Rule validation in a topic

Structured Authoring

When rules are validated, Author makes a comparison between the structure defined in the template and the actual content in the topic. Validation is based on the styles assigned to the paragraphs, the number of paragraph used, and the order in which they appear in the topic. A paragraph can be a block of text, a single list item, a graphic in a paragraph with no text, or an empty paragraph.

The minimum and maximum occurrences for each rule define how many paragraphs should be used. During the comparison, if a rule must have three occurrences, then Author will look for three paragraphs with the appropriate styles assigned.

Map Rules to Topic

Each rule in the structure is designated as either fixed or flexible. The sequence determines where paragraphs belonging to the rule should appear in the topic. Fixed rules must be used in the same order in the topic as they appear in the structure builder. Flexible rules allow some variation when they are listed next to other flexible rules in the structure builder. This means you can use the rules in the topic in same order that they appear in the structure builder, or you can swap their order. If you have several flexible rules falling between two fixed rules, the flexible rules can be used in any order between the fixed boundaries.

As the topic goes through the validation process, Author checks the following:

  • Styles - Does the content block use the styles allowed by the rule?
  • Occurrences - Have the correct number of paragraphs or objects been used for the rule?
  • Sequence - Does the rule designate the content block's position as fixed or flexible? Does the content block appear at the correct point in the topic?
  • Child rules - If child rules exist, have the objects defined in the rules been used correctly?

Reused content

Using structured templates does not prevent you from working with reused content. However, it is important to remember that the pasted content must still meet rule validation in the topic it is added to. When you reuse content, consider its structure and how it will affect the topic's validation. You may need to allow extra flexibility in the structure to allow for your reused content.