Making shortdesc elements compulsory

It is possible for publishing teams to make the use of short descriptions mandatory through specialisation and constraints mechanisms within DITA.

Some publications managers may wish to make the use of shortdesc mandatory within a DITA authoring team. To make such an element mandatory in DITA, specialisation or constraints have to be used. (Some authoring tools also allow configuration independently of DITA to make elements mandatory.)

In specialisation, the schema designer creates a new information type (for example, myconcept), with shortdesc defined as a required element within that information type. (The shortdesc doesn't have to be renamed under this approach.)

Using constraints (DITA 1.2 and above), the base topic element (for example, concept) is provided with an override rule to make the structure stricter in that the shortdesc element becomes mandatory.