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Subject: Re: [docbook-apps] Query re DocBook, XForms and Document Assembly

GARY Hoffman wrote:
> Second, regardless of the answer to the first part, is it possible to 
> use the html:form elements in a DocBook document in a manner similar to 
> document assembly programs (the most popular being HotDocs 
> (www.hotdocs.com <http://www.hotdocs.com>))? That is, is it possible to 
> have a DocBook document that is a template containing optional 
> provisions that are selected by the end-user?  For example, suppose you 
> have a standard form of a sales contract that is used by a hardware 
> vendor.  A document assembly program would permit a secretary (or 
> whatever) to prepare a contract tailored to a specific customer and/or 
> order.  Through a series of dialogues, the secretary provides the name, 
> address and other pertinent information regarding the customer and the 
> ordered goods.  In addition, the secretary may be given choices as to 
> specific contractual provisions, such as product warranties.  The 
> program would then "assemble" the document, which can be saved and 
> printed by a word processing program. 
> Any thoughts along these lines would be appreciated.

It depends on your target media and -formats. If DocBook would fit your 
bill you could create a simple web app (in Perl/Python/Ruby/PHP or etc) 
which generates forms (the "series of dialogues" you describe), and then 
generates the customized/personalized document. This DocBook document 
can then be transformed to TXT, XHTML, and/or PDF, depending on what 
should be sent to the recipient.

You could create a basic DBX skeleton then have the script feed it to an 
XSLT. The specific data ("information regarding the customer and the 
ordered goods") is sent to the script via URL parameters which passes it 
to the XSLT processor (eg an XSLT lib) as simple XSLT parameters.

In case you need someone to code that, contact me offlist :)


Vim Tip #583: Vim as XML Editor

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