Componize Glossary

This list of abbreviations and terms is compiled from terminology used in our product. Of course, you can help us make this glossary better by sending your requests for additional terms at



Activiti workflow engine

Activiti is an open source workflow engine integrated to Alfresco. It is a light-weight workflow and Business Process Management Platform targeted at business people, developers and system admins. Its core is a solid BPMN 2 process engine for Java.

Alfresco Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

Alfresco is a software tool designed to help organizations share and collaborate. It is considered the open source counterpart to Microsoft Sharepoint. It has two flavors: one free, called Community and the other one paying called Enterprise. Componize supports both. Each version of Componize supports at least two versions of Alfresco.

Alfresco enables organizations in more than 180 countries to collaborate more effectively, improve business process efficiency and ensure information governance.

The company Alfresco Software was founded in 2005 by John Newton (co-founder of Documentum) and  John Powel (a former COO of Business Objects).

See more information on Alfresco website.

AMP (Alfresco Module Package)

Alfresco Module Packages, known as AMP files, are the recommended way of packaging Alfresco customizations and extensions for deployment. AMPs are Zip files that follow a specific layout and can be merged with the other WAR files such as alfresco.war or share.war using the Alfresco Module Management Tool (MMT), which is available as alfresco-mmt.jar in the bin directory of your Alfresco installation. Componize is packaged as AMPs.


Aspects allow the addition of functionality to existing content types. Aspects use properties to enhance the content types. You can attach behaviors and workflows to aspects. Example of Componize-specific aspects: enables metadata and link management, XML validation…


A branch is a controlled environment for developping development safely, that is without impacting someone else’s content. A branch has a main goal, for example: a “release” branch; a “feature” branch; a “variant” branch; a “team” branch. A branch as a starting point – a tag; and an end point – a merge back or an archive. A repository should have multiple branches as they let the authoring team(s) develop and maintain parallel documentation sets. A branch can be merged back to the main documentation repository.

BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation)

A standard Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) provides businesses with the capability of understanding their internal business procedures in a graphical notation and will give organizations the ability to communicate these procedures in a standard manner.
Furthermore, the graphical notation facilitates the understanding of the performance collaborations and business transactions between the organizations.
This ensures that businesses will understand themselves and participants in their business and will enable organizations to adjust to new internal and B2B business circumstances quickly.

See more information in the BPMN specifications.

Category (category)

Componize maps categories to the category elements in the DITA topics. Category values are pre-defined in the administration console, accessible only by administrators, and used by authors and templates. Tags could be compared to a taxonomy. You can search a category and all its subcategories. You can add several categories to your files and filter your content directly in the interface. You may have one category tree for document classification and one category tree to map your products.


CMS – content management system – is a denomination for any system that stores and manages content. For example, a Web content management system is a system dedicated to Web sites ; a LMS is a learning management system dedicated to e-learning. A CCMS is a system designed to manage components (or topics), usually XML, and tackle the specific challenges offered by topic-based documentation, such as the links between topics. A DITA (C)CMS is designed for the DITA architecture, and can handle the entire language specifications but also the reuse mechanisms, such as conref, keys, xref…

Check-out / Check-in

When editing content, you can check out a content item to prevent other users from overwriting your work. Checking out content locks the original file and creates a working copy that you work with.
When you complete edits on a checked out content item, you must check in the working copy to update the original. If you are not yet finished with the item, you can check in the content while keeping the item itself checked out. You can only check in a file that was previously checked out by you.

Componize Author

The Author page is the online DITA/XML editor integrated in Componize. The authors can open the Authorpage in a site by clicking on a tab. The Author page is actually the web-based version of oXygen Author with some unique features, such as the tag view.

Componize CCMS or DITA CMS

Componize is a CCMS and is used by organizations to author, manage, and publish DITA XML content. Combining enterprise-wide collaboration, ease of use, scalability and an open architecture, Componize provides the full range of features that organizations need today for their content strategy.

The information developers spend less time organizing, searching for and re-doing content, and more time creating real value through better reuse and faster multi-channel production.

Conditional publishing

Conditional publishing is the possibility to act on text tagged with specific values or conditional text. Conditional text is a way to mark blocks of text meant to appear in some renditions of the document, but not in others. It differs from one variant of the document to another, while unconditional text appears in all document versions.

