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

Sean Wheller wrote:

> I can't see the problem with modularity. XInclude and XPointer enable 
> virtually any node to be included by reference in a document. That is 
> providing that it is valid to include at that position, not break the valid 
> rule.
> Using the possabilities of XPointer provides an excellent solution for modular 
> docbook.

I think that there are two levels of modularity. One is on physical 
level where you want to assembly document from smaller fragments stored 
in a separate files. For this purposes XInclude is sufficient.

But you might also think about modularity from logical level where you 
want to create small self-contained information modules that can be 
later combined together in a various ways. This is approach taken by 
DITA and although I personally prefer more narrative documents there are 
users who prefer such approach for technical documents writing.

If we want to support such type of documents in DocBook I think it is 
better to devote new topic element for this instead of using section. 
Sections can contain leading text before nested section which is 
something what should be forbidden from principle in documents assembled 
from self-contained topics.

I think that we should add support for topic based authoring into 
DocBook incrementally. We can start with adding topic element as Norm 
proposed and support two types of topics (selected by @class attribute): 
general topic and task topic (to accommodate RFE). If users will start 
to use this approach to document design we can later add more types of 
topics (reference, glossary) or even create first class elements from them.

Similar approach could be taken for "contentmap" element used for 
specifying assembly of topics. We can start with a very minimalistic 
approach and later can add more features. For example, current DocBook 
Website document type is in principle a very similar to topic/contentmap 
architecture. I can imagine that both website and slides could be later 
merged into this proposed topic-oriented DocBook feature.


   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
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                    Nejbližší termíny školení:
     ** XSLT 23.-26.10.2006 ** XML schémata 13.-15.11.2006 **
      ** DocBook 11.-13.12.2006 ** XSL-FO 11.-12.12.2006 **
   http://xmlguru.cz    Blog mostly about XML for English readers

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