What role does conditional processing play in tailoring safety documentation for different vessel types and situations?

Conditional processing in DITA plays a pivotal role in tailoring safety documentation to suit different vessel types and situations, ensuring that the right information is delivered to the right audience when needed. Here’s how conditional processing works:

Conditional Attributes

DITA allows authors to use conditional attributes, such as “audience” or “product,” to mark content that is specific to particular situations or vessel types. For example, safety procedures for passenger ships may differ from those for cargo vessels. By tagging content with conditional attributes, authors can easily specify when and where certain information should appear.

Filtering Output

Conditional processing extends to the delivery of documentation. When generating output, DITA processors can filter content based on the conditional attributes. This means that, during document generation, the system can automatically include or exclude content based on the context in which it will be used. This ensures that safety documentation remains relevant and applicable to the specific audience or vessel type.


Here’s an example of conditional processing in DITA XML:

<topic id="fire_safety">
  <title>Fire Safety Procedures</title>
    <p>If you are on a passenger ship, follow the procedures in section A.</p>
    <conditional conkeyref="audience">
      <p>If you are on a cargo vessel, follow the procedures in section B.</p>
  <conditional conref="passenger_ship_procedures" conkey="audience" conaction="include"/>
  <conditional conref="cargo_vessel_procedures" conkey="audience" conaction="exclude"/>

In this example, the “Fire Safety Procedures” topic includes conditional content based on the audience (passenger ship or cargo vessel). During output generation, the appropriate procedures are included or excluded based on the audience condition, ensuring that safety documentation is tailored to the vessel type.