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Subject: Re: [dita] Recommendations for "page break" requests?

On Fri, 2004-09-17 at 02:16, Don Day wrote:

> Yes, I know the mantra, "XML promises separation of presentation from
> content." Yet our users still ask for page breaks, line breaks, and
> other presentational nudges that just can't be separated easily into a
> stylesheet.

This may sound like a blasphemy, but I do not understand a tendency to
*completely* rule out presentation attributes. The primary structure of
the document of course should be defined with semantic markup, but
there's nothing wrong with careful mixing semantic markup with
presentational one, if the latter is treated only as a *hint*. Rule is
that processed document MUST be correct even if some processor chooses
to ignore all these hints.

Attempts to assign a semantic meaning to everything make things even
worse than that - this approach leads to the DTDs with hundreds of
elements and utterly complicated stylesheets. And even then, users often
misuse semantic elements by using them as presentational ones: "um, I
somehow want this to be bold, so let it be <emphasis>" - I've seen this
many times. So, the balance is the key.

BTW, DITA already has a lot of presentational stuff in the hi-d.

> Processing Instructions and other direct mods in a source topic are
> considered harmful; if the topic is reused elsewhere, the instruction
> could cause mischief.

IMHO PI's are no good. Maybe it is better do define special element (or
attribute) for defining target-specific presentational tweaks. The
processing rule should be: if don't know about this - ignore this.

-- Paul

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