What role do profiling attributes play in conditional processing within DITA maps?

Profiling attributes in DITA maps are used to enable conditional processing and content filtering based on specific characteristics or properties of the content. They play a pivotal role in tailoring the output based on various criteria, such as the audience, product version, or delivery format. Profiling attributes allow content creators to mark topics or elements with specific metadata that signifies their applicability or relevance to certain conditions, ensuring that the content is included or excluded from the output as needed. This enhances content reuse and customization, making it a powerful tool for creating targeted, context-specific documentation.

In a DITA map, profiling attributes are typically applied to individual topics or elements. These attributes can be predefined or custom, depending on the specific needs of the documentation project. Profiling attributes include conditions, audiences, and other criteria that help determine which content is displayed for a particular output scenario. By marking content with these attributes, the publication can be fine-tuned to meet the requirements of diverse audiences or to create variations of the same content for different purposes.


A software documentation project for a software product has multiple editions and is used by different audiences. The DITA map contains various topics related to features, installation, and troubleshooting. Profiling attributes are applied to these topics to manage conditional processing.

<!-- DITA Map with Profiling Attributes -->
  <title>Software Documentation</title>

  <!-- Profiled Topics -->
  <topicref href="features.dita" audience="admin"/>
  <topicref href="features.dita" audience="user"/>
  <topicref href="installation.dita" edition="standard"/>
  <topicref href="installation.dita" edition="professional"/>
  <topicref href="troubleshooting.dita" audience="support"/>

  <!-- Conditional Processing -->
  <ditavalref href="filtering_conditions.ditaval"/>

  <!-- Publication Output -->
  <outputformat name="html">
    <filter audience="admin"/>
    <filter edition="standard"/>

In this example, the DITA map contains various topics related to features, installation, and troubleshooting. Profiling attributes, such as “audience” and “edition,” are applied to topics to specify their relevance to different audiences and editions of the software. The “ditavalref” element references a DITAVAL file named “filtering_conditions.ditaval,” which defines the filtering conditions. When generating an HTML output, filters are applied based on the profiling attributes, ensuring that content is included or excluded as per the specified conditions, audience, and edition. This way, profiling attributes play a critical role in conditional processing within DITA maps, allowing for the creation of tailored documentation for diverse audiences and contexts.