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Subject: RE: [dita] Inheritance of attributes through mapref

Regarding merging vs. overriding for conditional attributes, let’s consider the following example: You are creating a document for three audiences, A, B, and C. The map includes:


1) a topic that is common to all audiences

2) a topic in which the entire topic is for audience A only

3) a topic which does not apply to A at all, and contains some elements that apply only to B and some elements that apply only to C


If generating output for audience A, you will want to include topic 1 and 2. Topic 3 should not appear at all, not even in the TOC.

If generating output for audience B, you will want the TOC to include topic 1 and topic 3. Topic 3 should include any unconditional elements, include the elements that apply to B, and exclude the elements that apply only to C.


Currently the OT gives the desired behaviour if you set audience=”a” on the topicref to topic 2 and audience=”b c” on the topicref to topic 3. If we were to say that audience attribute values on a topicref are added to the conditional attributes within the target topic, you would not get the desired behaviour in this case, because when generating output for audience B, you would get all the content for audience C in topic 3. I have thought of trying to get the desired behaviour by explicitly conditionalizing all of the elements in topic 3 instead of putting conditions on the topicref, however this is not feasible because you cannot conditionalize element types such as <title>.


So I think this particular example supports a rule that conditional attribute values should be processed as the intersection as of the values on the topicref and the values on the further down the hierarchy. I think this is the rule which is actually implemented in the current OT.  






Su-Laine Yeo
Interaction Design Specialist

JustSystems Canada, Inc.
Office: 778-327-6356




> The two open questions are:

> 1) What about attributes like @audience, which take multiple values? If my

> map reference has audience="a b", and the map has audience="c", does "a b"

> override "c", or does this result in "a b c"? If the latter, we will need

> to come up with an authoritative list of which attributes act this way (as

> opposed to the override behavior of @toc and @linking).


Don’t we already have a list for the later case (merge)?  If an attribute value cascades and the attribute allows multiple values then. it merges.  If an attribute value cascades and the attribute does not allow multiple values. it overrides.


My goal here is just to make the rules for map to map cascading as much like the rules for other cascading as possible because that is more consistent and therefore easier to remember.  And while the DITA 1.1 spec. didn’t talk about map to map cascading explicitly, when it did talk about cascading more generally it talked about merging multi-valued attributes and overriding single values attributes. So it just seem unnec3essairly complicated to introduce a new case.  Note too that this question is about general cascading and that there are separate rules for conref behavior.

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