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From Jef Verelst <kullerv...@yahoo.com>
Subject [Proposal] extension plugin : placeholders/conditional blocks/...
Date Fri, 02 May 2008 18:05:19 GMT
Hello to you all,

the development group in which I work is facing some documentation issues. After evaluating
how we could tackle them with our current commercial tool, we came to the conclusion that
we needed to look at alternatives. We have been using cocoon-based XML document generation
in our solution for some years now, so Forrest was an obvious  candidate. And it turned out
that it can fulfill most of our needs as good (and sometimes even better) than the tool we
now use. The extensible nature also allows us to overcome the problems we have with the current
tool. 

However, there are a few functional holes that will need to be filled before we can migrate.
What we need the most is :
* conditional blocks : we should be able to tag parts of the documents and include them based
on settings.
* placeholders : text values that we can assign based on settings so that they can receive
different values when generated for another target/customer.
* JavaHelp output format : parts of the documentation need to be accessible from a JavaHelp
module.

I have looked at the plugin extension points of Forrest and have some ideas on how to fix
them. As a first step, I made a prototype to handle the conditional blocks and the placeholders.
I made a somewhat detailed description that already uses these 2 features.

My question is the following : could you spare us some of your time to have a look at it and
let us know what you think of it? Main question is whether you are interested in it... if
you judge that the things we are looking for are very specific to our situation, we'll develop
it as part of our specific build process. If you see some general use in it, we could develop
it as a public plugin. Any advice is of course also welcome.

I've set up a small site to store the proposal : http://uk.geocities.com/kullervo16/forrest.html

Thanks in advance.

Jef Verelst. 




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