DeltaXML add improved CALS table handling to Merge products

August 31, 2023

Submitted by Mark Thomas.

Flexible n-way comparison and merge of CALS tables.

DeltaXML announce the release of new versions of their products XML Merge and DITA Merge, featuring improved handling of changes in CALS tables, as already available in XML Compare.

Anyone who has worked with XML tables knows comparing is tricky - there is a trade-off between capturing structural changes and showing the content changes in a way that is useful for the reader. It was therefore an easy decision to update DeltaXML's XML Compare product to include a completely new method of table comparison that is focused on showing content changes in as much detail as possible.

Last summer, XML Compare 12.0.0 was released, which featured a new, improved algorithm for table comparison. This new approach leads to more precise, more intuitive and more detailed change representation in tables where one or more of the following changes has taken place:

  • Column span changes
  • Row span changes
  • Column order change
  • Row order change

It also adds the ability to ignore the order of columns, which means that a change in order doesn't trigger delta markup in the result. Those used to seeing row duplications in their table results will be pleased to know that these have been dramatically reduced. In the vast majority of cases, changes are now shown at the cell level, leading to a more intuitive table result.

DeltaXML are excited to announce that with XML Merge 11.0.0 and DITA Merge 7.0.0, this new table algorithm is included in their merge products as well. This has added more complexity, but it is believed that these products, as well as being easy to configure, produce the most rigorous and accurate comparisons available.

If some of the table versions have different structures, it's necessary to select a 'master' table from which to create the result. The Merge version is used as the priority to determine which version to use as the master. The spans in that version are prioritised, and other spans are created around them, sometimes as they were in the original and sometimes fragmented as necessary to ensure table validity. This approach helps to keep the result table as compact as possible while still representing how the table content has changed.

Product Director, Tristan Mitchell says "Two-way table comparison is complicated enough; extending that to n-way comparison has been a challenge! But we're confident that this update will improve your merge results and make it easier to produce a single, resolved table merge if that's your final output target".


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