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Subject: RE: [dita] Product names and reuse

Title: Email signature standard

Yes, I like the term and glossary approach.  If the name of the feature (term name) is changed, then you can use a “who references me” on the glossary entry and read the topics to ensure that they still make sense.  If the meaning of the feature name changes significantly then there will be problems so all its contexts have to be checked.

For plurals and possessives or other alternative forms of the term the link or glossref key should go to the appropriate glossAlt/glossShortForm entry.   Note, glossShortForm is not fully appropriate but I see no other more appropriate tag.


If we can use a fragment identifier in the glossref href then this linking to different forms could be like this:


<glossref keys="front.panel.plural" href="">


For translation, it sounds like there are potential problems with word inclusion mechanisms such as this term one.  Unless translation tools also let the translator view the “who references me” to review the contextual effect of their translations these problems may persist and the entire word inclusion mechanism is brought into question for translation output.


From: dita@lists.oasis-open.org [mailto:dita@lists.oasis-open.org] On Behalf Of Mark Poston
Sent: January-16-13 2:58 AM
To: dita@lists.oasis-open.org
Subject: Re: [dita] Product names and reuse




I would be interested to understand more about how, in your unbiased opinion, these issues can be resolved in DITA. Or, indeed, whether you think that they cannot be resolved and need the support of 3rd party tools when translation is required.


In a project I have recently been working on we came to the conclusion that reuse methodologies were not appropriate due to the reasons you have stated. The translation vendor concerned raised their concerns about having to translate reused terms (not just product names).


The actual solution was more about having to translate terminology whilst still needing to link to glossary entries. The result was that we used <term> tags to link to glossary entries. Where no content was defined in the term, the value could be pulled from the glossary entry itself. This gave the translators, however, the ability to do what they needed within the scope of the <term> tag.


This solution, however, would still fall apart if names or terms completely changed.


I can't see that there can be a completely DITA-based solution to this issue, especially when translation is required.


Kind regards


Mark Poston

Senior Technical Consultant

Mekon Ltd.

Tel. +44 20 8722 8461

Mob +44 7515 906032

Skype mark_mekon.com


From: Andrzej Zydron <azydron@xtm-intl.com>
Organization: XTM-INTL
Date: Tuesday, 15 January 2013 18:34
To: "dita@lists.oasis-open.org" <dita@lists.oasis-open.org>
Subject: Re: [dita] Product names and reuse


Hi Troy,

Thank you for this interesting post. Your mechanism will work for English, and the small group of languages with a similar primitive morphology. Unfortunately it will fall apart when you come to translate the XML content into any language with a richer morphology - the resultant output will produce ungrammatical output and the cost of recovery from this will be extensive.

English is a linguistic freak (a fact that is lost on most monolingual English speakers) which allows for the relative easy substitutions that you described. I you plan to translate your content into other languages this is not a practical possibility.

Best Regards,

Andrzej Zydroń



XTM International Ltd.

PO Box 2167, Gerrards Cross, SL9 8XF, UK

email: azydron@xtm-intl.com              

Tel: +44 (0) 1753 480 479

Mob: +44 (0) 7966 477 181

skype: Zydron



Description: Description:




On 15/01/2013 15:20, Troy Klukewich wrote:

I've been watching people hack DITA for years trying to deal with product and sometimes feature names in a consistent XML-like way.

Prior to DITA, I worked on a similar XML architecture (concept/task/reference) with a custom processing kit. With numerous product names and feature names in an almost continual state of flux, we decided to treat product names and feature names as global variables with a mapping file for the literal strings (in English). The literal product and feature names were then inserted at build time and appeared in the output. (We used editor maps to virtually display the same content in the authoring editor for the convenience of writers.)

The inherent problem with this approach is that the mapped strings must be translatable. As products and features can have plurals and possessives, these must also be handled in the mapping file and accounted for in the variable element.

It is not permissible for instance to have a construct like: <varProduct>s or <varProduct>'s appear in the XML content as translators will translate the mapping file elsewhere and not be able to easily reconcile the plurals and possessives in the content itself. (I think these were the only variations we had to worry about, but it's been a while I admit.)

So we expanded the variables schema to include attributes for plurals and possessives in the variable elements themselves, which the writers selected at authoring time. This required some training as the process is a little abstract. You do not for instance add an apostrophe to the product XML element when building a possessive, but select an attribute in the editor and let the build do it.

The mapping file then contained base product and feature names plus their plural and possessive forms.

A build engineer maintained the mapping files and creation of new variable codes supporting first instance of new features and product names. We had workflow where writers would contact the engineer when needing a new variable value that was not already covered, though most were set up at the beginning of a release with the identification of new products and features.

The upside of this approach is that the output for product or feature names was entirely automated. If feature or product names changed late, as often happens in the software industry, we tweaked the mapping file at build time and the writers didn't have to do anything at all.

As far as graphics and special formatting in some product and feature names went, we handled this purely at build time with special processing instructions for the applicable variables. Otherwise, we're really talking about desktop publishing practices in XML and I'm not sure if DITA should inherently support this or if those features should be handled with a custom processing chain for those particular elements. Strictly speaking, formatting and graphics are a rendering operation during build time. In XML, writers shouldn't have to care about how to format a product name or add special graphics to it. That's my philosophy as an anti-DTP guy.

I'm sure there are other ways to accomplish the same thing, but this global mapping architecture worked really well, saved a lot of time, and was just generally really convenient all around for everybody once implemented.

In short, I inherently think of product and feature names as variables and whatever architecture handles and processes them must be able to address the issues of variables in text.

Troy Klukewich
Manager & Information Architect
Fusion HCM
Oracle Corporation

On 1/14/2013 1:43 PM, Kristen James Eberlein wrote:

A thread about difficulty in reusing products names has cropped up on the dita-users list.

Problem descriptions
1) Information architects or editors design a reuse strategy that revolves around using the <ph> element to hold product names. They then discover that they cannot put a <ph> element within any of the following elements:

  • <uicontrol>
  • <wintitle>

2) Another team decides to use <keyword> to hold their product names -- better choice -- but they also discover that they cannot put a keyword element within a <wintitle> element; they have to duplicate their product names within <text> elements for use within <wintitle> elements. And the <tm> element is not available within <text>.

3) Yet another team is stymied because their product name contains typographic formatting (superscript, subscript, bold or italic formatting, an inline image) that cannot be contained in either the <keyword> or <text> element. And while the text element can nest, the @outputclass attribute is not available.

Architects and the writers are caught between a strong desire to reuse content and ensure that product names are consistently used, and a need to have their company's name render correctly.

Thoughts about how we might try to address this problem? And sense about how big (or small) this problem is?



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