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Author Topic: Using DITA properties tables  (Read 6667 times)
dbergin
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« on: February 10, 2010, 10:41:08 PM »

I am attempting to enter content into a DITA properties table in XMetal 6.0. The properties table consists of three columns: <proptype/> <propvalue/> and <propdesc/>. I want to enter multiple values for one type. The help says this: To represent multiple values for a type, just create additional property elements and use only the <propvalue> element (and <propdesc> when needed) for each successive value.

When I do this, however, the table gets messed up. XMetal does not seem to allow this. I would expect the rows under <proptype> to span, so that you can show the "one type to many values" relationship, but I can't seem to make that happen.

Does anyone have any insight? Thanks!
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Derek Read
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« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2010, 06:45:43 PM »

Editing of the properties table type is currently quite limited in functionality. Essentially you should be able to safely type values into "cells" (proptype, propval, propdesc elements for example). If you need more "rows" (property elements) you can place the cursor at the very end of any content inside the last "cell" of a "row" and press Enter. If you place the cursor anywhere else in the table and press Enter one of two things will probably occur:

1. If the cursor is inside some textual content that content will be split. If no other elements were already present (ie: no <p> for example) you will end up with the first 1/2 of the original text followed by the second half wrapped inside a <p>, otherwise you may end up with two empty elements (if that element was allowed to be split), such as <p></p> followed by a new <p></p> for example.

2. If the cursor is contained directly within a "cell" that is not the last "cell" in a "row" the table will be messed up. In this case you can either undo the last action (best) or try to fix the table using the "Repair Table Structure" function located in the Table menu. This function works OK provided the properties table is not messed up too much.

We're working on improving this functionality for a future release, with the goal of making the "Repair Table Structure" function unnecessary (it is really only meant to be a stopgap measure).
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dbergin
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Posts: 2


« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2010, 09:21:17 AM »

Derek, thanks for your reply. I am not sure, however, that you addressed my question. What I want to do is "span rows" in the properties table, and right now that is not working. Should this work? Is there a way to get it to work? Or do I just need to use a regular "table" if I want to span rows?

Thanks!
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Derek Read
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« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2010, 03:08:28 PM »

After having a look at the DTDs and the DITA Language Reference I don't see anything that would let you do something equivalent to row (or cell) spanning. The only table type that will really allow this as far as I can tell is the "Normal" type (which is based on the OASIS CALS table specification and allows spanning).

If you want to check the DITA Language Reference yourself (for this or any other element) we include a copy with the product so you can easily check on specific elements by placing your cursor inside that element and pressing Alt+F1.
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Rob Hanna
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« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2011, 03:50:35 PM »

I am having a similar problem with Properties. Inside my environment - working with XMetaL and a CMS, I am unable to access the code view from the editor. This seemingly makes it impossible to modify the properties table.

The way that the properties table works is that it is supposed to look for <proptype>, <propval>, or <propdesc> and assemble the table row accordingly within <property>.

For example, the first <property> (row) contains all three <proptype>, <propval>, and <propdesc>. This results in a table with one row containing three cells. Next <property> contains only <propval> and <propdesc>. This should result in a two row table with three columns. The first cell spans into the next row. This is how you are supposed to represent two sets of values and descriptions with a single property represented by a property type (Property A).

+---------------+-------------------+------------------+
| Property A    | Value 1             | Desc 1             |
|                    +-------------------+------------------+
|                    | Value 2             | Desc 2             |
+---------------+-------------------+------------------+

MY PROBLEM
Inserting a properties table using XMetaL automatically inserts a three-column table with headings. I cannot delete the propval column in XMetaL.

My target properties table features only labels (types) and descriptions - there are no values. There are obviously other less semantically accurate markup I can use but I want to use the appropriate and valid DITA content. As stated above, I cannot access the code to manually fix the properties table in the source due to limitations in my environment.

Can you please help me find a workaround!

Cheers,
Rob Hanna
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Rob Hanna
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Posts: 3


« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2011, 04:16:24 PM »

I seem to have solved my own problem.

There is a cursor location in the table from where you can delete the proceeding cell (and subsequently re-insert it from the element list). The trick here is with the properties heading row. For some reason, the cell has to be empty before you can delete it - after you delete the contents it can be removed without any problem.

Cheers,
Rob Hanna

(BTW I am using XMetaL 6.0.1.030)
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