For instance you can mark a section of a document to be included in the manual designated for the expert users, other for the novice users while unmarked sections are included in any rendition.

You can use conditional text when you develop documentation for:

  • a series of similar products
  • different releases of a product
  • various audiences

The benefits of using conditional text include reduced effort for updating and translating your content and an easy way to customize the output for various audiences.

DITA offers support for profiling/conditional text by using profiling attributes.

Content rules

In a site document library, you can define rules to manage your content automatically. You can come up with many creative solutions to make sure specific content processes are automated all without you having to do the work yourself. Rules dictate how content entering, leaving, or currently residing in a folder is managed. There are three parts to a content rule: The event that triggers the rule; the conditions the content has to meet; the action performed on the content. Example of rule: when a new file is added in a specific folder, and it is a ZIP, then extract the archive in a specific folder.



There are multiple dashboards available in the Share interface. The dashboard provides shortcuts and up-to-date information on content, tasks, actions… and are fully customizable.

  • Personal dahsboard (home) – tasks, activities, sites…
  • Site dashboard – team activities, content information (type, modifier), image previews, project milestones, conversation views…
  • My Tasks – list of tasks with filters such as criticity, due date…
  • Workflows I’ve started – list of workflows, status of each workflow, filters…

DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture)DITA XML logo

The Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) is an XML-based, end-to-end architecture for authoring, producing, and delivering readable information as discrete, typed topics.

  • Managing readable information
  • Reusing information in many different combinations and deliverables
  • Creating online information systems such as User Assistance (help) or web resource
  • Creating minimalist books for easier authoring and use
DITA is an open standard maintained by OASIS.
See more information in the OASIS specifications.


DITA map is the file that organizes and structures a collection of topics. It does not contain information per se. The DITA map contains:
  • metadata
  • reference to map
  • sreference to topics
  • relationship tables
The map also organizes the way the topics are linked with the hierarchical structure itself, but also with the relationship table and other specific attributes, such as @collection-type.
Bookmap, Subjectcheme… are specializations of the Map.
The extension for a map is *.ditamap.

DITA Open Toolkit

DITA Open Toolkit is a publishing processor for DITA content. It is an open source project available on Sourceforge ( The DITA OT also provides basic stylesheets to publish to PDF, Web Help, CHM, and so on. Most tools for DITA will integrate the DITA OT, making it a de facto standard. Componize takes part in the development of the DITA OT.

DITA Topic

A topic is the base unit for information with DITA. Each topic is a separate file and should be reusable in multiple contexts. A topic:

  • Has a title and a body
  • Has a primary objective (explain how to do something, what is an object…) depending on its type.
  • Is long enough to cover the user’s need and makes sens on its own
  • Is short enough to be readable an address a single subject or answer a single question
  • Follows a templated structure.
  • Is self-contained (reusable is multiple context)

The three base information types for topics are:

  • Task – How to do… ? (ex. make a telephone call)
  • Concept – What is .. ? (ex. what is this new phone)
  • Reference – Exhaustive list of elements which the user refers to. (ex. phone book)

Task, Concept and Reference are specialization of Topic (topic with no type).

The recommended extension for a topic is *.dita.


The ditaval file is a DITA XML file which contains processing instructions for conditional processing.

The ditaval file must be included in the publishing process. In Componize, you add the ditaval to the publishing pipelines.


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>  
<!DOCTYPE val PUBLIC "-//OASIS//DTD DITA DITAVAL//EN" "ditaval.dtd">
  <prop action="include" att="audience" />
  <prop action="exclude" att="audience" val="biologist"/>

This file means only the content tagged with an @audience attribute value biologist will be included.

The attributes and their values can be set up in a subjectscheme file.


DocBook is an documentation open standard originally designed for books. DocBook is maintainted by the OASIS consortium.

See the DocBook 5.0 working draft.

DTD (Document Type Definition)

The purpose of a DTD is to define the legal building blocks of an XML document.

A DTD defines the document structure with a list of legal elements and attributes.

Train with the W3C tutorial.

