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|Subject:||Re: [docbook] Add topic element to DocBook?|
|From:||Chris Chiasson (chr...@chiasson.name)|
|Date:||Oct 27, 2006 8:50:38 am|
I haven't checked this, but I think section is not allowed as a root element. This means that documents beginning with <section> will require a DocBook schema customization to validate. I have had this problem with documents that begin with <equation>.
Maybe it would be better if someone who actually wants <topic> to make a case for it?
On 10/27/06, Johnson, Eric <Eric...@iona.com> wrote:
As a member of a group who is currently switching from unstructured Frame to an XML based authoring system, I think the familiarity of terms like section and book make the move smoother. They ease the semantic shift because we understand what a book, chapter, section, etc are. Having read through much of the Docbook literature, I don't see any reason why I could not write my content at the section level and then reassemble the sections into any form that I need. It may be called a book in mark-up, but the end result is whatever I want it to be. Maybe a <map> element could be a useful tool to make it easier to build a larger unit of content out of section. However, it sounds like the current debate is about duplicating <section> with a <topic> element for purely marketing reasons. Will the <topic> element have a different content model? Will it be usable in ways that the current <section> element is not? How will it make creating reusable content easier? I'm not saying that marketing is not a good reason for adding stuff, but it is not a great one.
-----Original Message----- From: Rajal Shah [mailto:raj...@meshsoftware.com] Sent: Friday, October 27, 2006 11:33 AM To: 'Michael(tm) Smith'; docb...@lists.oasis-open.org Subject: RE: [docbook] Add topic element to DocBook?
There are a lot of organization which have based their XML authoring/publishing infrastructure on DocBook.. They've been writing books all this time.. Now with DITA coming to the fore and the fact that the TechPubs groups need to provide customized content - based on new markets or even to improve search results to find the exact topic/article that solves customer's issue - they are forced to consider modular writing..
The way to go about solving the issue is to provide a mechanism within DocBook to continue producing books - as collections of topics - as well have these individual topics available for re-use or stand-alone..
This is a very real scenario.. And has caused a lot of confusion over whether to switch over to DITA despite having DocBook.. And I think DocBook would be missing the point if they didn't address how to support modular writing as well have a mechanism to assemble topics into a book (it does that current with the DTD v/s a map in DITA)..
-----Original Message----- From: Michael(tm) Smith [mailto:smi...@sideshowbarker.net] Sent: Friday, October 27, 2006 6:53 AM To: docb...@lists.oasis-open.org Subject: Re: [docbook] Add topic element to DocBook?
Chris Chiasson <chr...@chiasson.name>, 2006-10-27 00:28 -0500:
I am afraid of this new <topic> element. However, I don't want DocBook to stagnate while DITA grows just because some people are afraid of change.
Substitute the word "wary" for "afraid". The thing about changes is that they often have unforeseen consequences. For example, we decided to add Task as a child of section, and a year or two later, we've got to figure if/how to allow Task content in places where by design it's currently not permitted.
And I don't think there's any risk of DocBook stagnating. It's soundly designed and is meeting the needs of its target user base quite well. It's going to remain just as useful a solution as it always has been: A common vocabulary and processing infrastructure (the DocBook XSL stylesheets) that even users/groups with very limited resources can learn and use productively -- without the need or time or money to do stuff like customizing/extending the schema/DTD or to write their own sets of stylesheets.
And as far as DITA goes, I guess some might argue that it's tuned for a different target user base: organizations that manage large and complex sets of content and that can save a lot of money by using a system that's specifically built, from the ground up, to faciliate extensive content reuse and to faciliate creation of custom markup specialized to their particular needs.
Anyway, in spite of the possibility that the information-mapping topic-based authoring approach may not really be the right solution for many organizations (especially those that aren't smart enough or careful enough about avoiding all the possible pitfalls around it), it is what a lot of them in the corporate tech-writing world seem to want. And I suspect that many organizations who want that were not using or considering DocBook to begin with; I'd guess many had some legacy system based on authoring in, at best, Framemaker -- and at worst, MS Word or RoboHelp or whatever. A move by anybody away from that stuff and into any XML and XSLT-based system is a win for all of us.