DITA and XMetaL Discussion
cdybdahl February 4, 2010 at 8:52 pm
Applying conditions to map elements?February 4, 2010 at 8:52 pmParticipants 6Replies 7Last Activity 12 years, 4 months ago
Currently, conditional processing attributes must be applied to map elements by opening the map in XML view. However, it would be very nice to be able to do this from the map editor. In maps containing hundreds of topics, it is cumbersome (to say the least) to require writers to scroll through the document hunting for the topic(s) they need.
Are there any plans to add this as a feature, or any workarounds to make this task a little less cumbersome?Su-Laine Yeo February 5, 2010 at 12:37 am
Reply to: Applying conditions to map elements?February 5, 2010 at 12:37 am
For scrolling through a document looking for particular topics, the XML view should be as efficient as the Map Editor view, if not more. Can you elaborate on what makes it more cumbersome?
If you use the XML view a lot, you might want to set the option to make maps open in this view by default. You can do this in the Tools > DITA Options dialog, on the Map Editor tab.mzwecker February 5, 2010 at 8:27 am
Reply to: Applying conditions to map elements?February 5, 2010 at 8:27 am
I can support Su-Laine on this. In XML View of a map you can select multiple topic refs and condition them in one move. And if you use colors to show your various conditions (Reuse > Style Conditional Text), then you can get a nice view of “what's what” so to speak. Even if I could add conditions in Map Editor I don't think I would.cdybdahl February 5, 2010 at 5:06 pm
Reply to: Applying conditions to map elements?February 5, 2010 at 5:06 pm
The map editor is a very nice tool for organizing topics, and it provides a mechanism for applying a wide range of attributes to map elements. It seems strange to me that the attributes you are allowed to edit is constrained depending on the way the document is being viewed.
In my opinion, the map editor is a far more elegant way of working in general, and is definitely the preferred way amongst the users I support to work with maps. Given this preference, this means that they are required to change the view whenever they need to work with conditions on map elements.
I have had several writers ask if this was possible, and I have to wonder why such a wide variety of other attributes are available to edit from the map editor (scope, type, toc, and even otherprops are supported) but audience, platform, and product are not. Is this to avoid having to support specializations?
I'm not saying that the XML view is a bad way to work with maps, just that it seems less than elegant for my options to differ depending on where I'm working with a document.Derek Read February 5, 2010 at 7:26 pm
Reply to: Applying conditions to map elements?February 5, 2010 at 7:26 pm
Let me say that we agree (or I do anyway) — ideally the functionality of the map editor should be as close as possible to the standard document editing views (TagsOn and Normal), allowing you to choose which to use based on personal preferences rather than being forced to choose based on limitations.
We are working toward bridging this gap, but it will likely take a few releases to get there as we have some missing pieces that need to be put into place before the type of improvements we're talking about here can really be done properly.
However, obviously if they end up being identical there's not much point in having two views, so there will probably need to be some advantages of using one over the other.
To this end…I wonder what people like most about the map editor. Here are some reasons I can think of…
1) You like the location…
1a) You like the default window location (left side of the application inside the Resource Manager separate from DITA topics).
1b) You like to “float” the Resource Manager (containing the map editor) to place it on a second monitor.
1c) You like to “float” the Resource Manager (containing the map editor) to move it outside of XMetaL Author's main application window.
1d) You like being able to dock the Resource Manager in other locations (top, right, bottom).
1e) You like the separate menus in the map editor (File | Edit | Insert | Repository) that are specific to working with maps.
2) You like the rendering of DITA maps, and in particular…
2a) …you like the treeview structure.
2b) …you like the different icons for topic types (concept/task/topic/reference/), topichead, chapter, toc, etc.
3) You like to use it for locating and opening topics (ie: as a navigation tool) because you can…
3a) …double click to open referenced topics.
3b) …open items from your CMS.
4) You like to use it for editing maps because…
4a) …the icons help identify topic types.
4b) …the arrow buttons let you organize map content easily.
4c) …the treeview structure helps you organize maps in a more visual way.
5) You like how it is integrated with your CMS.
6) You like how it is integrated with XMetaL Reviewer.
7) Any other reasons…?cdybdahl February 5, 2010 at 9:20 pm
Reply to: Applying conditions to map elements?February 5, 2010 at 9:20 pm
Just to provide some feedback on this:
1) I'd say that I like the location because it keeps the map and content conceptually (and visually) separate. Having the option to move the map around wherever I want it is also nice. As for the separate map editor menus, I've actually found this to be a source of confusion, at least initially, for new users.
2) The rendering of the map is one particularly nice feature of XMetaL. It presents a familiar face to what for some writers is an unfamiliar (or even frightening) concept (XML generally). Having a visual indicator of the topic type is useful, as well.
3) 3a is the only one that applies to our configuration at this time, but yes on that.
4) All of the above. I also like how the map editor gives sort of a “preview” of the toc in PDF output and the navigation for the webhelp. This makes it easier for the writer to visualize what their results will be.Su-Laine Yeo February 5, 2010 at 10:36 pm
Reply to: Applying conditions to map elements?February 5, 2010 at 10:36 pm
Re: “I have had several writers ask if this was possible, and I have to wonder why such a wide variety of other attributes are available to edit from the map editor (scope, type, toc, and even otherprops are supported) but audience, platform, and product are not. Is this to avoid having to support specializations?”
That's a good question. For audience, platform, and product attributes, you can configure a list of allowed values for each attribute, and these values become checkboxes in the Apply/Remove Conditions dialog. Some Properties dialogs in XMetaL have a button which brings up the Apply/Remove Conditions dialog, however I've heard that adding this button to the map editor dialogs would not be very easy. Adding the button is in our longer-term plan.susan_carboni June 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm
Reply to: Applying conditions to map elements?June 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm
Is there any new information on this?
I'm maintaining 8 separate ditamap files for books that share much of (although not all of) their content because it is impossible in the Resource Manager pane to differentiate between topics with different conditional settings.
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