Home Forums DITA and XMetaL Discussion .DITA vs .XML Reply To: .DITA vs .XML

Derek Read

Reply to: .DITA vs .XML

If you are working with DITA documents then you can use either extension and it should not make a difference (in theory you can use any other extension you like as well). When you save from XMetaL Author Enterprise the content of the file is not altered when you choose one file extension over the other (the file is still XML and if you were authoring a DITA document it will also be DITA). The file extension in this case is merely a personal choice. However, depending on which tools you are using to author and process these files you might wish to select one extension over the other.

Essentially I'm discussing the difference between XML “in general” versus an “application of XML” (in this case DITA).
Compare these:
[url=http://www.w3.org/TR/xml/]XML Recommendation[/url]
[url=http://docs.oasis-open.org/dita/v1.1/overview/overview.html]DITA Specification[/url]

Many different types of documents other than DITA also follow the XML Recommendation and are therefore also XML files. These document types are sometimes given the extension .xml in file names (including DocBook, S1000D, TEI, XHTML, and many others).

Some people opt to use .dita when working with DITA documents because it allows these file types to be easily differentiated from any other XML documents they might have lying around. Many programs use XML for storing data (and not documents) and so performing a simple search for file names with the extension .xml on your local machine might turn up various files that are being used to store software settings, data or other information that is of no interest to you. If this might be a problem the easiest way to avoid finding these other files is to store yours in a well-known location (folder), but giving them a different file extension can also help.

Some people also choose to give their DITA map files a special file extension (.ditamap) in order to differentiate them further from their DITA topic files.

Note that when a CMS system is being used in conjunction with XMetaL Author Enterprise the CMS might dictate file naming conventions.