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Subject: bookmap transitional text

This is where the conversation led last week --

Overall, we felt that transitional text is not a very good fit for DITA;
creating specific tags to enable it would seem to encourage a non-DITA
approach, where topics are written with the expectation that they will
flow. For this reason, it seemed best to use existing markup ... perhaps
because it makes it somewhat clear that you are not taking the normal

There have been several proposals on how to do this:
1. Create a 'transitional text topic'. This is a topic with no title, it
only includes the paragraph(s) to be used for transitional text. Placed
after an actual topic, it would seem to merge with the previous topic. This
might require some transform changes to remove extra spacing.
2. Use the data element to store it. Something like <data
type="transition-text"/>. Add a transform override that, when this is
specified inside a topicref, adds it to the end of the referenced topic.
This suggestion seemed to be the easiest to implement via transform
override, but it seems that it violates the Golden Rule of Semantics. I
liked it primarily because it kept the text together with the topicref to
which it applied; but that's not enough for me to break the Rule.
3. Use a topicref that does not point to a topic, but includes a shortdesc.
This is what Michael was getting at on the call. If this appears in a
bookmap, the text in that shortdesc would be attached to the end of the
previous topic. So, something like this (maybe the empty topicref goes
inside the one for topic.xml?):
  <topicref href="topic.xml"/>
      <shortdesc>Move from topic into the next chapter</shortdesc>

I will leave it up to others to argue between the merits of those
approaches, or to add new ones...


Robert D Anderson
IBM Authoring Tools Development
Chief Architect, DITA Open Toolkit
(507) 253-8787, T/L 553-8787

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