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Subject: DocBook Technical Committee Meeting Minutes: 17 November 2010

DocBook Technical Committee Meeting Minutes: 17 November 2010

The DocBook Technical Committee met on Wednesday, 17 November 2010 at
01:00p EST (10:00a PST, 17:00GMT, 18:00BST, 19:00CEST, 02:00JST+,
022:30p India+) for 70 minutes.

1. Roll call

Paul Grosso, Dick Hamilton, Nancy Harrison, Scott Hudson,
Jirka Kosek, Larry Rowland, Bob Stayton, Norm Walsh

Regrets: Gershon Joseph

2. Accepted the minutes [1] of the previous meeting.

3. Next meeting: 15 December 2010

4. Review of the agenda.

Add discussion of the namespace usage policy statement.

5. Review of open action items

  a.  Norm to develop a proposal for maintaining the DocBook websites.

  b.  Bob to write up a short policy statement about the use
      of the DocBook namespace.

  c.  Bob to respond to RFE 3035565.

  d.  Norm to publish an online version of DocBook 5.0 doc.

  e.  Jirka to post the transclusion spec to docbook.org.

6.  Namespace usage policy

The committee agreed that the TC cannot police efforts by
users to add elements to the DocBook namespace in their
local applications.  They just should not call it DocBook
if they do.

The committee is proposing the following text submitted by
Norm to be included in the DocBook documentation:

"DocBook is used throughout the world. As one would expect in such a
broad context, DocBook is often customized to satisfy the requirements
of specific organizations or projects. The DocBook TC encourages such
customization and works hard to make sure that the schemas are as
amenable to customization as possible.

When customizers add new elements to DocBook, they often place those
elements in the DocBook namespace (http://docbook.org/ns/docbook).
There is historical precedent for this approach as DocBook's history
pre-dates namespaces and even XML. Even without precedent, users would
almost certainly encourage customizers to use the same namespace. In
many cases it simplifies authoring and almost always simplifies the
training of new authors.

However, a new element introduced into the DocBook namespace by a
local customization is not officially part of DocBook. Only the
DocBook TC can introduce new elements into DocBook officially by
publishing a new version of the standard with those elements.

That means that the practice of adding new elements comes with a cost:
the potential for confusion among authors familiar with different
customizations and the costs associated with resolving any conflicts
between interchange partners.

The DocBook TC encourages customizers to think carefully about these
costs and weight the potential tradoffs between unofficially adding
elements to DocBook and using elements in their own namespace with

ACTION: Norm to incorporate this into the official docs with
appropriate links to the "If you change DocBook, it's not
DocBook any more.

7.  Publishing Subcommittee report.

Scott said the publishing schema is now a published
Committee Specification and no further work will
be done on this version.   The specs and schemas
are available on the OASIS site. [4]
There are no plans to make this an OASIS spec.

8.  Reltables in modular DocBook.

Much discussion of Larry's reltable examples,
and reltables in general. Norm asked for explanations,
and Larry and Nancy provided them.
Norm finds reltables difficult to understand.
Larry says they have implicit relationships.
Bob mentioned that DITA has strongly typed topics
for the columns, but DocBook topics do not.
Nancy stated the goal: creating linking within
an assembly.  Larry found that doing the
samples showed some features that would be
useful, like directionality of links.

ACTION: Larry to use his experience from the
samples to create a fresh proposal for linking
within assembly.

9.  Transclusion in DocBook.

Please see Jirka's updated proposal and discussion thread. [2]

Continued to next meeting.

10.  Discussion of Larry's help example in assembly and @type proposal. [3]

Larry provided answers to questions.
Members could see the need to add a type attribute
to the assembly structure element.  

11.  Review of Requests for Enhancement

    To browse a specific RFE, enter the URL (on one line):


    RFEs to revisit for 6.0
      1907003  biblioid content model too broad  

    RFEs to be considered 
      1679665  Add better support for modular documentation  
      2820190  add a topic element  
      2820947  Ability to transclude text 
      3035565  Allow sections at any level  
      3107140  aconym expansion inline 

Meeting adjourned without discussion of RFEs.


[1] http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/docbook-tc/201010/msg00011.html
[2] http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/docbook-tc/201010/msg00001.html
[3] http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/docbook-tc/201009/msg00007.html
[4] http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=docbook-publishers

Bob Stayton
Sagehill Enterprises

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