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Subject: Questions about RFE 3368279

Hi folks,

In RFE #3368279


Bob says:

  When modularizing documentation, it is sometimes necessary to create
  empty modular elements whose content will be supplied during the
  assembly process. For example, a chapter might not need any
  introductory paragraphs and so just begin with the first section. If
  the chapter and sections are all in modular files that are put
  together with the new assembly element, then the chapter should
  contain only a title (and other info elements). However, such a
  nearly empty chapter does not currently validate, because a chapter
  must have either block content or sections (or both). To better
  support modularity, a chapter should be permitted to be empty of
  content. The same is true of appendix, preface, section, and topic.

  I propose that the content models be modified in 5.1 to allow for
  nearly empty elements.

And we agreed to these changes. But now as I sit down to actually make them,
I realize that I have questions and concerns:

1. The RFE asks us to allow a chapter to be empty, but also says the
   chapter might just contain title or an info.

   Is the request to allow this:


   Or this:

      <chapter><title>Hello Dennis</title></chapter>

   Or both?

2. The RFE calls out chapter, appendix, preface, section, and topic. I
   assume section convers all the sectioning elements. Is this really
   enough elements? What about part, partintro, refentry, refsection,
   etc.? What about simplesect, sidebar, blockquote, and procedure?
   How are we selecting the elements?

3. Ugh. There's something about this change that really makes me feel
   uncomfortable. "Required bag of stuff" OR "empty" just feels wrong.
   And that's before I even start to think about what that means for
   the DTD/XSD content models.

This is something that only occurs in assemblies, right? So, in fact,
do we even want plain, old ordinary DocBook documents to include empty

Is this supposed to be valid?

  <book xmlns="http://docbook.org/ns/docbook";>
  <title>My Title</title>

Maybe we should just publish an assembly customization layer that
allows this:

  include "assembly.rnc"
    { db.chapter |= db.empty.chapter }

  db.empty.chapter = element db.chapter
     { db.chapter.attlist, db.chapter.info?, db.chapter.contentmodel? }


                                        Be seeing you,

Norman Walsh <ndw@nwalsh.com>      | Fast. Cheap. Well. Pick two.
http://www.oasis-open.org/docbook/ | 
Chair, DocBook Technical Committee |

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