Dublin Core

Dublin Core is a set of metadata that describes a publication. The values are mimicked in DITA, especially in the bookmap.

See more information in the specifications online.

EPUB (Electronic PUBlication)

EPUB (short for electronic publication) is a free and open e-book standard by the International Digital Publishing Forum. Files have the extension .epub.

EPUB is designed for reflowable content, meaning that an EPUB reader can optimize text for a particular display device. EPUB also supports fixed-layout content.

The format is intended as a single format that publishers and conversion houses can use in-house, as well as for distribution and sale. It supersedes the Open eBook standard.

Amazon Kindle is the only eBook reader that does not support EPUB. Amazon uses its own proprietary format.

See the EPUB specification on the International Digital Publishing Forum website.

Explorer interface (Alfresco Explorer)

The Explorer interface is accessible through <server_name>/alfresco. The Explorer interface is superseded by the Alfresco Share interface.
Some content curation actions are still available only on the Explorer interface, most importantly:

  • checking orphan files;
  • setting up new publishing pipelines.


Information architect

The information architect in a DITA project is the technical lead. She or he, is responsible for the delivery of the content and in charge of the best practices. For example, the information architect is in charge of developing the style guide.

See more information on DITA project roles, activities, and skills, in this OASIS white paper.

Information typing

Identifying the type of topic based on its primary objective:
  • A task explains how to do something;
  • A concept offers a definitions or further understanding.
The information type determines the topic structure and XML blocks, such as a task having steps. The author must follow the structure provided by the schema for the type of topic chosen.
Information types are created through specialization. For example, the parent information type of all topics (task, concept, and so on) is Topic. The parent information type of all maps (bookmap, subjectscheme…), is Map.


Keys are introduced in DITA in the 1.2 version. One of their principal use is indirect addressing, where the authors use a key name rather than a hardcoded URI to reuse content. The key name is finally resolved through a link to the map though.

Keyword (Tag)

Keywords are part of the metadata an author can use in a map or in a topic. Keywords can help SEO when the content is transformed in XHTML. Componize maps tags to keyword element in the DITA topics. The keywords are uncontrolled, meaning every writer can use what he or she prefers. Tags could be compared to a folksonomy. You can add several tags to your files and the use these tags to filter your content directly in the interface.
Tags are a great way to collect the authors or casual writers keywords before defining the taxonomy.

Life cycle

Content development follows a life cycle – which can differ depending on the organization and the regulations it needs to abide to. Processes are milestones in the content life cycle.

A simple example could be: there is first an authoring workflow, which creates the first draft of the content. The final draft is submitted for technical or linguistic review through another workflow and the sign-off is another workflow.


DITA depends heavily on links. Links are used to define the content and organization of publication structures (DITA maps), topic-to-topic navigation links and cross references, and reuse content by reference plus media references. All DITA links use the same addressing facilities, either URI-based addresses or DITA-specific indirect addresses using keys and key references…

Localization (translation)

Localization is the activity of transposing and adapting content from one language and culture to another language and culture.
DITA contains a series of localization-specific attributes and elements:
  • encoding – sets the encoding for the source and the outputs. It is recommended to use the unicode sets.
  • xml:lang – defines the language and locale to use (en-us for example) on topics, blocks, and inline elements
  • translate=”no” – provides directions to translators
  • dir – indicates the language direction.

Localization package

In the localization process, the localization package is the object sent to translators and third-party language service privder. It contains the files to (re)translate and adapt, and helpful information, such as a contextualized view of the content, glossary…



Metadata is information about information which can be added to topics or maps. You can add an author name to a topic. The information is not presented to the reader but is nevertheless useful for authors. DITA topics and maps can contain metadata elements.

See two examples of metadata: keyword and category.

See more information on this presentation: Metadata: Why should the technical communicator care (2011)

My files

My Files is a unique area in Alfresco where you can create and store content, and no other Alfresco users can access it.

So rather than saving content on your laptop or tablet, you can save it in Alfresco and still keep it private until it’s ready to be shared. You can access the My Files area from anywhere in Alfresco by clicking My Files at the top of the screen.

The functionality available in the My Files area is identical to what you find in the Document Library.

See also Shared files.

OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) Organization_for_the_Advancement_of_Structured_Information_Standards_Logo

OASIS is an international non-profit consortium that drives the development, convergence and adoption of open standards for the global information society since 1993, , such as DocBook and DITA.

See more information on OASIS website.

Open standard

An open standard is a standard that is publicly available and has various rights to use associated with it, and may also have various properties of how it was designed (e.g. open process). There is no single definition and interpretations vary with usage. The definitions of the term “open standard” used by academics, the European Union and some of its member governments or parliaments such as Denmark, France, and Spain preclude open standards requiring fees for use.

Open standard principles:

  • Availability Open Standards are available for all to read and implement.
  • Maximize End-User Choice Open Standards create a fair, competitive market for implementations of the standard. They do not lock the customer in to a particular vendor or group.
  • No Royalty Open Standards are free for all to implement, with no royalty or fee. Certification of compliance by the standards organization may involve a fee.
  • No Discrimination Open Standards and the organizations that administer them do not favor one implementer over another for any reason other than the technical standards compliance of a vendor’s implementation.
  • Certification organizations must provide a path for low and zero-cost implementations to be validated, but may also provide enhanced certification services.
  • Extension or Subset Implementations of Open Standards may be extended, or offered in subset form. However, certification organizations may decline to certify subset implementations, and may place requirements upon extensions (see Predatory Practices).
  • Predatory Practices Open Standards may employ license terms that protect against subversion of the standard by embrace-and-extend tactics. The licenses attached to the standard may require the publication of reference information for extensions, and a license for all others to create, distribute, and sell software that is compatible with the extensions.

An Open Standard may not otherwise prohibit extensions.

Output formats

The documents created from the DITA content are called outputs. They can have specific stylesheets; specific variables (see conditional publishing); specific formats, such as EPUB. The non-exhaustive list of output formats include:

  • PDF – for print (open standard)
  • XHTML – Web format with an index file.
  • EPUB – for eBook reader (open standard).
  • Web Help – compiled Web format with a search box.
  • Eclipse Help – compiled help format to deploy directly on a Web server.
  • CHM – compiled Help Manual (supported by Microsoft OS only).
  • RTF – rich-text format (another open standard!).

Publishing Pipeline

Componize uses XML pipelines to create final readable deliverables (outputs). The pipelines are defined once for all and can be reused whenever authors need to publish DITA topics or maps. A wizard is available from the Explorer interface to create the pipelines.
The publishing pipelines in Componize are defined using the XProc pipeline language (.xpl extension). Componize uses XProc instead of the ANT processing language (default in the DITA Open Toolkit) as its more robust and provides better performances.


Relax NG (REgular LAnguage for XML Next Generation)

RELAX NG is a schema language for XML – a RELAX NG schema specifies a pattern for the structure and content of an XML document.

A RELAX NG schema is an XML document but also offers a popular compact, non-XML syntax. Compared to other XML schema languages RELAX NG is considered relatively simple.

Relationship table

Relationship tables are DITA map sections. It takes a table form and links topics when they are in the same row and different columns. During processing, these relationships can be rendered in different ways, although they typically result in lists of “Related topics” or “For more information” links at the end of a topic. This table will create links between two Task topics, for example Check site activity and Follow people.


Schematron is a rule-based validation language for making assertions about the presence or absence of patterns in XML trees. It is a structural schema language expressed in XML using a small number of elements and XPath.

Schematron is capable of expressing constraints in ways that other XML schema languages like XML Schema and DTD cannot. For example, it can require that the content of an element be controlled by one of its siblings. Or it can request or require that the root element, regardless of what element that is, must have specific attributes. Schematron can also specify required relationships between multiple XML files.

Constraints and content rules may be associated with “plain-English” validation error messages, allowing translation of numeric Schematron error codes into meaningful user error messages.

Constraints are specified in Schematron using an XPath-based language that can be deployed as XSLT code, making it practical for applications such as the following:

  • Adjunct to Structural Validation: By testing for co-occurrence constraints, non-regular constraints, and inter-document constraints, Schematron can extend the validations that can be expressed in languages such as DTDs, RELAX NG or XML Schema.
  • Lightweight Business Rules Engine: Schematron is not a comprehensive, Rete rules engine, but it can be used to express rules about complex structures with an XML document.
  • XML Editor Syntax Highlighting Rules: XML editors use Schematron rules to conditionally highlight XML files for errors. Not all XML editors support Schematron.

