Sunday, May 9, 2010

DITA 1.2 - New <task> elements

The DITA language specification v1.2 introduces two new task elements: <steps-informal> and <stepsection>.
The <steps-informal> element is for describing procedural information that is otherwise not normally described as a step. The <stepsection> is for giving explanatory information before a step. It is contained within the <steps> element and can be placed betweeen two <step> elements; the output of the content of a <stepsection> will not contain a bullet or a number.

When should I use the <steps-informal> and <stepsection> elements

<steps-informal>: The v1.2 language specifications haven't yet included an example of the <steps-informal> element so I am still a bit unclear about how and when to use it.
<stepsection>: If I am using DITA v1.1 and need to give some info before a step, the only way I could do that was insert an <info> in the previous step. With <stepsection>, this problem is resolved. Here's an example (taken from the v1.2 lang specs doc):
  <step><cmd>Get out a bowl</cmd></step>
  <stepsection>The next two steps are very important!</stepsection>
  <step><cmd>Put on safety gloves</cmd></step>
  <step><cmd>Put on goggles</cmd></step>
  <step><cmd>Pour milk and cereal into the bowl</cmd></step>

Related information

With v1.2, a <step> can have an <note> before the <cmd>.


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