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Subject: Re: [docbook] Thoughts on DITA

Paul Prescod wrote:

> 1. Specialization: specialization brings the idea of subtyping to the
> document world. DITA's implementation of subtyping is clever in that
> it is much simpler than HyTime's and is independent of schema
> language. This means that it has a real chance of working well.
> Subtyping means that I can configure an editor, formatter, content
> management system or whatever to support DITA topics and you can send
> me a new kind of topic (perhaps an FAQ). My processor will handle that
> FAQ automatically: to the best of its abilities based on subtyping
> relationships. If the "best of its abilities" is not good enough then
> I can tighten up its configuration. But I always have the choice of
> falling back on default behaviours. I don't believe that DocBook has
> this feature.

I like idea of DITA specialization. But its implementation is really not 
well engineered. Specialization relies on fixed attributes in DTD. This 
is usually considered as a bad practise and makes it impossible to use 
modern schema languages like RELAX NG with DITA. Moreover I'm glad that 
I'm not maintaining DITA stylesheets. Instead of matching on element 
names, templates are matched on substring contained in an attribute. 
IMHO nightmare for stylesheet developer.

Of course at the time when DITA was developed this design was probably 
only one that can accomplish seamless support for specialization across 
different tools. But I can imagine much more cleaner implementation of 
specialization using XML schema inheritance and new XSLT 2.0 features. 
But of course this sort of technical elegance is not important for most 
of users. They simply want to type in and process their content.


   Jirka Kosek     e-mail: jirka@kosek.cz     http://www.kosek.cz
   Profesionální školení a poradenství v oblasti technologií XML.
      Podívejte se na náš nově spuštěný web http://DocBook.cz
        Podrobný přehled školení http://xmlguru.cz/skoleni/

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