Share interface (Alfresco Share)

Alfresco share is the latest Alfresco interface which is designed to promote collaboration for a project or within a set team. The share interface is accessible through <server_name>/share. It supersedes theAlfresco Explorer interface.
The share interface offers collaboration features for a site, such as discussions, wikis, calendars, lists of simple tasks, shared links and so on.

Shared files

Shared Files is a unique area in Alfresco where you can create, store and share content, without adding it to a site Document Library.

Any content that you create or add to Shared Files is visible to all other users in your organization. It is in effect a shared drive, so you can quickly share content with colleagues without uploading it to a site, emailing it, or needing to find a pen drive. You can access the Shared Files area from anywhere in Alfresco by clicking Shared Files at the top of the screen. The functionality available in the Shared Files area is identical to what you find in the Document Library.

See also My files.

Site (team site or project site)

In Componize for Alfresco, a site is a collaboration place where a set of people can collaborate, and upload, share, and swap content. It can be a team site or a project site with a limited life expectancy.

A site for XML content optimized with Componize should have a folder for XML Source.  Optional and recommended folders include: Template, Ditaval, Outputs, Log, Processing.

Content rules and aspects are added to content and folders to validate XML content, maintain links, synchronize metadata, compare folders and XML files and so on.


Extensibility with inheritance, which allows the creation of new types that inherit processing rules from existing types.

For example, API documentation is a particular kind of reference information and requires more specific rules and descriptive markup than a generic reference type.

DITA lets you define a new type and reuse the processing of the base type (providing new processing only for different requirements of the new type). As a result, topics from different domains with different markup and markup rules can be built together into one help file, Web site, or book.


The subjectscheme is a specialization of the map. It is mainly used to set values for attributes, and is especially useful to share the variables between the authoring team.

To see the values in the Author editor, open the subjectscheme map or the main (upper) map. The values automatically cascade in the editor.


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE subjectScheme PUBLIC "-//OASIS//DTD DITA Subject Scheme Map//EN" "map.dtd">
    <!-- Values for markets -->
    <subjectdef keys="market">
        <subjectdef keys="USA"/>
        <subjectdef keys="UK"/>
    <!-- Link the market value to the preset attribute @product -->
        <attributedef name="product"/>
        <subjectdef keyref="market"/>


A tag is a collection of files at a point in time. The tag can be a content release and a starting point for a new content development branch or a fix. The user can download a tag as a ZIP archive.

Unicode consortium

The Unicode Consortium is a non-profit corporation devoted to developing, maintaining, and promoting software internationalization standards and data, particularly the Unicode Standard, which specifies the representation of text in all modern software products and standards.
The Unicode Consortium actively develops standards in the area of internationalization including defining the behavior and relationships between Unicode characters. The Consortium works closely with W3C and ISO.

See more information on the Unicode consortium website.

URI (Uniform Resource Identifier)

In computing, a uniform resource identifier is a string of characters used to identify a name of a web resource. Such identification enables interaction with representations of the web resource over a network (typically the World Wide Web) using specific protocols. Schemes specifying a concrete syntax and associated protocols define each URI.

See more about the URI syntax on Wikipedia.
See more on the workgroup website.


UTF-8 encodes each Unicode character as a variable number of 1 to 4 octets, where the number of octets depends on the integer value assigned to the Unicode character. It is an efficient encoding of Unicode documents that use mostly US-ASCII characters because it represents each character in the range U+0000 through U+007F as a single octet. UTF-8 is the default encoding for XML and since 2010 has become the dominant character set on the Web.

Learn more information on UTF-8 website.


Versioning ensures control over the documentation and tracking changes made by all participants to the content.

Piling multiple versions creates a file history or an audit trail. A tracking tool lets your compare previous versions, revert to a previous version, create minor or major versions. The way an organization handles versioning is tightly linked to the content life cycle.



W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) logo

W3C (World Wide Web Consortium)

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web.

XML Schema

An XML Schema describes the structure of an XML document. It is more powerful than a DTD.

