Skip to main content

Understanding Content Structures

When you create content in Paligo, it is important that you understand that the content is structured. There are elements for different types of content, and these are organized into structures. For example, if you add a note to a topic, it has this structure:

<note>
    <para>Text of note.</para>
</note>

Here, the note is the "parent" structure and the para is the "child" structure, as the para is inside the note (it comes after the opening <note> and before the closing </note>.

When working with content inside a topic, the parent-child relationship is important. Any time you move, copy, or delete a parent element, then that action also applies to the "child" elements inside it. So, using the simple note example again, if you copied the note element, Paligo would create a copy of the note element and also a copy of the para element inside it.

Note

When you copy, move, or delete a "parent" element, the same action applies to its "children".

If you copy, move, or delete a "child", the same action only applies to the "child" (and any of its children). The action does not apply to the parent.

This hierarchical "parent-child" structure has some useful advantages for technical writers—it means you can move, copy, and delete entire structures at once, rather than having to manage them separately. It is especially useful with more complex structures, such as lists, as it can make it much easier to change the list order, move content, etc. The following example shows the parent-child relationships in a procedure.

Tip

If you are unsure about the hierarchy of elements and how the parent-child relationships work, create a test topic and experiment with it. We recommend that you add a mix of regular paragraphs and more complex structures like lists and tables and then try copying, moving, and deleting the parent and child elements.

Example 1. Parent and Child Relationships of Elements in a Topic

For example, let's look at a more complex structure, such as a procedure. (This image is taken from the XML Tree View, which is available in the side panel of the main editor. It shows the structure of the topic you are working on).

The structure of a topic, shown in the XML tree view. There is a section element at the top-level. At the second level is a title and a procedure. Inside the procedure there are two steps. Inside step one there is a para. Inside step two there is a para and a note. Inside the note there is a para.

Here, we can see that the top-level element in the topic is the section. Every topic has a section element at the top, and these are the main "container" in the topic. If you had a topic with subsections, you could have lower-level sections too (although it is often preferable to insert these as components rather than as sections).

Section element at the top of the XML tree view

Inside the section, we have all of the other elements. These too are arranged in a hierarchy. Title is a second-level element and it does not have any other elements inside it (so has no "children"). Procedure is also a second-level element. It has a plus icon + to show that it is expandable and has elements inside it (its "children").

XML tree view. Section element at the top level. Inside that, a title and a procedure. The procedure has a white plus symbol next to it.

Inside the procedure, there are two steps. The steps are "children" of the procedure.

XML Tree View. There is a section at the top level. Then a title and procedure at the second level. Inside the procedure, there are two steps. The steps have plus icons.

Inside the first step, there is a para. This is a "child" of the step and a "grandchild" of the procedure.

XML tree view. There is a section element at the top-level. At the second level is a title and a procedure. Inside the procedure there are two steps. Inside step one there is a para.

Inside the second step, there is a para and a note. These are "children" of the second step.

The structure of a topic, shown in the XML tree view. There is a section element at the top-level. At the second level is a title and a procedure. Inside the procedure there are two steps. Inside step one there is a para. Inside step two there is a para and a note. The note has a plus icon.

The note also has a para inside it. The note is a "parent" to this para, and the para is a child of the note, a grandchild of the second step, and a great-grandchild of the procedure.

The structure of a topic, shown in the XML tree view. There is a section element at the top-level. At the second level is a title and a procedure. Inside the procedure there are two steps. Inside step one there is a para. Inside step two there is a para and a note. Inside the note there is a para.

When you work with content inside a topic, it is important that you understand that there are parent-child relationships between the different elements. Because when you move, copy, or delete an element, the action applies to its children too.

So if you select the second step and move it above the first, Paligo will:

  • Move the second step above the first step in the procedure

  • Move all of the descendants of the second step (children, grandchildren, etc.) as well.

XML tree showing structure of a topic. It has a procedure where step two has been moved above step one. Callout arrows highlight that step two and all of its child elements have moved.

This means you can quickly and easily move, copy, and delete multiple elements or individual elements with a single action.