Can't link into conref? unstable ids

Stuart Norton

Dear DITA users,


We've discovered a behavior in DITA OT processing that looks like it's going to cause us big problems. We would really appreciate your advice.


The problem that we are seeing is that when we publish a document containing a conref (to HTML), the content inside that conref has its id attributes rewritten with more-or-less random values that can change unpredictably when the document is updated. For example:


(the d### characters in bold are the ones that update randomly).


We have many external links that point into conrefed content. As a result of this behavior, those links are often breaking when we republish the documents.


It looks like this behavior is by design, and it happens in this step:  That step is intended to "ensure that the values of the id attribute within the referencing topic remain unique." But in our experience so far, I would say that the potential danger of having a duplicate id on an HTML page seem *much* more acceptable than having many external links break when we republish a document.



  1. What if we overrode the id attribute generation to avoid the auto-generated unique values, and we occasionally had a duplicate id? Are there some dangers of having duplicate ids that I am missing – e.g. perhaps it could break the TOC?
  2. Are there any other options that we have - other than reorganizing all of our content so we don't ever need to link to locations inside of conrefs?


Thanks in advance for your thoughts/assistance.


Best regards,



Juniper Business Use Only

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