Reply to: Questions about creating specialized elementsSeptember 12, 2011 at 6:07 pm
You sort of have two questions here. One is whether to specialize or not. I won't attempt to answer that as there is information elsewhere on this that would give a better answer than me. You seem to have an idea that you could possibly get by using @outputclass. That is a very valid option depending on what you actually need to make these changes for. If it is to affect output then that might be the easiest route.
The Rockley Group (http://www.rockley.com/) has a book called DITA 101 that discusses why you would want to specialize that may be worth having a look at. This book is really cheap (last time I checked the electronic version was about $10) considering everything it contains.
If you decide to go with specialization your first step is to create a valid DITA specialized DTD. Please see Eliot Kimber's tutorial on this subject as I think it is easiest to follow. You will probably want to read higher level topics, but “Topic Specialization Tutorial” is likely to get you where you need to go: http://xiruss.org/tutorials/dita-specialization/
Two things to note:
1) Out of the box XMetaL Author Enterprise 6.0 and 6.0 SP1 are configured for authoring with the DITA 1.1 DTDs. You can swap those for 1.0 (we include the older 1.0 DTDs), but we don't include 1.2. If you need DITA 1.2 you can contact XMetaL Support and ask about it. However, adding 1.2 into the mix will likely just make things harder. None of the CMS systems that we integrate with (and in fact as far as I know no CMS systems in existence) truly support DITA 1.2 at this time. So, if you use a CMS 1.1 is your best option.
2) XMetaL currently only uses the DITA DTDs so you can ignore anything that discusses XSD.
Once you have a valid DTD you can follow the instructions in the XMetaL Author Enterprise help. The relevant section is Working with DITA > DITA Specializations.