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Per-link-type control of export from $Text (Read 2616 times)
Mark Anderson
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Posts: 5689
Southsea, UK
Per-link-type control of export from $Text
Oct 10th, 2011, 4:41am
This arises from discussion of the export of footnotes. A problem comes - as has occurred in a number of non-simple export scenarios of late where the user wants to leverage a TB link but not in the form.  They might want to suppress the export of particular link types, or they might want certain link types to trigger an include of the linked item, rather than a link or they might want a link with a different and particular HTML code structure.

Links created in template code allow the user a lot of creative scope. However, with links created from within $Text there's little degree of control beyond generating/not generating all $Text links. My thought is that what is really needed are new features that:
  • Let the user control the export of links at link type level. IOW, export everything except type 'note+', or only export types 'agree' or 'explanation', etc.
  • Allow the user to supply per-type export transforms instead of TB default link export. For modularity and leveraging existing features perhaps such code could be stored as as a macro.
An implication of the latter is also to consider impact on the Create/Browse Links dialogs in terms of giving adequate space to set-up such link type instructions. Of late in areas where I'd have benefitted form features such as above, the need is generally per link type rather than per individual link (though doubtless scenarios for the other could arise). Anyway, noting the TB allows user link type creation and doesn't limit link type numbers, if control was at link type granularity then it might make the UI/control aspects easier.AN added benefit of this approach is that it keeps export related code out of $Text rending the latter more usable (readable) within TB. Current workrounds of inserting ^do()^ macro codes into $Text would not be needed as such code would sit elsewhere in the TBX.

These export needs might seem a bit specialist but are actually a reflection of the needs of general TB users whose problems I've tried to solve in my community helper role. IOW, I although I'm stating them I do so as I believe they are the implied needs of a larger group of users. Even if only at the very end of a research or authoring process users generally want to export at some point.

Features like the above can sit alongside special-to-task 'wizard' type feature, e.g. a footnote exporter. The problem I see in a TB setting is that the latter covering the most common format doesn't necessarily give good fit to TB's international base of users and many of the latter don't (want to) do TB coding. So a flexible structure like above would make it easy for experienced TB users to help resolve such export needs instead of the user being dependent on another special-to-task feature being added. Having a generic solution framework for link export strikes me as better ROI for a tool like this than more one-purpose-only solutions.
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Mark Anderson
TB user and Wiki Gardener
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(TB consulting - email me)
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