Dynamically referenced templates – part 1


One of the main themes for recent RPE releases is improving the reuse capabilities of the tool. In this context we added in RPE 1.2 the ability to dynamically reference ( or include) a template from another template and we have further polished this feature in RPE 1.2.0.1 .

Introduction

Including the content of a template in another template has been available for a while in RPE but doing that does not really promote modular template design since at the end of the day you have a very large template. Also that does not help with reuse since if you change the template you included the change will not be propagated to all the templates where you have included it.

Targeted scenario

Define static content ( ex: legal terms) and/or dynamic content ( ex: a list of requirements) as building blocks and use them to create larger and more complex documents.

Reuse through document specification

You can already do that by chaining together templates in document specifications.  That works fine as long as you need a report like the one below where the outputs from the building blocks are chained together serially in the output document.

dynref_2

Reuse through dynamic referencing

Combining templates through the document specifications no longer works if you need a document where the output needs to be intertwined like in the image below.

dynref_3

Pre RPE 1.2 the only solution is to include the content of your building blocks at the desired position in a single template. That allowed creating the desired document at the expense of the reuse as any changes to the building blocks would not be propagated to the templates where they were used.

Dynamic referencing

RPE 1.2 gives now the option to either copy the content of a template (physically embedding) or just to reference it ( dynamic reference). The next part of this article will cover how dynamic reference works and additional aspects that need to be considered when using it.

dynref_1

Related links:

To be continued …

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Author: Dragos Cojocari

Architect for Rational Publishing Engine

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