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Subject: Re: [docbook] Add topic element to DocBook?

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Hi all,

answering to original post even though I take into account other answers.
General remark: I consider DocBook to be already super rich. And that's
an euphemism: it makes hard to push it to newcomers, especially when
compared to other XML tech doc grammars.

Norman Walsh a écrit :


> If we decide to do so, I think something along the following lines
> fits into the design of DocBook:
> 1. Add a <topic> element with the same content model as <section>
>    except that where section allows (sect1|section|simplesect), we
>    allow <topic>. So a topic contains subtopics analagous to the way a
>    section contains subsections.

I tend to concur with Doug here: why couldn't a topic be structured in
sections? Since a topic is meant to have a specific semantic meaning,
one might not want to organize his topic information in [your semantic
meaning of topic here].

> 2. Give topic a class attribute so that authors can have different
>    kinds of topics. DITA has all this funky weirdness about the
>    content models of various kinds of topics; I don't think we should
>    go there.

Agreed, one can always implement schematron rules to enforce project
specific requirements.

> 3. Allow topic as an alternative to (chapter|appendix|preface) in books.
>    This allows one to have a book of topics.

Wouldn't that wipe the main difference between a book and an article?

> 4. Allow topic as an alternative to (sect1|section|simplesect) in
>    chapters and appendixes. This allows one to have a chapter of
>    topics.

Given the above and the obvious similarity between a section and a
topic, I'd rather suggest to specialize the section element with an
attribute (type="topic"?). That would allow further specializing section
(which is a renowned modular element).

> As a slight extension of this model, we could also add a <tasktopic>
> element. This would address the feature request[1] for "task" as a
> peer to "section". If we did this, then I'd expect "topic" or
> "tasktopic" to be allowed anywhere I've mentioned topic above.

Wouldn't a topic containing a task serve the same purpose?

> Given that topics are often composed in a fairly arbitrary order for
> publishing in print, we might want to consider adding a "contentmap"
> element as well for describing the order of topics. But we might be
> able to get "toc" to serve this purpose.

How would that differ from an article containing a hierarchy of sections
and xincludes to topics?

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