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

I'm strongly inclined to agree with you, Paul. Just having a dialog about styles is good, since the issue is going to come up in future tooling anyway. For example, right now the FO-based transforms in the public toolkit hard-code the general style of a standard IBM-like page, but it would be great to recommend an external style mechanism that users can use to set up their own look and feel, and have a generalized XSLT transform apply the actual adornment via the external style policies. So I not against having a styling mechanism--I just have faint expectation that any styling mechanism can handle all override cases, hence I could be persuaded, reluctantly, to put up with PIs as a recommendation.

I've thought about the XPath-based nudge file (got a better name for it?), but it has a similar problem to PIs... if a topic is reused, its various new contexts may not always require that the line-break directive be honored by the formatter. So a nudge file may need to be keyed to the map as well, indicating which use of a topic in that map should be the triggering context.

I'm not finding great possibilities in my searches either. Unicode provides a set of characters that are directives for formatters, but I REALLY don't want writers to learn about that Pandora's box. PIs would be much easier to detect and handle in processing, particularly since they provide an opportunity for conditional use, which a codepoint does not. Oh, I'm not convinced yet, just working up the nerve to accept the idea.

Don Day <dond@us.ibm.com>
Chair, OASIS DITA Technical Committee
IBM Lead DITA Architect
11501 Burnet Rd., MS 9037D018, Austin TX 78758
Ph. 512-838-8550 (T/L 678-8550)

"Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?"
--T.S. Eliot
Inactive hide details for "Paul Grosso" <pgrosso@arbortext.com>"Paul Grosso" <pgrosso@arbortext.com>

          "Paul Grosso" <pgrosso@arbortext.com>

          09/17/2004 10:52 AM


"DITA TC list " <dita@lists.oasis-open.org>



RE: [dita] Recommendations for "page break" requests?

Don says, on the one hand, this can't easily be put into
a stylesheet, but on the other hand that direct mods in
the source are harmful.

Either PIs (with which I have no problem--we're talking
about processing, after all) or source elements are direct
mods in the source. No use arguing between those choices
if we don't want direct mods in the source.

If you don't want direct mods in the source, then you're
talking about a stylesheet in one way or the other. Maybe
it's a special "linebreak/pagebreak exception file" rather
than an official XSL-FO stylesheet, but it's still a stylesheet
in the general sense. I could theoretically imagine making
something like this work via an XPath that points to where
the break should be, but I suspect this would get too
complicated in practice.

So if we don't want direct mods in the source and we don't
want a stylesheet, what's the alternative that I'm missing?

My preference right now is to use PIs because I think
something in the source is the only practical way to go, we
are taking about instructing the processing of the document,
and because making them a PI instead of an element makes it
easier to toss them from any "database" since you probably
don't want to store such info in a topic permanently.


From: Don Day [mailto:dond@us.ibm.com]
Thursday, 2004 September 16 17:17
DITA TC list
[dita] Recommendations for "page break" requests?

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.

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

So while this is a general question, it still has bearing on work we might do down the road on a recommended style mechanism for DITA:

>>>> For page and line breaks in particular, what do you do, and what do you recommend?

GIF image

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