The CALS table format for XML is one that is widely used and very capable, and it has been in use for many years. It is capable, but complex. In this paper we describe its capabilities before moving on to the challenges of finding change between two tables that, ideally, have the same basic structure but in reality can be very different in structure and content.
Impossible problems that need to be solved are not uncommon, especially in engineering. The trick is to simplify the problem so that it can be solved and then, as far as possible, introduce some of the complexity back into the simplified solution. Restricting ourselves to comparing tables as XML markup may be useful to the technical user but is less satisfactory when looking at the rendered result, and it is this rendered result that is of interest now to the majority of users, who tend to be less technical. This paper explores a better approach.
Finding out what has changed in a CALS table is remarkably complicated. Additional complexity arises when authors use empty columns for layout or use column or row spans specified in unusual ways, or when applications simply do not follow the standard. Can we successfully show changes within tables?
Publications change constantly throughout their lifecycle. More control over how change is represented speeds up and enhances your publishing process, especially when you can adapt the output of changes for different reviewers, editors or even customers.
Learn how DeltaXML is helping documentation and data specialists in the finance sector to keep tight control of change and achieve compliance more readily.
CALS tables are used in many technical documentation standards. There are OASIS specifications for CALS tables which include a number of semantic rules to ensure table validity. This paper reports on some of our experiences with CALS table processing and validation.