Customizing Chunking in DocBook

I love DocBook XML. No, really. But one thing I hate is the way you have to set a global chunking level for your HTML and then live with it. For most documentation, you want to be able to choose whether a conveniently addressable section within a chapter, and then you want to combine it into one page to make it easier to read.

For example, consider this page in the Continuent docs. Technically it’s high enough (I use a default chunking depth of 4) to be chunked, but I want the subsections on one page to make it easier to read.

Custom chunking in DocBook is clunky, so here’s an alternative.

Create a custom copy of your

Find the main chunk template definition (around line 996).

Add these two lines to the <xsl:choose> block:

<xsl:when test="$node[@condition='nochunk']">0</xsl:when>
<xsl:when test="$node[@condition='forcechunk']">1</xsl:when>

These two overwrite the implied chunking decision based on object type or depth. 

Now in your Docbook XML you can choose whether an item should be chunked or not by adding a condition attribute to your section. To chunk it:

<section id="chunkme" condition="forcechunk">...</section>

To prevent a section from being chunked:

<section id="dontchunkme" condition="nochunk">...</section>