Advanced Technical Writing 2006. Session #3. Today in Class…. Teams pitch poster concepts: Meet with your editorial team, show us how your material fits with the whole concept Brief intro to XML Basics of Topic-Based Authoring. A brief introduction to XML. As customized as necessary &
As customized as necessary
As generalized as possible
* Well formed, but not valid XML…
XML allows you to define the pieces of information (or objects, as we came to know them last week) that make up a document in such a way as to allow both humans and machines to recognize them and act upon them
For machines, XML defines the logical structure of the document, giving names to things so they can be recognized (parsed) or referenced in conditional statements, etc
…for people, it provides a way to describe what I’d rather call the rhetorical structure of the document
An xml document is made valid when a Document Type Definition (or Schema) is present that describes types of elements and the relationships among elements for the document
This involves recreating the manual as a set of “topics”...each is stored as an XML file
Bill is transforming a set of training materials, shipped as PDF files on a CD, for publication on the web
The XSLT transforms XML into HTML + CSS for display in a browser
Bill then creates an XSLT document that describes how the web-based version should look
Manual Style Rules
He will later create a separate XSLT for the PDF versions…
Bill doesn’t worry, using the new DTD, all he has to do is create a new set of style rules.
Bill’s editor wants the files in a printable format…
DTDs are the place where XML tag sets are defined. They are pretty powerful meta-documents that determine what the folks reading and writing XML documents of a particular type can and cannot include, search for, etc.
DITA is defined in a DTD (as well as the more muscular cousin of the DTD, a Schema)
We can consider DTD’s, or their newer and more flexible counterparts called XML Schema, as workspaces. They define conceptual and physical boundaries for content developers
Their design is a critical task for the content specialist. Well wrought DTD’s & Schema can greatly impact the both user experience, the development cycle, and, hence, the business/mission.
The following slide lists roles that team members might play in a content-production situation where DITA is in use.
Read more here:
Type architect - Analyzes topic types needed to accommodate content being produced, and defines new topic types if needed.
Topic writer - Writes and edits topics, according to the topic-type standards established for the project by the XML architect.
Information architect - Analyzes the overall structure of the content, groups it into topic collections, and defines maps that describe the relationship of topics to each other.
Build developer - Processes the DITA source topics into various formats, as needed for product deliverables.
Information designer - Establishes the "look and feel" of the output presentation.
Think about the poster we are making. Come up with some XML tags to describe the semantic structure of the poster
A DTD is just a list of declarations. Let’s consider three common types :
<!DOCTYPE document_name […the rest of the dtd here]>
2. Then come declarations of document ELEMENTs.
<!ELEMENT element_name (#data_type)>
3. Finally, there may be declarations for ATTRIBUTES of an ELEMENT.
<!ATTLIST parent_element attribute_name data_type #default_value>
[<!ELEMENT book (author, date, publisher)>
<!ELEMENT author (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT date (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT publisher (#PCDATA)>
<!ATTLIST publisher pname CDATA #REQUIRED>
<!ATTLIST publisher pcity CDATA #REQUIRED>
Quite simply, it is html redescribed as an XML DTD. Or another way to say it is that XHTML is the current default web DTD.
The xml stylesheet specification. XSLT is a very robust spec for transforming an XML document of one type into one of another type…meaning you can do more than just “style” information for display, you can also change it into other forms.
An article on eBookWeb about XML, structure, and content.
If you have it handy, you can read Rockley Ch. 14 and Ch. 20.