Chapter 8. Map Specialization Tutorial

Goal: Define a new map type that represents an FAQ publication.

Having defined a new topic type for FAQ questions (Topic Specialization Tutorial), we can now define a corresponding map type for creating complete FAQ sets.

New map types are used to either represent specific types of publications (what most people would call a "document type" in the generic sense, not the XML sense) or to represent specific combinations of topic types. For example, a common pattern is to have a task with associated concept and reference topics that together represent a single unit of supporting information for a specific task. It could be useful to define a separate map type that codifies this structure1

For this tutorial, we want to be able to define frequently asked question publications that consist entirely or mostly of FAQ question topics.

While you do this by simply defining a new map type that defined topicref types specifically for organizing FAQ entries, in practice it is usually better to define new topicref types as map domains so that they can be used in any map type. If you still want a specific map type you can define a map type that depends on the new map domain in order to define appropriately constrained content models.

The Learning and Training learningMapDomain and learningMap modules are a good example of this approach. The learningMap domain lets you use learning-specific topicrefs in any map type while the learningMap gives you a ready-to-use map specifically for learning content. The DITA for Publishers vocabulary takes the same approach with the publication map domain and pubmap map types.

Thus, this tutorial defines two vocabulary modules:

To implement the domain and the map type that uses it we could start by defining the map domain and then defining the map type that uses it. However, the principle of test-driven development suggests that we start with the map type and work toward implementing the map domain.

1 Design patterns for information architecture with DITA map domains, Erik Hennum, Don Day, John Hunt, and Dave Schell, September 2004,