An XML schema describes the structure of an XML document. XML Schemas will be used as a replacement for DTDs. Here are some reasons:

  • XML Schemas are extensible to future additions
  • XML Schemas are richer and more powerful than DTDs
  • XML Schemas are written in XML
  • XML Schemas support data types
  • XML Schemas support namespaces
Note: The XML Schema language is also referred to as XML Schema Definition (XSD).

Train with the W3C tutorial.

XML (eXtensible Markup Language)

XML is not a replacement for HTML. XML and HTML were designed with different goals:

  • XML was designed to transport and store data, with focus on what data is
  • HTML was designed to display data, with focus on how data looks

HTML is about displaying information, while XML is about carrying information.
With XML you invent your own tags. The tags invented can be stored in a DTD, XML Schema, or even Relax NG.
There are some rules for XML documents:

  • All elements must have a closing tag.
  • Tags are case-sensitive.
  • Tags must be well-formed, and properly nested.
  • The document must have a root element.
  • XML attribute values must be “quoted”.

Train with the 3WC tutorial.

XML catalog

XML catalog is an open standard maintained by OASIS. XML catalog is a standard to resolve links.

The requirement that all external identifiers in XML documents must provide a system identifier has unquestionably been of tremendous short-term benefit to the XML community. It has allowed a whole generation of tools to be developed without the added complexity of explicit entity management.

However, the interoperability of XML documents has been impeded in several ways by the lack of entity management facilities:

  • External identifiers may require resources that are not always available. For example, a system identifier that points to a resource on another machine may be inaccessible if a network connection is not available.
  • External identifiers may require protocols that are not accessible to all of the vendors’ tools on a single computer system. An external identifier that is addressed with the ftp: protocol, for example, is not accessible to a tool that does not support that protocol.
  • It is often convenient to access resources using system identifiers that point to local resources. Exchanging documents that refer to local resources with other systems is problematic at best and impossible at worst.

The problems involved with sharing documents, or packages of documents, across multiple systems are large and complex. While there are many important issues involved and a complete solution is beyond the current scope, the OASIS membership agrees upon the enclosed set of conventions to address a useful subset of the complete problem. To address these issues, this OASIS Standard defines an entity catalog that maps both external identifiers and arbitrary URI references to URI references.

See more information in the XML Catalog specifications.

XPath (XML Path language)

XPath is a language for addressing parts of an XML document. It is an open standard from the W3C. XPath is part of the XSL family.

See more information in the XPath specifications.


XProc is an XML markup language maintained by the W3C. It is therefore an open standard. In Componize, it is used to publishing pipelines for the DITA Content.

The pipeline definition from the XProc specifications states:

An XML Pipeline specifies a sequence of operations to be performed on zero or more XML documents. Pipelines are made up of simple steps which perform atomic operations on XML documents and constructs similar to conditionals, iteration, and exception handlers which control which steps are executed.

XSL-FO (XSL Formatting Objects)

XSL-FO is a language for formatting XML data for output to screen, paper or other media. XSL-FO is an open standard maintained by the 3WC.

Train with the W3C tutorial.
See more in the W3C specifications.

XSL (EXtensible Stylesheet Language)

XSL stands for EXtensible Stylesheet Language.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) started to develop XSL because there was a need for an XML-based Stylesheet Language.

XSL is a family of recommendations for defining XML document transformation and presentation. XSL is an open standard maintained by the W3C.

XSL consists of three parts:

  • XSLT – a language for transforming XML documents
  • XPath – a language for navigating in XML documents
  • XSL-FO – a language for formatting XML documents

XSL-T (XSL Transformation)

XSL stands for EXtensible Stylesheet Language Transformation.

XSLT is part of the XSL family. XSLT is a language for transforming XML documents into other XML documents.

See more information in the XSLT specifications.
Train with the W3C tutorial.

Glossary Resources

Definition resources include specifications and web sources.

  • DITA specifications consulted on January 2014
  • OASIS committees consulted on January 2014
  • Open Management Group specifications consulted on January 2014
  • Open standards consulted on January 2014:
  • Unicode specifications consulted on January 2014
  • Wikipedia consulted on January 2014
  • Componize DITA and user trainings