Domain elements

The domain elements are comprised of a number of separate sets of elements that relate to specific documentation fields.

Remembering that DITA started life within IBM as a tool for creating software and hardware documentation, it shouldn't be a surprise to discover that DITA's base elements reflect that background.

Elements that relate to a particular field (such as software) are called domain elements. The domain elements within DITA are grouped into:
typographical elements
generic word-processor like elements used to highlight text
programming elements
terms and structures related to programming environments
software elements
terms and structures related to the operation of a software program
table elements
elements that relate to table structures
user interface elements
terms and structures related to a software user interface
utilities elements
elements that don't fit anywhere else!

If you are writing a programmer's reference, you will mainly use elements in the programming domain.

If you are writing a mobile phone user guide, you should avoid using programming domain elements, and mainly use user interface domain elements.

The typographical domain elements are designed to be used only when no semantically-appropriate elements are available and a formatting effect is required. These elements should therefore only be used as a last resort.