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Modifying XHTML tables content model


Modifying XHTML tables content model


I'm wondering if there is any way to use XHTML tables in my documents, but limiting what can be used, so I will only have <table>, <td>, <tr>, and a couple of attributes.

Actually what I need is the editor to recognize my model of tables (a very simple one based on xhtml) as table and therefore to be able to use the table tool of the editor to create and modify them.

If I just simplifyxhtml-tbl.dtd in the entities folder, the editor doesn't recognize anymore my model as a table.

I have also tried to modify the dcf file, but besides telling the editor what model to use (CALS or html), I can't see how to take advantage of it...

Any suggestions?


Gabriel Oreggioni


I don't have any idea how to help but it might help other helpers if you'd
post the Arbortext version you're using.

You can't really customise the Arbortext table handling feature. It either works or it doesn't, in my experience 🙂 Hope someone else on the list can prove me wrong!

The first thought that comes to mind is you might be able to kind of fudge this if you used a Schematron to restrict/reject "bad tables". Schematron is supported natively in Arbortext 6.0.


We use CALS table model and tweak, albeit in very minor ways, the content
models. Namely, we add attributes. (To support profiling, in one case.)
Don't know if you'd consider that customizing table handling or not.

Given how simple your model is, you can probably get what you want with a
Custom Table model. Type "help 6095" at the command line in Editor to
bring up the "Custom tables overview" topic in the Help Center (or just
search for it, if you don't have the command line visible).

This topic describes the feature and has links to information about how to
set up a custom table model in your DCF file or through Styler, which will
also let you configure the appearance of your tables in output, if you're
using a Stylersheet.

You didn't say what version of Editor you're using, so I should caveat this
by saying that, IMHO, custom tables really "matured" around the version 5.3
to 5.4 time frame, but even earlier versions might meet your needs, if your
tables are simple enough.

-Brandon 🙂

Sorry, I forgot to tell it.

I was using Epic 4.3 for the development (FOSI, ACL, etc.), but as soon as all the details are finished, the editors will start working using the last version of Arbortext editor.

Now, following Brandon's advise, I have seen that neither theCustom tables overview Help nor the elementTableModelDefinitionsin the DCF files appear in EPIC 4.3, but does in Arbortext Editor 5.1 (the only versions I have so far), so happy as I was to keep working with my old Epic version of the editor, now it's time to upgrade...

Thank you all.


Gabriel Oreggioni

Am I understanding correctly that you intend to deploy on the latest
version of Arbortext, 6.0, a system that you've developed on version 4.3?
If so, I strongly encourage you to change your plans and move your
development to the version with which you intend to deploy, even if your
editors remain on the previous version in the meantime, if they're using
Arbortext at all.

The reason I say this is that the Arbortext software evolved pretty
extensively through the 5.x series of releases and somewhat further in the
6.0 release. By developing on 4.3, which is now a good 10 years old and
well out of support, you will not be able to take advantage of newer
features, such as the previously-mentioned custom tables, which were not
present in 4.3. Additionally, it is not uncommon to have to modify your
application to work with a newer version of the Arbortext software, so you
may find yourself doing a lot of work over when you move to the new version.

As long as your organization is current on maintenance, your licenses can
be used with any newer version, so making the move should be reasonably
straightforward, with the possible exception of the change in licensing
systems, if you decide to go straight to 6.0 vs. 5.4.

-Brandon 🙂

I can second that point of the Arbx table models not being accessible for customisation. But if your standard CALS, XHTML tables you'll have no problems 🙂

Likewise custom tables although good for some layout things I have found them quite limited for specialised developments, for example if you need multiple custom tables types and wanted to re-use some element(s) across 1 or more of them its not going to let you etc..

Have fun!


We use the XHTML table model in our custom schema - and we modify it slightly. Basically, I grabbed the xhtml-table.xsd file from the PTC "entities" install folder (there's also a DTD file) and copied it to a new location where it's included in our schema. We've added several attributes to the <tr> elements (mainly for conditional processing) and they work fine. I think you can modify the table model as long as what you end up with still works in Arbortext's table editor.

Hope this helps.