Class attributes can affect the behavior of elements, enabling conditional processing or interaction based on the class. For instance, elements with specific class attributes can be included or excluded in particular output scenarios.

3. Metadata: Class attributes can provide metadata about the content, offering additional information about the element or its purpose. This metadata can be used for categorization, searching, and organizing content.

4. Customization: Class attributes allow content creators to tailor the behavior of specialized elements within a topic, providing versatility and adaptability.


In a DITA topic for a software manual, a class attribute, such as “important,” can be applied to specific content, indicating its significance. This class attribute can be used to style the content differently or include it in a special “Key Concepts” section in the output.

<p class="important">This is a critical concept you need to understand.</p>