DITA and XMetaL Discussion

XMetaL Community Forum DITA and XMetaL Discussion Controlled Drop-Down Lists for Attribute Inspector othermeta element

  • rshubert

    Controlled Drop-Down Lists for Attribute Inspector othermeta element

    Participants 2
    Replies 3
    Last Activity 4 years, 2 months ago


    I ran across an ancient post on setting up drop-down lists in Attribute Inspector for XMetaL 6 here:

    Is there a procedure or pointer for doing something similar in XMetaL 12?

    Specifically I'd like to leverage a subject scheme so that an XMetaL user can set “content” values for a specific name with from a drop-down list rather than entering this as free-text fields which is prone to errors.

    Thanks in Advance.


    Derek Read

    Reply to: Controlled Drop-Down Lists for Attribute Inspector othermeta element

    That forum example should work in versions up to 13 (and continue to work thereafter). In general, customizations for older versions will continue to work for newer ones (provided APIs are used in the way they were designed). However, for DITA, and because you are asking specifically about subject schemes, I don't think that's the best option. For non-DITA DTDs I would still recommend that demo as a starting point (but see “Non-DITA” below). The DITA authoring customization also does not generally support this level of modification (as it is easy to break existing features when adding script).

    DITA Subject Schemes:
    Your best option might be to upgrade to XMetaL Author Enterprise version 13. In version 13 we added support for working with DITA subject schemes. You can create them (as a DITA document), manage them, and attach them to maps and topics. Once you have attached one to a document the values for that scheme are listed in the Attribute Inspector for the particular attributes defined in the subject scheme. The resulting UI is the same as you see for an attribute with enumerated values (ie: when the DTD defines an enumerated list of values for the attribute and not simply CDATA). If you download the trial version from the xmetal.com website you will get the current release (which is as of this posting version 13). Two new items appear on the Reuse menu (“Apply/Remove Subject Scheme” and “Show subjectScheme Manager”) and the documentation discusses the feature as well. If you try this feature, I would recommend using the example subjectScheme listed in the DITA documentation for the topic to start with (this is accessible via our F1 help, just search for “subjectScheme”).

    For Non-DITA:
    If that post's example looks like it would help then base whatever you want to create on it. The form will need modification to match the attribute and it's values, and you might want to trigger the form another way, perhaps by letting the user double click on the element, select it from a toolbar/menu, open it with a shortcut key, etc.

    Another option (assuming you have control of / permission to modify the DTD or W3C Schema) is to modify the attribute to be an enumerated list. In this case the Attribute Inspector will list only those values allowed by the DTD or W3C Schema. Of course, this pretty much rules out DITA specialization as it suggests basing new attributes on @props and @base, which are themselves CDATA.



    Reply to: Controlled Drop-Down Lists for Attribute Inspector othermeta element


    We recently upgraded to XMetaL 12 so I won't have the option to upgrade to XMetaL 13.
    We are using a DITA Subject Scheme. I did happen to find an example online that looks like it's using XMetaL 12 to apply a DITA Subject Scheme to attributes, sadly the instructions are in Japanese. https://www.antenna.co.jp/xmetal/new-feature12.html#pagelink11. See second animated graphic on this page.

    Is there no functionality in XMetaL 12 outside of the customization to do this?



    Derek Read

    Reply to: Controlled Drop-Down Lists for Attribute Inspector othermeta element

    The feature does not exist in version 12, it was added in 13, so…

    Unless there is some technical reason (reliance on 3rd party integrations is really the only one) for not upgrading that's still your best option I think. Clients with “maintenance” (which is every customer we have aside from very specific exceptions) can upgrade for “free” (that's actually what you pay maintenance for), if cost is the concern.

    Another technical reason for not upgrading of course would be that your company has tested version 12 and is happy that it is stable with everything else you are doing (not necessarily 3rd party software but processes, configuration settings, etc) and that upgrading might be considered a risk.

    If this feature is important I would recommend testing it in the trial version to see if it meets your needs, then perhaps check to see if you can (ie: your organization “allows” it) to upgrade to 13.

    Antenna House is a partner* and what they are showing on that page (the one you have referenced) seems to be the existing functionality for working with subject schemes in the Japanese edition of XMetaL Author Enterprise 12. If anything, support in 12 (Japanese edition and the regular edition that you have) would be limited to (I believe) editing files that use the subjectScheme.dtd. XMetaL Author can handle any DTD, so that would have been possible as soon as that DTD existed, though having XML template as a starting point makes it easier too so maybe we included templates in 12. It doesn't have any of the actual support for subject schemes, ie: using the content of a subjectScheme saved in one file to work with attribute values in a topic or map (which is the feature added to 13).

    * We provide support for Antenna House Formatter as part of our integration with the DITA Open Toolkit to produce PDF using that engine — the “deliverables” for that in our UI are listed as “PDF via Antenna House Formatter and PDF5-ML plugin” and “Antenna House VIA PDF2” (and possibly other names in releases older than 13).


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