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Derek Read

Reply to: Questions about creating specialized elements

Simply making modifications to the DITA DTDs that do not follow the DITA specifications for specializing is not the recommended way to do things. You really need to create a specialized DITA DTD. XMetaL Author itself (the core product) has the ability to read any valid DTD, valid to the W3C XML 1.0 Recommendation (and the DTD you have created is likely valid) and so the core functionality (the Element List and Attribute Inspector) will likely work, as well as validation and other functionality. However, the DITA functionality, which is additional functionality added to the core product specifically for authoring DITA documents, may not function properly unless you have a properly specialized DITA DTD.

Following Eliot Kimber's tutorial for specializing a DITA DTD is what I would recommend. If you do that (and integrate it according to our instructions in the product) then our DITA authoring functionality should “just work” (no additional hacking of our code, CSS files, etc, required). One benefit (that you have seen not working) is that the CSS files we ship have been coded to be “specialization savvy”, meaning that if you have an element named that is a specialized element based on it will end up looking the same in the editor. In addition, the DITA Open Toolkit will also create similar looking output to for your element when you generate output. You would actually need to specifically add additional code in both cases to have the element styled differently.

You may wish to watch the webinar here to get a better idea of what you can expect: http://forums.xmetal.com/index.php/topic,1164.0.html