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Journal ArticleAbel Gómez, M. Carmen Penadés, José H. Canós, Marcos R.S. Borges, Manuel Llavador
In: Information and Software Technology, vol. 56, no. 9, pp. 1101 - 1121, 2014, ISSN: 0950-5849, (Special Sections from “Asia-Pacific Software Engineering Conference (APSEC), 2012” and “ Software Product Line conference (SPLC), 2012”).
Advances in customization have highlighted the need for tools supporting variable content document management and generation in many domains. Current tools allow the generation of highly customized documents that are variable in both content and layout. However, most frameworks are technology-oriented, and their use requires advanced skills in implementation-related tools, which means their use by end users (i.e. document designers) is severely limited.
Starting from past and current trends for customized document authoring, our goal is to provide a document generation alternative in which variants are specified at a high level of abstraction and content reuse can be maximized in high variability scenarios.
Based on our experience in Document Engineering, we identified areas in the variable content document management and generation field open to further improvement. We first classified the primary sources of variability in document composition processes and then developed a methodology, which we called DPL – based on Software Product Lines principles – to support document generation in high variability scenarios.
In order to validate the applicability of our methodology we implemented a tool – DPLfw – to carry out DPL processes. After using this in different scenarios, we compared our proposal with other state-of-the-art tools for variable content document management and generation.
The DPLfw showed a good capacity for the automatic generation of variable content documents equal to or in some cases surpassing other currently available approaches. To the best of our knowledge, DPLfw is the only framework that combines variable content and document workflow facilities, easing the generation of variable content documents in which multiple actors play different roles.
Conference M. Carmen Penadés, Abel Gómez, José H. Canós
Proceedings of the 2012 ACM Symposium on Document Engineering, DocEng '12 ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2012, ISBN: 978-1-4503-1116-8, (Paris, France).
Despite the increasing interest in the Document Engineering community, a formal definition of document workflow is still to come. Often, the term refers to an abstract process consisting in a set of tasks to contribute to some document contents, and some techniques are being developed to support parts of these tasks rather than how to generate the process itself. In most proposals, these tasks are implicit in the business processes running in an organization, lacking an explicit document workflow model that could be analysed and enacted as a coherent unit. In this paper, we propose a document-centric approach to document workflow generation. We have extended the feature-based document meta-model of the Document Product Lines approach with an organizational metamodel. For a given configuration of the feature model, we assign tasks to different members of the organization to con-tribute to the document contents. Moreover, the relationships between features define an ordering of the tasks, which may be refined to produce a specification of the document workflow model automatically. The generation of customized software manuals is used to illustrate the proposal.