Polygamous or Monogamous DITA Topics?

DITA topics should focus on one idea

Keep your DITA topics focused. One topic. One idea.

Embedding multiple topics inside one topic file (polygamous topics) is not good practice. We call these topics, “polygamous topics”. If, in real life, polygamy tends to be a really bad idea, the same is true for DITA topics.

The golden rule for DITA topics is one topic, one idea.

What’s wrong with including multiple ideas in one topic?

Here is a short list of why you don’t want your DITA topics to include multiple ideas.

  • Makes it harder to reuse topics.
  • Prevents you from using your <title> and <shortdesc> from keeping your DITA topics focused.
  • Undercuts minimalism in your content.
  • Leads to too much blather or fluff in your content.

How to identify polygamous DITA topics?

Markers for this phenomenon are use of <title> more than once in a topic.

If you have more than one <title> in a topic, with the obvious exception of titles for images or tables, you are almost certainly embedding multiple topics inside one topic file.

What should you do to keep your DITA topics focused?

Take the content under each <title> or under each <section> and include in a separate topic.

If you are not sure about how you are using DITA elements and DITA markups in DITA topics and DITA maps, reach out to us today to arrange a content audit. We are here to help you succeed! Contact us today with any questions that you might have.