> Hello everyone,
> I am looking into using SGML to author the content for an Electronic
> Performance Support System (EPSS). A simpler way of saying the same
> thing is using SGML to author the content of a help system.
> The main reason I'm considering SGML is for context sensitivity. That
> is, using the tags to divide up the content so that it is searchable.
> I have a pretty good understanding of SGML and DTDs, but them most in
> depth use of SGML has been HTML, so excuse me for any ignorance.
> I am wondering were I can find some DTDs that could be of use to me for
> that kind of application. I am also wondering how useful a DTD
> authoring tool would be for me in trying to creat a my own DTD.
DTDs used for help applications as with any DTD depend on:
1. Where in the authoring process the DTD is used.
2. What is the target presentation system
Process: Are you working with a group that authors parts
of the final documents where these parts are to be assembled
at publication time? IOW, a DTD serving as the template for
the authoring tool can easily be broken down into several
small DTDs where each declares specific parts of the document.
Because the sources for the information might come from different
parts of the company at different times in the process, you
can *tune* the DTD to be specific to each part. Now that
XML/XSL tools are emerging, you can use the DTD to ensure
that the part is correct, then use XSL to translate that
to the next state.
Presentation: I assume that the final product is for some
presentation system such as WinHelp, HTMLHelp, etc. You
must analyze the requirements for this target (eg, use of
keywords and IDs, klinks, alinks, topic bookmarks, etc.)
to ensure that these are being entered as appropriate.
For this, the DTD can be used to validate cross-references
within the document file (IDREF to ID), but without
more powerful cross-reference validation, the DTD is only
ensuring structural validity. If you are working with
a comprehensive help document or one in which identifiers
must be associated with software such as WinHelp is used
with software applications, you will do well to use a
spreadsheet or database (eg, Excel, MSAccess) to manage
the identifiers and targets.
Yes, while a DTD authoring tool is by no means necessary,
tools such as Near & Far can be most helpful particularly
if you haven't written a DTD from scratch. I advise you
to look at some DTDs of medium complexity for examples.
Robin Cover's SGML/XML web site is a good place to begin.
There are different styles of DTD design. Eve Mahler
published a book on this subject which is helpful. There
is also a set of slides which Eve and Steve DeRose
authored which present SGML/XML and advanced hyperlinking
in a straightforward manner which can help you analyze
what parts of the emerging XML tools might be of use.
Sorry, but I am at home and don't have the URLs here.
Send me mail at clbul...@ingr.com and I will send
those to you.
Much depends on your organization's tools and processes.
You say you are trying to increase the searchability of the
document. If you can elaborate more on how you intend
to search, what tools you are using, etc., it is easier
to analyze the problem.