DITA and XMetaL Discussion

  • leo71

    Reuse from URL

    Participants 5
    Replies 6
    Last Activity 10 years, 6 months ago

    I am investigating the possibilities to instead of reusing elements, sections, topics from a file system (Subversion), insert occasionally reusable content from a URL.

    There are two/three areas involved:
    1. XMetal refresh references
    2. XMetal insert reference (optional), this could be solved in many ways.
    3. DITA OT preprocessing, let it resolve the URL

    For item 1. Do I need to have the “XMetal Developer Edition” or the “XMetaL Connector” SDK to achieve this?

    Leen

    Reply

    Derek Read

    Reply to: Reuse from URL

    XMetaL Developer isn't meant to be used to add features to the DITA authoring functionality (its considered a closed system). XMetaL Developer is used to build application and document customizations (ie: creating an authoring solution for some other DTD than DITA). So if what you need to do is not supported by XMetaL Author Enterprise's DITA authoring functionality we'd need to consider that a feature request. The DITA OT would be a separate matter if it does not support the feature you need and you could make that request at the DITA OT project SourceForge.

    I'm not sure what you are asking though. Are you discussing conrefs?
    The conref attribute format is defined fairly clearly in the DITA 1.1 Language Reference. It discusses the format requirements for how a conref should be constructed and gives various examples. What does the URL you wish to use look like? (note that most people use the terms URI and URL interchangeably, so if that is part of the problem or confusion please elaborate because the DITA Language Reference discusses URI and makes no mention of URL).

    Reply

    leo71

    Reply to: Reuse from URL

    Hi,

    Yes. Especially with conref, but I think you could apply this for many link/reference types.

    As an example

    Absolute file URL works
    [code]

    [/code]

    Relative path works
    [code]

    [/code]

    My question is, could this work:
    [code]

    [/code]

    Maybe this can work already, but I couldnt get it to work.

    Leen

    Reply

    Derek Read

    Reply to: Reuse from URL

    In theory, I suppose it could be made to work but support for the HTTP protocol for referencing in DITA is not part of any design in the link-resolution that XMetaL Author Enterprise 6.0 supports (neither during creation, during link-checking or while rendering of referenced content). You could insert such a URI for a conref or other attribute using the Attribute Inspector but you would have to ignore warnings about them not being found when you refresh references.

    The other question to raise here is whether this is legal. I don't see anything in the DITA 1.1 specs that says it isn't as they consistently discuss URIs, and your example is a URI, so that would seem to be the case. The examples in the DITA 1.1 specs only give values that look like file system paths. The DITA 1.2 specs now hint (via examples) that HTTP (and specifically HTTP and not others) might also be used.

    From what I can tell the DITA OT does not support this type of resolution at this time (I have not dug really far into this though, so that might not be correct). It would make sense for XMetaL Author Enterprise to support any schemes (such as HTTP as in your example) that the DITA Open Toolkit supports. If the DITA OT cannot do anything with a specific URI type that would reduce the usefulness of helping you to build such an attribute value or render its referenced content in the authoring tool.

    If we added support for something like this it would have to be for a specific scheme(s) however (since they all communicate differently of course). The most obvious I can think of would be HTTP, HTTPS and FTP. There's a long list here: http://www.iana.org/assignments/uri-schemes.html

    Sounds like you are tentatively only interested in HTTP.

    I will raise this with development.

    Reply

    leo71

    Reply to: Reuse from URL

    Hi Derek,

    Yes, HTTP would be the first important one. I would assume that the resource to be reused must be accessible to everyone. Otherwise you have to build in authentication as well. But that's not the case for us.

    You could think of a Subversion repository available via http://
    Or a product configurator or a product name list.

    The issue is that interesting if you are reusing for one specific subject. But especially if you want to reuse cross domain/subject/product, you don't want to be dependent on relative paths.

    Secondly by having this, you could reuse easier information from external parties.

    Reply

    Derek Read

    Reply to: Reuse from URL

    Such a feature might be built into a connector if someone was to build one for SVN. We don't have any plans to do that (various corporate plans drive which connectors we build, including relationships with have with CMS partners) and I'm not aware of anyone else planning to do so.

    Though the interfaces for building a connector are standardized on the XMetaL side building one is usually not a trivial thing. This means they are either created and provided by a CMS partner themselves or by us.

    Reply

    leo71

    Reply to: Reuse from URL

    It is not just SVN.

    Resources
    – Theoretically you could reuse from all resources that can share DITA content. It could be another (web) CMS like Drupal/Joomla/Wordpress if they can share their content in a DITA output.
    – It can be a terminology database
    – Or another database from any department

    So not just SVN. If we move from SVN to a DITA CMS I would have the same question. We can't put everything in the CMS because we either don't own the content, or the CMS isn't the best place to store it.

    Connector
    In that respect, I don't care about the Connector to connect to repository. It could be much easier buy just browse the online resource and click some Share button and copy and paste the link into your DITA topic.

    Refresh
    But if the refresh F11 could work also for those references this would be great. This makes the things much more intuitive.

    DITA-OT
    Yes. here the half of the work should start. Either by the standard project, or for us as customization.

    Reply

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