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Technical Writing: Common DITA XML Map and Topic Elements

A shortcut to writing software documentation in DITA XML using Oxygen XML Author.

4.1 / 5.0
3802 students2 hours 12 minutes

Created by JPDocu School of Technical Writing, offered on Udemy

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This course currently has a bestcourses score of 5.1/10, which makes it an average course. Overall, there are probably better courses available for this topic on our platform.


Are you confused and overwhelmed by the number of elements you need to learn as a DITA XML technical writer? Do you wonder which are the elements you must use to simply write your software documentation fast?  Or you simply need a refresher on which are the most often used elements in DITA XML?

If yes, this course is for you!

If you are a technical writer, looking to improve your knowledge and skills related to DITA XML, you should know the DITA XML map and topic elements well.

JPDocu School of Technical Writing has providing instructor-led and self-paced courses on technical writing, DITA XML, and information architecture to thousands of students worldwide. In this course, Jordan Stanchev, User Assistance Development Architect at a Fortune 500 software development company, is sharing his vast knowledge in DITA XML and Oxygen XML Author.

One of the major challenges authors have with DITA XML is the sheer amount of elements that you have to learn just to start writing. There are currently initiatives happening in the OASIS compete that define the DITA standard to simplify and reduce the number of elements you can use (Lightweight DITA XML project).

But is that really needed? Will it help you when you have a more complex scenario to document?

If you are a DITA XML technical writer, you should know the most frequently and commonly used DITA XML elements from DITA 1.3 specification. The consequence of having this knowledge will be that you should be able to write the documentation you need without giving up on any benefits and functionality of DITA.

In this course, you will learn:

Introduction & Installing the Tool for Writing - 10 min

How to get started writing in DITA XML. You will follow the steps to download and install one of the best DITA XML editors - Oxygen XML Author.

DITA XML Elements - 45 min

Which are the DITA XML map elements that you would use frequently to organize the structure of your content? You will need:

  • mapref to reference one DITA XML map to another;

  • navref to switch the writing context between deliverables;

  • topicref to structure and organize your topics;

  • topichead to create a title to group together content underneath it.

This followed by a demo on how to use all these elements in an end-to-end scenario.

DITA XML Topics and Topic Elements - 1 hour 25 min

DITA is a semantic language. It follows the principles of minimalism and structured topic-based writing.

You will understand the most frequently used DITA XML topic types: Task, Concept, and Reference.

I would dare to say that Task is the most important template for writing for a technical writer. It focuses on properly structuring and writing the content of each instruction you write.

You will see also specifics around more tricky DITA XML topic elements - such as the table and section elements, that help you better organize your documentation.

This all followed by a demo on how to use each of these elements.

You will perform short and straight-to-the-point exercises following the instructor's step-by-step demos.

What is not included in this course?

This is not a complete and exhaustive list of DITA XML elements.

One of the most complicated aspects of DITA is related to the way-too-many elements that are available. In this course, we try to simplify it to help you get started quickly, instead of trying to cover every possible DITA aspect.

Try it out and up your DITA XML writing skills! Remember, technical writing is easy - after all, it is just plain docu!

What you will learn

  • DITA XML Topic Elements
  • DITA XML Map Elements
  • Task Topic Type
  • Concept Topic Type
  • Reference Topic Type


  • Technical writing skills are required
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  • Price: $94.99
  • Platform: Udemy
  • Language: English
  • 2 hours 12 minutes
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bestcourses score: 5.1/10

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