[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next]
[Date Index] [Thread Index] [New search]

Re: XML cookbook questions

At 04:53 PM 8/28/03 +0200, Theun Fleer wrote:
>Hi Lynn (and others)
> >   I find it much easier to maintain a structured template when the EDD
> > often uses hierarchical styles that set only relevant
> > properties rather than
> > referring to paragraph and character catalog entries. By all means use
> > different paragraph formats for table cells and body paragraphs and
> > various headings.
>Why should you define seperate paragraph formats for body paragraphs,
>table cells and several headings?
You can, of course, specify the Body paragraph tag as the element paragraph 
format at the highest level, and all lower-level elements inherit that tag, 
as well as any format modifications to it. In that case, the structured 
template produced from the EDD would have only the Body paragraph in its 
paragraph catalog. EDD format rules then modify virtually every one of the 
Body tag's format parameters in the various contexts, including parameters 
in the Basic, Default Font, Pagination, Numbering, Advanced, and Table Cell 
panels of the Paragraph Designer so as to properly change the formatting in 
literally hundreds (if not thousands) of different contexts. That locks all 
document formatting in stone (unless one naively believes it's easy to 
periodically go in and modify such an EDD as formatting requirements change 
or evolve).

To me, the approach described above is antithetical to the entire concept 
of structured document design. In an EDD which defines a complex structure, 
format inheritance from antecedent parents is a fool's paradise. How does 
one manage format inheritance when a text container element can inherit 
formatting from many different antecedents in different contexts? What 
happens in such an EDD when the structure is modified in a way that alters 
formatting inheritance?

More importantly, the above approach completely denies the template 
designer any control whatsoever over formatting, thus a different version 
of the same EDD must be developed for each type of document deliverable or 
customer, even though the structure is the same in all of those 
deliverables. Such an EDD is completely incompatible with a single-sourcing 
application, where many formatting parameters often vary with each 
deliverable. That's counter-intuitive.

In most cases I believe an EDD should specify an Element Paragraph Format 
for most (if not all) text container elements, thereby preventing format 
inheritance. Then, EDD format rules for that element modify the formatting 
of the specified paragraph format, as required, in different contexts. This 
approach in no way implies that each such element must specify a different 
paragraph tag. The ubiquitous Body tag can still be specified as the 
Element Paragraph Format for most ordinary text containers (including 
various list types) outside of tables, and format rules are used to modify 
its format for each usage.

In general, however, EDD format rules should NOT modify the following 
parameters of a specified Element Paragraph Format, so that these 
parameters are ceded to the template designer:

Font Family, Font Size, Line Spacing, Alignment, Pagination Format, 
Widow/Orphan Lines, Automatic Hyphenation, Word Spacing, Table Cell 
Vertical Alignment, and Table Cell Margins.

The foregoing limitations on EDD format rules are then used to determine 
when a new Element Paragraph Format must be specified.

For Example:

1. For tables, the TableTitle, CellBody, CellHeading, and CellFooting 
paragraph formats should be specified for the corresponding elements. This 
allows the template designer to modify font family, font size, vertical 
alignment, and table cell margins, which typically vary with the type of 
table element.

2. For footnotes, the Footnote and TableFootnote paragraph formats should 
be specified for the corresponding elements.

3. Elements for each level of Title or Heading should often be given a 
different Element Paragraph Format. This allows the template designer to 
specify font family, font size, alignment, and pagination format (e.g., 
Across All Columns, Across All Columns and Sideheads, or Sidehead) for each 
level of title or heading.

4. Elements which produce anchors for graphics, equations, and tables are 
given unique Element Paragraph Formats.

5. Miscellaneous special-purpose container elements should each be given 
unique Element Paragraph Formats which are (usually) not modified by EDD 
format rules, thereby ceding all formatting control to the template designer.

Needless to say, the mere implementation of this approach in an EDD is not 
enough. The EDD developer must fully document the purpose and use of each 
EDD-specified paragraph format so that the template designer has enough 
information to determine which parameters can be modified successfully in 
order to meet different delivery requirements.

FrameMaker/FrameMaker+SGML Document Design & Database Publishing
DW Emory <danemory@globalcrossing.net>

** To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@omsys.com **
** with "unsubscribe framers" (no quotes) in the body.   **