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Subject: Re: AW: AW: [dita] Groups - DITA Proposed Feature #12021: Nesting sections(12021.html) uploaded

OK - so for legacy content that has not been chunked into topics, they still want to enforce the one topic per file constraint they have decided on, but without rewriting the content to match?

The obvious option within the architecture is to combine the "senseless small crumbs" into one file for authoring, until it is ready to split out properly.

If the content doesn't fit the architecture, you can either refactor the content, or the architecture. If they choose to rework the architecture to support legacy content, is it easier/better to change the definition of topic for all DITA users, or for Novartis to relax their topic-nesting rule for legacy content?

I would like to go back to Novartis and discuss this, if they are interested in another meeting. I'm quite surprised by this requirement suddenly resurfacing, after I thought it had been adequately addressed and reviewed with your client.

Michael Priestley
Lead IBM DITA Architect

"SeicoDyne DITA" <dita@seicodyne.ch>

10/30/2007 10:43 AM

Michael Priestley/Toronto/IBM@IBMCA
<dita@lists.oasis-open.org>, "'Grosso, Paul'" <pgrosso@ptc.com>
AW: AW: [dita] Groups - DITA Proposed Feature #12021:  Nesting sections (12021.html)   uploaded

Yes Michael,
for the pilot they answered that they will go with what is available. So it was no longer the case for them in the pilot.
Nevertheless it will be a case again when they go for the productive part, especially regarding legacy data.
Maybe with new documents they can find a way, but it seems that Novartis can not port existing documents into a standard DITA structure without splitting the content into sensless small crumbs.

Von: Michael Priestley [mailto:mpriestl@ca.ibm.com]
Dienstag, 30. Oktober 2007 15:19
SeicoDyne DITA
dita@lists.oasis-open.org; 'Grosso, Paul'
Re: AW: [dita] Groups - DITA Proposed Feature #12021: Nesting sections (12021.html) uploaded

Hi Chris,

When we reviewed this proposal with Novartis, they said it met their needs - is that no longer the case?

In my own experience, there are different reasons for grouping content together at authoring time and at delivery time. You may want topics grouped together in a single document for authoring, and split up for delivery, or vice versa. This is one of the issues addressed by the chunking feature in 1.1.

So if a group decides not to nest topics during authoring, but then wants to nest sections with multiple levels of headings, I have to wonder why they aren't just nesting topics. But I didn't think that was Novartis's problem.

As to whether "topics stand on their own" vs. nesting sections - I think there are always some topics that do not stand on their own - especially overview topics. Yet there are still reasons to sometimes manage them or treat them as topics separately - and sometimes that decision about whether it stands on its own is really one the reuser has to make, not the author.

If the author uses topics for things that have unique titles (ie introduce new subjects), and nests topics when they need complex content, that leaves the door open for reusers to choose topics to reuse, and make their own decision. If the author doesn't use topics, then their content is not addressable or chunkable by others - and the reuse door is closed.

Michael Priestley
Lead IBM DITA Architect

"SeicoDyne DITA" <dita@seicodyne.ch>

10/30/2007 09:56 AM

Michael Priestley/Toronto/IBM@IBMCA, "'Grosso, Paul'" <pgrosso@ptc.com>
AW: [dita] Groups - DITA Proposed Feature #12021:  Nesting sections (12021.html)   uploaded

Yes indeed we had that case last year at Novartis, mainly regarding taking over legacy data.


The main point that Novartis mentioned in that discussion was:

1st they decided that each topic relates to one file in the database,

2nd if they are going to split content of one topic in several topics, most of their content will loose the context. So content that belongs literally together would be split appart into separate files. This splitting would not only make the content highly difficult to manage, those topics would no longer be meaningful when they stand alone.

Novartis has not yet decided if they go for DITA, Docbook or if they develop their own schema.
From my last discussions I heared that they will go for DITA and call it DITA+ by bending or breaking our rules. As already mentioned, how Novartis will proceed is not yet decided, they are waiting to hear what the DITA TC decides.


I would like to ask that question to the specialists of topic based authoring. What has more weight:

- a topic is a unit of information that is meaningfull when it stands alone

- a section in a topic is not alowed to contain sections


Chris Kravogel


SeicoDyne GmbH

Eichenstrasse 16

CH-6015 Reussbühl


Tel: +41 41 534 66 97

Mob: +41 78 790 66 97

Skype: seicodyne

Member of the DITA Technical Committee

Chairman of the DITA Machine Industry Subcommittee


Von: Michael Priestley [mailto:mpriestl@ca.ibm.com]
Dienstag, 30. Oktober 2007 14:34
Grosso, Paul
RE: [dita] Groups - DITA Proposed Feature #12021: Nesting sections (12021.html) uploaded

My recollection is that it was primarily for use in creating regular groupings of sections or of content under sections for specialization purposes. This was the use case for Novartis that Chris brought forward, and also the use case from Paul Prescod who co-designed the original proposal.

For example, with these extra levels, you can model something like:


<problem> (from section)

<userresponse> (from bodydiv)

      <analysis> (from section)




There were some more complex use cases modeled in the original note series with Paul Prescod I believe.

I think where people need to model freely titled nested divisions, the answer continues to be nesting topics rather than nesting sections - to try to prevent the bloating of topics into whole chapters or books of content (losing the constraints on topic size/complexity that are among the distinctions between DITA and DocBook). But where additional levels of organization are needed within a topic that do not represent new ideas or topics (and thus do not require new unique headings), I think this proposal gives the specializer considerably more freedom - as well as providing a general mechanism for grouping sections or blocks for the sake of conreffing a mixed range or for simplified conditional processing/metadata.

Michael Priestley
Lead IBM DITA Architect

"Grosso, Paul" <pgrosso@ptc.com>

10/30/2007 09:12 AM

RE: [dita] Groups - DITA Proposed Feature #12021:  Nesting sections (12021.html)   uploaded

I was a little surprised to see this suggesting a bodydiv/sectiondiv
element but still not allowing sections to nest, which is what I
thought was meant by nesting sections.

I thought one of the drivers of this requirement was to be able
to model DocBook's nested sections more easily, but with the
suggested model, this would be even harder.

What are the benefits of this suggested model over simply allowing
section to contain section?


> -----Original Message-----
> From: jim.earley@flatironssolutions.com
> [mailto:jim.earley@flatironssolutions.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, 2007 October 30 7:15
> To: dita@lists.oasis-open.org
> Subject: [dita] Groups - DITA Proposed Feature #12021:
> Nesting sections (12021.html) uploaded
> This is the HTML version of proposal 12021
>  -- Mr. Jim Earley
> The document named DITA Proposed Feature #12021:  Nesting sections
> (12021.html) has been submitted by Mr. Jim Earley to the OASIS Darwin
> Information Typing Architecture (DITA) TC document repository.
> Document Description:
> View Document Details:
> http://www.oasis-open.org/apps/org/workgroup/dita/document.php
> ?document_id=25904
> Download Document:  
> http://www.oasis-open.org/apps/org/workgroup/dita/download.php
> /25904/12021.html

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