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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Nothing To Say?

I haven't posted in a long while, what with the holidays and work and vacation and being sick and ...

Since the first of the year I've been very busy with client work, most of it DITA-related (creating sophisticated specializations, doing data analysis of documents that don't have an obvious mapping to DITA, etc.). Very interesting stuff--I've learned a lot about DITA and the Open Toolkit and XSD schemas but nothing that translates directly into pithy blog posts (although I do plan to write a tutorial on creating DITA specializations, which turns out to be remarkably easy once you get the pattern down).

In the meantime, I haven't really been doing much with any interesting technology nor have I seen much interesting coming down the pike (although Mike Kay's recent posting about assertions in XML Schema is pretty interesting--that could be very powerful if the Working Group can get it right). [And let me say that all the WS-* and identity standards stuff just bores me so totally to tears that I can't stand it--I'm sure it's important stuff but I just don't see how at the end of the day it's really going to matter much to our day to day and if it does I'm certainly not going to be anything other than a naive user of it....]

So I thought I should post something just to remind people that I'm still out here.

Some of the topics that are on my list to talk about, but that will require a good bit of time to discuss clearly and cogently, include:

- Why Norm just doesn't get what's wrong with DocBook and right with DITA, namely specialization

- So much more the DITA Open Toolkit could do with relationship tables

- Using DITA maps to model time-specific versions and similar configurations

- Reforming DITA's linking semantics and addressing infrastructure (a road map for DITA 2.0)

So here's hoping I have a little more time to write about these things in the future...

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Martin Polley said...

Very strange. The post date is 7 March, but it only showed up in my RSS Reader (Google Reader) today!

Anyhow, I look forward to what you have to say about reltables. (FWIW, I'd just like an intuitive, visual way to edit the damn things...)

Martin

12:47 AM  
Blogger Eliot Kimber said...

I haven't spent a lot of time working with reltables in the way that a typical author would, but both Arbortext Editor and XMetal seems to have pretty intuitive support for editing retables as tables and being able to do stuff like drag and drop topics or topicrefs into the table in order to populate a particular cell.

But I'd be very interested in know what specific features or requirements you have around reltables--they're going to get a more focus in general as more people come up to speed on DITA and move beyond simply creating maps to reflect their existing legacy structures.

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Martin Polley said...

My thinking is "why should a reltable editor look like a table editor?"

We're just talking about relationships between objects, so why not represent them in a more free-form way?

Why not just a cloud of topics (one instance per topic) with one-way or two-way arrows linking them together?

The actual functionality of reltables works fine for me. It's just their representation that is lacking.

In the editor I use (XXE) there is no visual clue about collection type or whether a particular topic is source-only or target-only. From what I have heard, XMetal is not much different.

I haven't used Arbortext, so I don't know whether it is any better in this regard.

11:54 AM  

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