A framework for variable content document generation with multiple actors

Autores UPV
Revista Information and Software Technology


Context - 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. Objective - 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. Method 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. Results - 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. Conclusion - 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.