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Subject: Thoughts on CSH

Greetings colleagues

I've been going back through the earlier discussion about storing context
ids in the ditamap or topic, and window definitions in the ditamap, and have
been trying to distil the discussion into some possible changes. (I've
posted links to the original spec change proposals at the bottom of this
e-mail; you will need to log on to the OASIS site to get to them.)

The context id proposal suggested a new <help> element in the topicmeta. A
better name for the element might be <help-context>. That <help> or
<help-context> element should also contain an id attribute (in addition to
the proposed help-id and help-string attributes). 

The CSH spec change has to provide for three options:

. context hooks stored in the topic
. context hooks stored in the map
. context hooks stored in an intermediate (external) file

During processing, the necessary map/alias/header/cshelp files would be
produced from whatever resource was available.

There would need to be some "cascade" rules, to cope with a scenario where
context hooks found in more than one location (eg, in both the map and the
topic). The "cascade" should be:

. Context Hook in intermediate (external) file overrides...
. any context hook specified in the map, which overrides...
. any context hook specified in the topic.

Rather than create a new element, the <help-context> element could actually
be a reworked resourceid element, since that element was originally
introduced to DITA for the purposes of containing context ids.

The window spec change suggested a new <help-window> element. A better name
for the element might be <window>, or perhaps <ui-window>, because the
window definitions will have applicability beyond Help systems. The new
element should have an id attribute, in addition to the other attributes

Amongst the "next steps" that we should be working on are these two:

. Develop Use Cases for the workflow scenarios of the programmer providing
the Help author with map/alias files, and the Help author providing  the
programmer with the same.

. Develop Use Cases for coding the context hooks at the topic level, at the
map level, and coding externally from DITA.

Let's discuss these points both here on the e-mail list, and also at the
upcoming Friday teleconference.


Tony Self


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