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A Framework for Structure, Layout and Function in Documents

Lumley, John; Gimson, Roger; Rees, Owen

HPL-2005-95R1

Keyword(s): XML; XSLT; SVG; document construction; functional programming

Abstract: The Document Description Framework (DDF) is a representation for variable-data documents. It supports very high flexibility in the type and extent of variation supported, considerably beyond the 'copy- hole' or flow-based mechanisms of existing formats and tools. DDF is based on holding application data, logical data structure and presentation as well as constructional 'programs' together within a single document. DDF documents can be merged with other documents, bound to variable values incrementally, combine several types of layout and styling in the same document and support final delivery to different devices and page-ready formats. The framework uses XML syntax and fragments of XSLT to describe 'programmatic construction' of a bound document. DDF is extensible, especially in the ability to add new types of layout and inter-operability between components in different formats. In this paper we describe the motivation for DDF, the major design choices and how we evaluate a DDF document with specific data values. We show through implemented examples how it can be used to construct high-complexity and variability presentations and how the framework complements and can use many existing XML-based documents formats, such as SVG and XSL-FO.

10 Pages

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