FrameMaker 10: A DITA practitioner’s primer for S1000D

S1000D is an international standard for technical publications. S1000D was first developed by the European military aerospace industry and is now adopted by countries and industries around the world. S1000D functionality in FrameMaker 10 is implemented using an application pack. Download and install the free Application Pack for S1000D ADOBE® FRAMEMAKER® 10 and you are ready to work with S1000D.

If you work with DITA in FrameMaker, understanding FrameMaker’s S1000D functionality is easy. In FrameMaker UI, you use the same basic structured-authoring environment for S1000D as you use for DITA:

  • Structure view
  • Element Catalog
  • Element boundaries and Element Boundaries (as Tags)
  • A file with structured applications (
A module from the sample Bike project

A module from the sample Bike project


DITA and S1000D

Both DITA and S1000D are technical documentation specifications created with XML. However, while DITA is used mostly by the computer industry, S1000D is used in Defense systems, Civil aviation products, and Construction industry products.

DITA is adopted voluntarily for benefits such as multichannel publishing, conditional processing, content reuse, consistency of structure, and platform independence. While S1000D has similar benefits, adopting S1000D is often a contractual/legal requirement and is based on internationally agreed neutral standards.

Component mapping – DITA and S1000D

DITA component S1000D equivalent
Topics Data Modules (DMs)
Ditamaps Publication modules (or SCORM for instructional  content)
Metadata Identification and status section
Conditional processing using Ditaval files Applicability filtering using the three Applicability  modules: 

  • Applicability cross-reference table
  • Product cross-reference table
  • Condition cross-reference table

The structure of a data module

All data modules contain two main sections, identAndStatus Section and content. identAndStatus Section contains a comprehensive set of metadata elements used to manage the data module. The idstatus section is not normally displayed to the user of the publication and is often not editable by the author.

The two components of an S1000D data module

The two main components of an S1000D data module

While the available element structure of the identAndStatusSection is identical for all data modules, the content section varies for each type of data module. The content section is the part of the data module that appears in the output. The structure of the various S1000D modules is fairly simple to comprehend if you know basic DTD.

The learning curve

You will need to spend time on learning the following main things in S1000D:

  • Applicability: Applicability lets you filter out irrelevant content from a publication deliverable. Those who say S1000D is more complex than DITA, probably say it due to Applicability. Applicability lets you filter out modules or elements and publish variants of your content deliverable for different products or conditions. The applicability mechanism is different from the content-filtering mechanisms used in other environments, such as DITA and Unstructured FrameMaker.
  • Data module types and their structure: As compared to DITA’s three basic types of topics (concept, task, and reference) S1000D includes larger number of modules types. You will have to get familiar with the vocabulary and appropriateness (For example, where to use a Crew DM) of these modules.
  • Common Source Database (CSDB): CSDB is something that has no equivalent in DITA. A CSDB is a repository of all the S1000D modules in a project. You open and edit the various data modules from the CSDB. A CSDB is not the same as a CMS.
  • The concept of an S1000D project: Before a single page is written, you need to complete defining the relevant S1000D project, which includes activities such as deciding on naming conventions, applicability, business rules, and data module list.

For more information on the  S1000D Application Pack, see

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