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Subject: Re: [dita] bookmap transitional text

Hi, Scott:

I understood that the consensus from the discussion of the <abstract> element was to minimize text within the map. (I'm not finding any mention of that discussion, however, in http://www.oasis-open.org/apps/org/workgroup/dita/download.php/17041/DitaTCMeeting060307.txt)

The argument against extensive transitional text is to avoid losing topic orientation. If we allow extensive transitional text, we open the door for informative content within the map as well.

If we do decide to expand the transitional text (now or later), we might consider allowing the new <abstract> element (http://www.oasis-open.org/apps/org/workgroup/dita/download.php/17525/IssueNumber42.html) within maps.


Erik Hennum

Inactive hide details for Scott Hudson <scott.hudson@flatironssolutions.com>Scott Hudson <scott.hudson@flatironssolutions.com>

          Scott Hudson <scott.hudson@flatironssolutions.com>

          05/16/2006 10:06 AM


Robert D Anderson/Rochester/IBM@IBMUS




Re: [dita] bookmap transitional text

Thanks Robert,

I think the main issue with using shortdesc, is that the allowed markup
inside shortdesc may not be robust enough for some needs. If shortdesc
is to be the recommended best practice, then the content model for
shortdesc should be similar to p, or perhaps include p.

I mentioned this in an earlier mail, but providing again for benefit of
the list:
Transitional text is part of the "packaging" for a specific set of  
topics within the context of a given map, and is needed primarily for
maps that are intended for book or PDF publishing. Including
transitional text as "packaging" does not negate the purpose of
topic-based authoring any more than including a title page and table of
contents does. Each topic still can stand on its own, but the
transitional text can weave together the "storyline" of how all these
topics relate in this particular context. Conversely, we would NOT want
the transitional text inside the topics, because topics should not
assume the context in which they will be reused. Since a map DOES assume
a particular context for re-using the topics, that's where the
transitional text and other "packaging" components belong.

Whatever recommendation is provided, I want to make sure that it will
better handle the needs of anyone who is trying to publish traditional
book content from a set of reusable DITA topics.

Thanks and best regards,


Robert D Anderson wrote:
> 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
> approach.
> 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"/> >   <topicref>
>     <topicmeta>
>       <shortdesc>Move from topic into the next chapter</shortdesc>
>     </topicmeta>
>   </topicref>
> I will leave it up to others to argue between the merits of those
> approaches, or to add new ones...
> Thanks,
> Robert D Anderson
> IBM Authoring Tools Development
> Chief Architect, DITA Open Toolkit
> (507) 253-8787, T/L 553-8787

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