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Subject: Re: [docbook] alternative topic proposal

Bob Stayton wrote:

> Actually, topicref is an element, not an attribute.  And topicref
> does not contain any content of its own.  Perhaps
> I need to show an example.  Here is how a chapter from my book:
>   http://www.sagehill.net/docbookxsl/Catalogs.html
> might be authored as topicrefs.  Each of the hrefs points to
> an XML file that contains a single topic element.

That helps, but where do topics come in? That example just shows topicrefs.

> I don't think it is possible to create a chapter file like
> this using XIncludes and section files.  If you import
> a section at level1, then that section file must
> contain the XIncludes for any sections at level2 under it.

Yes, that's correct. It's  a different way of organizing the same thing. 
  Both seem to have advantages and disadvantages.

> I think this is a simple and elegant way to create modular content
> using familiar DocBook elements and two new elements,
> topic and topicref.

I'm starting to see the usefulness of this, but I'm still not convinced 
this should be part of core DocBook. The processing model is bad enough 
now with XInclude, but at least that's almost orthogonal to DocBook.

Perhaps there should be a completely separate spec for organizing topics 
and topicrefs which is not part of core DocBook? This would be a master 
document that used topicrefs to indicate where to place other articles, 
sections, chapters, and files?  In fact isn't this really just a form of 
an extended XLink?

I've toyed with this sort of thing for organizing course notes and slide 
shows. It really seems to require custom processing. I.e. you can't pull 
this off with XSLT 1, and maybe not easily with XSLT 2. Consequently I 
tend to doubt it should be baked into the core.

´╗┐Elliotte Rusty Harold  elharo@metalab.unc.edu
Java I/O 2nd Edition Just Published!

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