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Subject: Re: DOCBOOK: Re: New element for Step alternatives?

Norman Walsh said:
> If you don't allow stepalternatives at the top level, you've made the
> first step in a procedure different from all the other steps. I don't
> see any compelling reason to do that.

Please excuse me for jumping in the middle of this discussion mid-stream,
especially on my first posting to the DocBook alias.  Now that I am
representing Sun Microsytems, I'd like to clarify a bit what we were asking
for in proposing the step alternatives.

> I don't see how that's the case. If procedure is:
> <!ELEMENT procedure (..stuff.., (step+|stepalternatives))>

The model we proposed was:

  <!ELEMENT procedure (...stuff..., (step+))>
  <!ELEMENT step (...stuff..., stepalternatives?))>

> <procedure>
>   <para>some interesting preamble</para>
>   <stepalternatives>
>     <step><para>do this</para></step>
>     <step><para>or do this</para></step>
>   </stepalternatives>
> </procedure>

Here's an psuedo-example that demonstrates the need that we have:

  1. Create a new user account on the system.
  2. Set the password for this account using one of the following
     - Using the administration GUI, select "Set Password."
     - Modify the /etc/shadow file to contain the new password.

(Please excuse the trite content and wording - I'm just making up an example
to demonstrate the need.)

The two lines that start with a dash are the step alternatives.  We are
currently using itemized lists, but this isn't intutive at all.  Many
writers user substeps instead, and this is very problematic because the
output ends up as:


The "a." and "b." labels are inappropriate because letters always convey a
sequence not a choice.
I hope this clears up our intention with the original proposal.

Steve Cogorno
Sun Microsystems

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