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Subject: DocBook Technical Committee Meeting Minutes: 21 February 2007

[It appears that I forgot to send these out last month]

DocBook Technical Committee Meeting Minutes: 21 February 2007

The DocBook Technical Committee met on Wednesday, 21 February 2007 at
05:00p EST (02:00p PST, 22:00GMT, 22:00BST, 23:00CEST, 07:00JST+,
03:30a India+) for 90 minutes.


1. Roll call

Present: Steve Cogorno, Gary Cornelius, Patricia Gee,Paul
Grosso, Dick Hamilton, Nancy Harrison, Scott Hudson,
Gershon Joseph, Jirka Kosek, Larry Rowland, Bob Stayton,
Norman Walsh

2. Accepted the minutes[1] of the previous meeting.

3. Next meeting: 21 March 2007

No regrets.

4. Review of the agenda.

Change item 10 to "Create a subcommittee for professional publishing".

5. Review of open action items

  a. Scott to repost to the mailing list if info as first
     child of HTML table creates problems.

  b. Scott to repost the ackno-in-book proposal (RFE 1588693)
     to the mailing list for feedback and perhaps element name suggestions.

  c. Bob to propose workaround for #1626321 to originator.

  d. Norm to create a new DB5 candidate release with
     caption on cals table and informaltable, title and
     titleabbrev in qandaentry, expand HTML table caption
     content model to match titles, and allow empty glossary.

  e. Bob to put topics/tasks discussion near top of agenda.

6.  New OASIS rules.

Bob reported on some new OASIS TC Process rules put
forth by James Bryce Clark to take effect 1 March 2007.

7.  Registered MIME type for DocBook XML? [2]

This request has been around for while. Norm found that
an RFC needs to be written.

ACTION: Norm to write an RFC for registering a DocBook MIME type.

8.  Topics and tasks in DocBook

The Chair thanked the Secretary for putting together
the list of references for review before the meeting.

Bob: the original RFE was for task as a sibling of section,
and a topic element is one possible solution, but it may
not satsify the RFE.

Bob: Norm proposed a topic element, I proposed an
alternative topic model, then Jirka proposed a
content map model that uses existing DocBook elements.
A map would be outside DocBook schemas, and may have
processing expectations.

Norm: The TC only does schema elements and attributes, not
processing tools.

Nancy: it would be useful for DocBook to provide modular
documentation features.

Gershon: Some commercial content management systems can manage
section elements as units and assemble them into documents.
Demonstrates that existing elements can be used.

Scott: agrees that existing elements can be used, with
Jirka's proposal for mapping.

Steve: Solbook is now an open source schema, and it has topics.

Paul: topic adds a very different document structure; use DITA
if you need it.

Steve: if a group has needs for both books and topics, it is
not practical to support both DocBook and DITA.

Nancy:  how does section differ from topic?

Pat: section depends on content around it to be understood,
and topic is standalone.

Steve: topic is more simple than section.

Norm: Using an existing element for a new purpose is often
done. If a new content model is needed, then that's a good
reason to create a new element. If just need a new name,
then that is not sufficient reason.

Steve: if it is a different element name, it is easier to
customize it without affecting the original element.

Dick: it might be better if we had specific content models to

Norm: the existing proposals have some of that.

Gary: liked Jirka's proposal, with a separate component for
document assembly, like Website.  What is missing is
related information mechanism, perhaps a controlled
vocabulary of topic classes.

Jirka: user requirements for such mechanism are very different, it's
better to use knowledge management technology like Topic Maps.

Nancy: can we have a straw poll on whether DocBook should
provide support for modular documentation?

Bob: agrees, would like to know how the current use of
DocBook for modular documentation does not suffice.

Larry: Already using existing elements for modules, and
developed a supplemental markup in a separate file to specify
hierarchy and relationships among modules.

Steve: modular sections already work for online help, but
element names can trip up authors who thinks they are
book oriented element names.

Straw poll: Are you in favor of extending DocBook to have
better support for modular documentation?
yes: 11
no:  1

Straw poll: Do you want to add a topic element similar
to the proposals (details to be settled)?
yes: 4
no:  8

The committee would rather pursue Jirka's proposal for
assembling existing elements as modules.
Suggested Jirka file a new RFE.

Regarding the original RFE 1097183-Allow task as a
sibling of section: a straw poll was taken:
yes: 2
no:  9
abstain: 1

The RFE was rejected.

9.  info in html tables (continued from last meeting)

Scott posted to the mailing list to get
information about potential impact,but got no response.

Straw poll:
yes: 5
no: 2
abstain: 4

Some are still worried about impact on tools.
Paul says it won't work in the Arbortext table editor.
[Paul checked later, and said "It turns out it isn't much of a
problem to allow info as an optional first child of an
HTML table.  (There are some glitches, but not too bad
and fixable.)"]

ACTION: Scott to  create a test file and try it with
various XML editors.

10.  Create a subcommittee to explore extending
     DocBook to professional publishing.

Scott has 8 potential members beside himself.

ACTION: Scott to work on creating a subcommittee charter
to submit to the TC.

Meeting adjourned at 6:30 EST.

11.  Review of Requests for Enhancement

    To browse a specific RFE, enter the URL (on one line):


      1097183  Allow Task as a sibling of sections
      1588693  Allow ackno in book
      1626321  Add a frame attribute to entrytbl element
      1641607  Add values for (table|informaltable)/@frame
      1644553  Add a label attribute to all elements with caption


[1] http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/docbook-tc/200701/msg00021.html
[2] http://www.oasis-open.org/archives/docbook/200702/msg00002.html

Bob Stayton
Sagehill Enterprises
DocBook Consulting

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