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Managing Links for Content Reuse


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Delivered at Xtech2012

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Managing Links for Content Reuse

  1. 1. Managing Linksfor Content Reuse Mark Baker Analecta Communications Inc.
  2. 2. Links Matter The web is a hypertext medium  So are help systems A page that does not link to anything is a dead end
  3. 3. Links in HTML<p>Hawkes‘ final film is a lighthearted Western in the Rio Bravo mold, with <a href=""> the Duke</a> as an ex-Union colonel out to settle some old scores.</p>
  4. 4. Hard Links A hard link identifies a resource to link to
  5. 5. Hard links are hard work  Author discovers a resource to link to  Author creates link to chosen resource  Author manages and updates link over time
  6. 6. Hard Linking Topics contain direct links to other topics B C A D E
  7. 7. The problem with hard linking If a topic is reused in more than one location, what do you do about the links? First use Second use C C B A A ? F D E D
  8. 8. Remove all the links? Lonely topics First use Second use C C B A A F D E D
  9. 9. Externalize the links Move the links to a map file New map file required for each use  Heavy creation and maintenance burden  Will tend to limit amount of linking that is practical First use Second useMap file for first use Map file for second useAB ACAC ADAD AFAE
  10. 10. Soft linking A soft link identifies the subject that is mentioned
  11. 11. Soft links in XML<p><director name="Howard Hawkes">Hawkes</director> final film is a lighthearted Western in the <movie>Rio Bravo</movie> mold, with <actor name="John Wayne">the Duke</actor> as an ex-Union colonel out to settle some old scores.</p>
  12. 12. How do links get made Topics are indexed by subject
  13. 13. Topic indexing in XML<topic name="john-wayne-bio"> <index> <reference type="actor"> <key>John Wayne</key> </reference> <reference type="producer"> <key>John Wayne</key> </reference> </index>…</topic>
  14. 14. Links discovered via topic indexes
  15. 15. Soft linking != redirection No resource is identified in any way
  16. 16. Connection is by subject only No resource has to exist to name a subject
  17. 17. Soft linking and reuse Links are created by querying the available topics in each place a topic is used First use Second use C C B A A F D E D
  18. 18. What if no topic found? Sometime there will be no topic in the current set for a reference C A F D
  19. 19. Not topic, no link! No broken link, because no link to break C A F D
  20. 20. Mentions are not links Text must be written so that links are omissible  No “For more information, see …”  No “Click here.” Authors can mark up all significant mentions  If there is a topic on that subject, you get a link  If not, no harm done
  21. 21. No link, no problem Lack of a topic to link to not necessarily a problem  There are simply no topics on that subject in this collection Or, it may signal something missing from the collection
  22. 22. What if multiple topics found? More than one topic can cover the same subject
  23. 23. Different topics, same subject<topic name="john-wayne-bio"> <topic name="john-wayne- <index> filmography"> <reference type="actor"> <index> <key>John Wayne</key> <reference type="actor"> </reference> <key>John Wayne</key> <reference type="producer"> </reference> <key>John Wayne</key> </index> </reference> … </index> </topic>…</topic>
  24. 24. Handling multiple link targets 1 Create a popup with multiple links Topics on John Wayne • Filmography • Biography
  25. 25. Handling multiple link targets 2 Gather all the links at the end of the topic More on John Wayne • Filmography • Biography
  26. 26. Linking style options Mentions are not links  Therefore, linking style is not determined at authoring time  Mentions are never explicit links, so you can link inline or out of line in build  Ensures consisten style when reusing content from multiple authors Also, can use index markup to generate related topics links.
  27. 27. Discovery is expensive
  28. 28. Cost of discovery: hard links Author has to find the resource to link to each time Multiple authors linking to the same resource discover it independently Discovery breaks the author’s stream of thought Cost increases with size of collection
  29. 29. Cost of discovery: soft links Authors do not do resource discovery when writing Just mark up mentions of subjects  Mark them all up, it costs nothing No interrupting flow to find linkable resources No need to browse the collection
  30. 30. Forward looking How do you link to topics that do not yet exist? But you can always mark up mentions of subjects  Subjects are always there Topics on those subjects may appear later
  31. 31. Future-proof Hard links are fragile, volatile  Require maintenance Marked-up mentions of subjects are stable  The Duke will always be John Wayne
  32. 32. Quality The best topic on a subject is chosen by the author of that topic
  33. 33. Helps validate content Coverage  Reveals missing topics Duplication  Use indexes to detect duplication Terminology  Discover incorrect terms in text or indexes
  34. 34. Summary Soft linking addresses key linking challenges  Reuse: enables transparent reuse of topics  Discovery: authors don’t have to hunt for link targets  Maintenance: soft links don’t require much maintenance  Quality: subject experts identify the best resources on a subject
  35. 35. Contact Mark Baker  Analecta Communications Inc.   +1-613-614-5881  Blog: SPFE Architecture  supports soft linking   Presentation at CMS/DITA 2012 
  36. 36. Thank you! Questions?Contact:Mark Baker Analecta Communications Inc. +1-613-614-5881