The prereq element

The pre-requisites (prereq) element describes the status or situation that must be established before a procedural task can be started. It can contain cross-references to pre-requisite task topics.

The optional pre-requisites (prereq) element in task topics is used to describe the things that a user needs to know or do before starting the task.

During output to a reading format, the pre-requisite (prereq) element should be labelled so that the reader can identify the information as being a pre-requisite state.

The prereq element must read as one or more complete sentences.

Normally you should only need to have one block of pre-requisite information, and you should not nest a single, redundant paragraph (p) element within the prereq element. However, if you need to include more than one block, you will need to nest paragraphs inside the prereq element.

For example, a typical single-block pre-requisite should be structured as:
<prereq>Ensure...</prereq>
while a lengthy pre-requisite with more than one block should be structured as:
<prereq>
  <p>Ensure...</p>
  <p>Prepare...</p>
</prereq>

If there are any topics that document pre-requisite tasks, these should be added as links in the related-links section at the bottom of the topic, with the link element's importance attribute set to required. This will result in those links being placed under the pre-requisites block during processing to a reading format.

The following example shows a typical presentation of a required link from the related-links section in a task topic processed to XHTML.


Screen capture showing XHTML output of required related-links in Pre-requisites section

Typical XHTML output of related-links with importance setting of required