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I recall that back at Microstar [and quite some number of years ago now] we
had an SGML product [whose name now escapes me] that was sort of a meta
language on top of omnimark... you were responsible as author to author a
"document" with embedded "fetches" in it from some "Store" to get the
fragments required. This was translated into appropriate omnimark code that
did the actual assembly. It was primarily directed at the Canadian CALS DTD
I believe, where the possible fragments were not infinite, and were
reasonably well defined in advance.
One useful side effect that I had noticed was that something like this could
be used as a authoring planning tool.. you build this "document assembly
plan" which contained original text plus fetches from some store [which was
in effect, a formal definition of the final required output document]. If
the target of the Fetch was in fact not there [yet], you could still create
the assembly plan, and a "zeroth" copy of the fragment to be "fetched" which
might be nothing other than instructions to an author as to what what needed
to be authored in the fragment. The collection of all these zeroth copies
for any document represented work yet to be done. The fragments could be
farmed out to your collection of authors to complete [via whatever workflow
system you might employ]. The authoring task was to convert the zeroth
version [instructions on what to do] into the version 1.0 [the actual
As was pointed out... all functions required by a more modern content
W. Hugh Chatfield I.S.P.
CyberSpace Industries 2000 Inc.
XML Consulting & Training
Visit Historic Perth Ontario: http://www.all-about-perth.com
From: Chiusano Joseph [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2003 12:54 PM
To: Roger L. Costello
Cc: email@example.com; CAM
Subject: Re: [xml-dev] A standard approach to glueing together reusable
XML fragments in prose?
Excellent questions. This is, in my opinion, very much in the realm of
content management (the metadata aspects of content management). I am
currently reading an excellent book called "Understanding Enterprise
Content Management" by Ann Rockley, New Riders Publishing.
Having said that, I might adjust your <para> structure below a bit, to
reference the pertinent XML elements within the structures using
XPointer (my company's non-email Web access is currently down and I
cannot access the XPointer spec, so I'm just noting at a high level how
it would be used). If we rename the "City" and "Tides" files to be
"Cities.xml" and "Tides.xml" respectively, so that they may contain
multiple cities/tides, XPointer could be used to reach into those files
for the correct city name and its information.
Additionally, one may point to an XML registry that would store all of
the "metadata fragments" that are required. The location of the registry
could be stored at the top of the "master" structure (in this case,
<para>), or multiple registries could be specified where needed (i.e. to
override the default "master" registry).
Just some random thoughts. The OASIS Content Assembly Mechanism (CAM) TC
is doing some great work in this area. I'm copying that TC to inform
them of these great questions, and I will pass along any response that
they have if the responder is not subscribed to XML-DEV.
Booz | Allen | Hamilton
"Roger L. Costello" wrote:
> Hi Folks,
> I am working with some people who wish to migrate from an
> all-prose format to a prose-plus-reusable-XML-fragments
> They have some data in prose that is useable in many contexts. They
> want to break out that reusable data into XML fragments. However,
> they want to continue to provide the prose style.
> For example, consider this prose data:
> <para>The city of Miami, Florida (pop. 1, 234,000) is a sprawling city
> with many attractions. Miami Beach is a popular attraction. The
> spring tide is ... The neap tide is ... </para>
> Examining this prose we can extract reusable info about the city of
> <City id="Miami">
> We can also extract reusable info about tide data on Miami Beach:
> <TideData id="MiamiBeachTides">
> The problem now is to create a framework which allows the prose
> to bring-together the independent, reusable XML components.
> Conceptually, what is desired is a "glue framework" like this:
> <para>The <ref href="Miami.xml"> is a sprawling city with
> many attractions. Miami Beach is a popular attraction. The
> tides are <ref href="MiamiBeachTides.xml"><para>
> Thus, the prose is "glueing" together the XML fragments.
> Is this a problem that you have experience with? What "glue
> framework" have you used? What strategy did you use to merge
> the XML fragments with the prose? Is there is a standard way
> of combining semi-structured data with structured data?
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