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Subject: Re: [docbook-apps] Alternative to internal entities?

[I am reviving this thread to describe what I eventually did.]

On Fri, May 07, 2004 at 05:43:10PM +0900, Michael Smith wrote:

> Just came across this today:
>   Entity Definition Markup Language
>     http://www.talsever.org/xml/edml.html

That is certainly interesting.  (However, in Section 4, "Usage", they
do seem to acknowledge that every implementation idea would be either
impossible, difficult or ill-advised.  :-)

In the interests of getting something working now (well, three months
after the date-stamp on Michael's quote above, anyway!), I went with
(ab)using a processing instruction: <?entity?>.  My completely
minimalist solution is as follows:

1. I have a tiny schema for describing sets of entities.  I write an
XML instance describing my entities and their macro-like replacement
values (text or XML fragments).

2. I run an XSL transformation over the entity description file, the
output of which is an XSL stylesheet.

3. The XSL stylesheet produced in step 2 is for pre-processing the
source document containing these entity PIs.  It has a template to
recognise the PIs, and then substitute the replacement.  Otherwise it
is an identity transform, so if the input is DocBook, the output is

So it adds one transform step to the processing of a document.  It
does not implement any of Michael's clever suggestions like fetching
the entities from a URL, but it works.

If anyone wants to see the code, I can put it up somewhere and post
the URL to the list.


w  http://logicsquad.net/
h  http://paul.hoadley.name/

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