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DITA 1.3 Branch Filtering - Next Generation of Reuse

Read time: 7 minute(s)

In this blog post, I'm going to give you a small example of how branch filtering can benefit two cases of reuse, which could not be done previously. You can read more about branch filtering in the DITA 1.3 specs.

Case 1 - Combine Two Profiles in the Same Publication

Suppose that you have a DITA Project about preparing and cooking vegetables and your DITA map looks like this:
<!DOCTYPE map PUBLIC "-//OASIS//DTD DITA Map//EN" "map.dtd">
<map>
 <title>Cooking vegetables</title>
 <topicref href="cleaningTableArea.dita" audience="novice"/>
 <topicref href="preparingVegetables.dita"/>
 <topicref href="addingExtraFlavor.dita" audience="expert"/>
 </map>
You have some content common both for expert and novice users but you also have content that is specific for a target audience. You do not need to teach expert chefs how to clean the table and you do not want to teach novice cooks about enhanced flavoring techniques.
All of this is fine until at some point you decide to produce a publication that contains content merged inside both the novice and the expert map content. Here's where branch filtering can help. You can create a main DITA map that reuses your current DITA map with two profiling contexts:
<!DOCTYPE map PUBLIC "-//OASIS//DTD DITA Map//EN" "map.dtd">
<map>
 <title>Cooking Vegetables.</title>
 <topichead navtitle="Cooking for Beginners" keyscope="novice">
  <topicref href="vegetables.ditamap" format="ditamap">
   <ditavalref href="novice.ditaval"/>
  </topicref>
 </topichead>
 
 <topichead navtitle="Cooking for Experts" keyscope="expert">
  <topicref href="vegetables.ditamap" format="ditamap">
   <ditavalref href="expert.ditaval"/>
  </topicref>
 </topichead>
</map>

Case 2 - Reusing Common Topics with Different Product Names

Suppose that you have a simple DITA task in which you have described how a certain task can be performed for a certain product. In our case, the task describes peeling potatoes:

The task works and at some point in your Vegetables Soup publication, you realize that you need to write a similar task about peeling cucumbers. The task is exactly the same, except for the product name. So naturally you want to reuse the existing written task. For this, we re-write the task so that instead of the product potatoes, it contains two consecutive profiled product names:
Peeling <ph product="potatoes">potatoes</ph><ph product="cucumbers">cucumbers</ph>
and include the task in the main DITA map in two places with different ditaval filters applied:
<!DOCTYPE map PUBLIC "-//OASIS//DTD DITA Map//EN" "map.dtd">
<map>
 <title>Peeling Vegetables.</title>
 <topichead navtitle="Potatoes">
  <topicref href="peeling.dita">
   <ditavalref href="potatoes.ditaval"/>
  </topicref>
 </topichead>
 
 <topichead navtitle="Cucumbers">
  <topicref href="peeling.dita">
   <ditavalref href="cucumbers.ditaval"/>
  </topicref>
 </topichead>
</map>

This kind of usage will produce two topic HTML files from the single peeling.dita (in the HTML output folder), one for each filter context.

The DITA samples for this post can be downloaded from https://www.oxygenxml.com/forum/files/branchFilteringBlogSamples.zip.

As usual, any feedback is welcomed.