We are pursuing a programme of research in document representation. The principal aim of this research is to develop a document description language that has a precise formal semantics, that is fully expressive of the constructs typical of traditional (procedural) document description languages, that is constraint-based, and that cleanly separates specifications of form and content. The research is currently in the first of three envisioned three phases. In the first phase we are formalising the Office Document Architecture (ODA) by faithfully translating ODA document descriptions into logic programmes. The transition utilizes highly restricted forms of Prolog programmes.1 In the second phase we will explore various enhancements of ODA's expressive power that are immediately apparent upon freeing the translation from having to adhere to the initial restrictive conventions. Finally, we will explore and articulate a constraint logic programming language having “built-in" constructs for expressing both primitive and composite document description concepts. In the present essay we sketch our translation (into a DCG framework) of ODA document descriptions and (layout) processes. As it turns out the resulting translation is closely related to so called functional attribute grammars . Indeed, we hope eventually to exploit that relationship to enable efficient interpretation of the resulting translation. For now, however, we hope to convince our readers that (definite clause) grammars are a natural and powerful generalisation of the ODA framework, and that the ODA layout process can be specified entirely by declarative means by appealing to properties of the grammars in question.
Blair, Howard A. and Brown, Allen Jr., "A Logic Programming Elucidation of ODA - Document Descriptions and Processes" (1989). Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Technical Reports. 85.