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Arbortext - consolidate table at the topic level in the ouput

Arbortext - consolidate table at the topic level in the ouput

I have information in tables (tools, spare parts) put inside the topics and I would like them to be hidden on the topic level and have all the tables consolidated in the output at the bookmap level. How feasible it is to have in Arbortext that gives me a pdf output?

5 REPLIES 5

Re: Arbortext - consolidate table at the topic level in the ouput

It is entirely possible to do. I manage an authoring environment developed specifically for this purpose.

However, you will probably have to specialize your DITA implementation* (or go totally off-road and brutally hack your DITA implementation or just use a custom doctype). Regardless, you will need to customize your (or develop a) stylesheet to manage the suppression and aggregation. Because you are going to be using specific elements (or, possibly, attributes), probably for each column, your authors/customers will have to agree to less freedom to alter table contents and format (and what freedom you have will come with project lead time to write requirements, develop, QA, and release changes). I suppose there is a path based on code that generalizes the suppression and aggregation, but my gut reaction is that that is a lot more code than supporting explicitly enumerated table types, column names, attributes and values, etc. (Maybe I do not understand the rigidity of your authors' table requirements and it is not as complicated as I imagine. My experience has been that there are always changes, initially unstated limitations, emerging requirements, and the normal sorts of scope creep leading to more complexity than first appears.)

In short, this is not a path to take lightly without a lot of careful thought and exploration.

* I assume you are in DITA based on your use of the terms topic and bookmap. If you're not in DITA, little changes regarding what you must do, however, you may lose less as you are not giving up DITA compliance and the support that brings.

Re: Arbortext - consolidate table at the topic level in the ouput

It's not entirely clear what you're trying to achieve, but in the simplest case you could remove the topics from your topicmap, and instead create a "summary" topic, linked into your topicmap, that brings in each table via a conref?

Otherwise you may have to follow the path that Paul has suggested.

Re: Arbortext - consolidate table at the topic level in the ouput

Hi Gareth,

Let me explain. I have 4 topics ( each consisting two tables) linked to a bookmap and when I publish the bookmap as a pdf, I would need all 8 tables from the 4 topics to be merged in the output as 1 table and have them hidden in the topic level.

Not sure if this still sounds clear.

Re: Arbortext - consolidate table at the topic level in the ouput

OK the merging part is not supported by DITA, you would have to come up with your own solution, taking in mind Paul's points about customisation.

Re: Arbortext - consolidate table at the topic level in the ouput

I'm curious as to why you have information organized in a way that is not the way you want it actually organized?  Why is the information split up into these different tables in these topics if you don't actually want it in those topics?

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