Looking for a writer-friendly way to capture two-column data

chrispitude
Posts: 322
Joined: Thu May 02, 2019 2:32 pm

Looking for a writer-friendly way to capture two-column data

Post by chrispitude » Fri Mar 12, 2021 11:31 pm

Hi everyone,

We have legacy ASCII content with "Data Type" sections like this:

Code: Select all

"Data Types"
from_list                 list
rise_from_list            list
fall_from_list            list
to_list                   list
rise_to_list              list
fall_to_list              list
minimum_slack             float
maximum_slack             float
group_name                list
delay_type                string
max_path_count            integer
path_collection           collection
This data type content is always two columns, with the second column being a "one-of-N" value of allowed data types.

I would like to convert this content to DITA. Since our writers are used to seeing this information in table form, I tried inserting a <simpletable> by pressing Enter, but interestingly the <strow> elements appear to be invisible in the Oxygen editor by default:
simpletable_insertion.gif
simpletable_insertion.gif (184.49 KiB) Viewed 319 times
This seems to maybe be a bug or limitation. If I insert a <simpletable> via the Insert Table context action, then it is prepopulated with rows and entries, and everything is there.

But then I decided that maybe the editing mechanics of tables, even <simpletable>s, is too complicated for such a simple case. For example, now the insertion or deletion of terms requires row manipulation.

Then I thought about making specializations of <dl>, <dlentry>, <dt>, and <dd>:

Code: Select all

<dt-list>
  <dt-entry>
    <dt-name>from_list</dt-name>
    <dt-type>list</dt-type>
  </dt-entry>
 ...
</dt-list>
where I could constrain the allowed values of <dt-type> elements, and use CSS to show the names and types side-by-side as a pseudotable. But even this element structure seems overly complicated. And now I'm thinking maybe a specialization of <simpletable> is the better answer again...

Is there some other DITA element that lends itself well to two-column data entry that I should be considering here?

Radu
Posts: 7434
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2004 5:18 pm

Re: Looking for a writer-friendly way to capture two-column data

Post by Radu » Mon Mar 15, 2021 9:55 am

Hi Chris,

Simpletable (or a specialization of) seems like a good fit for me. With a stock Oxygen 23.1 installation when you press ENTER in the Author mode and choose "simpletable", it shows the table wizard dialog, so possibly your DITA framework customization somehow removed our action for inserting a simple table from the content completion window. Also we do not show tags for table rows, so if you have a table with rows but without cells inside rows, they are not visible in the Author mode until you add some cells there.
Other than that, maybe another option if you want something simpler is to use a DITA codeblock and paste the entire thing there.

Regards,
Radu
Radu Coravu
<oXygen/> XML Editor
http://www.oxygenxml.com

chrispitude
Posts: 322
Joined: Thu May 02, 2019 2:32 pm

Re: Looking for a writer-friendly way to capture two-column data

Post by chrispitude » Wed Mar 24, 2021 1:11 am

Hi Radu,

This is strange. Even after deleting my Oxygen user settings at

C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\com.oxygenxml

and creating a fresh Oxygen project, the Insert Table operation in the context menu takes me to the Insert Table wizard, but pressing Enter and choosing table/simpletable does not. Maybe I can try reinstalling Oxygen v23.1 and see if that changes anything.

Radu
Posts: 7434
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2004 5:18 pm

Re: Looking for a writer-friendly way to capture two-column data

Post by Radu » Wed Mar 24, 2021 8:04 am

Hi Chris,

If you remember this issue:

EXM-47603 Content completion "Replacement for" field does not work in the case of Relax NG based DITA topics

that we added based on your other feedback, it turns out we used the "Replacement for" field in the base DITA framework to replace the DITA "table" content completion item with the table wizard action. And it does not work in 23.1 for RNG based DITA topics.
We fixed EXM-47603 internally and after it is tested it will get incorporated into the next 23.1 minor bug fix release. We'll let you know when a fix is available.

Regards,
Radu
Radu Coravu
<oXygen/> XML Editor
http://www.oxygenxml.com

chrispitude
Posts: 322
Joined: Thu May 02, 2019 2:32 pm

Re: Looking for a writer-friendly way to capture two-column data

Post by chrispitude » Wed Mar 24, 2021 4:48 pm

Ah ha, mystery solved! Thanks Radu. :) No urgency from our side.

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