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Re:Dynamic Display Model

Posted on May 10 2002 by Pierre Gorissen in reponse to Dynamic Display Model

It depends a bit on what you want.
For me it was good to see that others think that this (separate content and layout) is something that is lacking in the SCORM specs.
I always liked the DOCBOOK DTD (see: and and the things I could do with that.
Using only one (1 !) source file in XML and a set of XSL files allows me to create HTML, HTML-Help, Java-Help, PDF, RTF with just that one source-file and a set of free tools.
All I need is someone to extend the XSL files so that an imsmanifest.xml got created along with the HTML files (sort of like the project-file that gets created for HTML-Help) and I would be able to import it in my IMS capable VLE.

Sure, DOCBOOK is "only" good for books, languages like EML (see are much more flexible and more powerful, but for EML I don't have templates for things other than online viewing yet.
Sure, writing stuff that is appropriate for all the output formats is hard, but it is doable.

The thing I liked about XML/DOCBOOK is that I can add meaning to the content. Not just add

(or depending on the editor which displays the same), but and have the output-template decide how to display it.
It makes it possible to auto generate the TOC or indexes in the PDF or RTF files, or add auto generated TOCs in each of the auto generated HTML files.

I do agree with you that XML is nothing as long as you don't have easy to use XSL templates that go with it. It surprises me though that for educational uses DOCBOOK isn't used more than it is at the moment.
Norman Walsh (and others) did a great job there translating the DTD to XSL templates, that are multilingual and easy to use (once you get the parsers running that is).
Is might be because most of the tools for DOCBOOK are available for Linux, but even on a Windows platform you can get it working (I did).
The only thing I could find for free was a good validating XML editor for Windows.

Good structured HTML helps, but I really do think, XML+XSL is the way to go if you want to make content truly sharable.


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