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Subject: Re: [dita] Revised content model options for #12011 - Generic TaskType

Hi Folks,

Apologies for being off the radar recently.

The <process> element was designed to accommodate at least two use cases:
- Those who find the current <step> content model to be to unnecessarily complex or constraining (particularly the required <cmd> element).

- Those who wish to represent tasks that don't fit into the declarative, single-procedure model that the current <task> presumes (e.g., trouble-shooting procedures, tasks with branches, if-then scenarios).

I acknowledge the name conflict issue with a future <process> specialization. However, I would object to removing this feature, or (at minimum) support for these use cases, from DITA 1.2. It was vetted and approved by the TC.

Alan Houser, President
Group Wellesley, Inc.

JoAnn Hackos wrote:
72E2EA99C8FA4F4B930539BF7939C6DF0196925A@CSI001.Comtech.local" type="cite">
Hi Bob,
I tend to agree with you. I cannot find any rationale in the memos (so far) for the <process> alternative in task. I can't think of what it's supposed to handle that cannot already be handled by steps or steps-unordered. Haven't heard back from Alan Houser, however, who originally proposed it.
Michael is also checking the email archives.
I'd be in favor of your proposal to chuck it at this point. I think it just creates confusion for authors.

JoAnn T. Hackos, PhD
Comtech Services, Inc.
710 Kipling Street, Suite 400
Denver CO 80215



From: Bob Thomas [mailto:bob.thomas@tagsmiths.com]
Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 1:02 PM
To: JoAnn Hackos; Michael Priestley
Cc: dita@lists.oasis-open.org
Subject: RE: [dita] Revised content model options for #12011 - Generic Task Type

Please pardon my intrusion (I'm a TC observer). I have a couple of objections to adding 'process' as specified in #12011.

There really needs to be a rationale for this that includes the semantic intent for 'process'. If allowing 'ol' and 'ul' inside of 'task' is the only rationale, then you would be better off adding 'section' to 'taskbody'. In any event, I would rather do neither.

My other objection is a bit more fundamental. In Information Mapping®, process is considered to be an information type just like concept or task (procedure). While I do not think that the TC necessarily needs to honor that distinction, it ought not to lightly dismiss it. The notion of process as an information type suggests that a section-level implementation of 'process' in DITA would be inappropriate. If the TC goes ahead and implements 'process', as proposed in #12011, it would preclude anybody else from creating a topic-level specialization for process.

In the Information Mapping® compatible DTD that I worked on 10 years ago, the content model for process was quite similar to the one for procedure (task); the key difference being that a process had 'stage' elements rather than 'step' elements.


Bob Thomas
Tagsmiths, LLC
+1 720 201 8260

--- On Wed, 11/12/08, Michael Priestley <mpriestl@ca.ibm.com> wrote:
From: Michael Priestley <mpriestl@ca.ibm.com>
Subject: RE: [dita] Revised content model options for #12011 - Generic Task Type
To: "JoAnn Hackos" <joann.hackos@comtech-serv.com>
Cc: dita@lists.oasis-open.org
Date: Wednesday, November 12, 2008, 11:00 AM

Hi JoAnn,

The rationale below is to allow <ol> and <ul> into taskbody. In other words, if someone wants to create a task with a simple <ol> instead of the more prescriptive <steps>, the <process> element allows them to do so.

Michael Priestley, Senior Technical Staff Member (STSM)
Lead IBM DITA Architect

"JoAnn Hackos" <joann.hackos@comtech-serv.com>

11/12/2008 12:06 PM

Michael Priestley/Toronto/IBM@IBMCA, <dita@lists.oasis-open.org>

RE: [dita] Revised content model options for #12011 - Generic Task Type

Hi Michael,
The email from Alan provides no rationale for the <process>, just shows the syntax. Let me know if any of the minutes show the rationale or any examples. I’ve written Alan but haven’t received a response as yet.
JoAnn Hackos PhD
Comtech Services, Inc.
Skype joannhackos

From: Michael Priestley [mailto:mpriestl@ca.ibm.com]
Tuesday, November 11, 2008 9:22 AM
Fw: [dita] Revised content model options for #12011 - Generic Task Type


Re discussion today about elements in general task - found this, which provides a bit of background on process - will check meeting minutes from around this time.

Michael Priestley, Senior Technical Staff Member (STSM)
Lead IBM DITA Architect

----- Forwarded by Michael Priestley/Toronto/IBM on 11/11/2008 11:21 AM -----

Alan Houser <arh@groupwellesley.com>

12/11/2007 11:01 AM

[dita] Revised content model options for #12011 - Generic Task Type



I submit this message for possible discussion at today's
(11-December-2007) DITA TC meeting. Below is a summary of proposed
content models that will support proposal #12011 -- Generic Task Type.
These content models are the result of recent discussion on the DITA TC

- Optional, repeatable <note> allowed before <cmd>
- <taskbody> allows only a single <steps> element
- New <process> element to permit <ol>/<ul> constructions in <taskbody>

Proposed content models:
(steps | steps-unordered | process),
(Issue: allow <section> before and after <steps>?)

Support <section> between steps:
(section?, step)+

Support optional, repeatable <note> before cmd:
(info | substeps | tutorialinfo | stepxmp |  choicetable | choices)*,
Issue: allow <itemgroup> in <step>?

(section?, (ol | ul))+
Issue: this would allow multiple ol/ul elements.

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