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Subject: Re: DTD and template document
From: Arjan Loeffen <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:General discussion of Extensible Markup Language <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 18 Mar 1999 11:43:45 +0100

text/plain (36 lines)

At 10:14 PM 3/17/99 +0000, you wrote:
>> I have a conceptual problem: Some reports are currently produced with
>> microsoft Word using a template file. In order to allow the reuse of the
>> information I would like to produce them in XML. I would like to keep
>> the concept of template file that I had in Word that give the report a
>> kind of structure with every section names already included.
>> Does the template must become my DTD (it will look like a very specific
>> DTD !!) or may I build some XML template file ?
>Yes, the template becomes two things: a DTD to guide/enforce the
>structure of the document, and a stylesheet (CSS or XSL) to provide
>the rendering. The two are combined in a Word template: in SGML
>systems they are usually maintained separately so that you can change
>appearance without having to mess with the document structure.

Correct. Framemaker+SGML (with some XML support) is a good example: It
reads DTD's into its own structure (the 'EDD'). This element-by-element
information is augmented with (mainly) style rules (here these rules are
very much 'intrinsic' to the element rules, this is a drawback of FM). Once
you have that packed and saved, you import them into a blank document and
from then on the document is governed by those element and style rules
(these are physically packed with the document). You can specifyu
additional formatting aspects to the template in order to improve
appearance. Save it as a template and you can reuse it in new documents
that are based on that template. Thus you can build templates on templates
and documents on templates.

We are using the system in a prototype phase in a large authoring project
in the Holland and it works. However we have some difficulties in
versioning the DTD's and documents. Because we think the XML DTD should be
authorative (and the EDD is derived from that), we must constantly 'update'
the edd <stress>and the templates</stress> to match the latest DTD version.
This is not a process that works smoothly. But anyway, that's a whole
different matter.


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