The Document Generator is based on the following concepts:
The document set is a special folder which provides the action Evaluate and has specific attributes, the entities (see below). In general, it also contains special documents, the templates. When a BSCW document set folder contains subfolders, these folders inherit the entities of the document set. Also, new entities may be specified and the Evaluate action may be carried out.
A template serves as a document creation template within a document set. A template usually consists of text into which references to entities or references to other templates are embedded. There are two classes of templates: templates of the first class directly create a document during the evaluation process (see below); templates of the second class indirectly contribute to the creation of a document because they are referred to by other templates.
An entity is a variable with a name and a value which may be used within the templates of a document set. Such an entity may stand for a simple notion like a name, a directory path or a version number. But it may also stand for a headline, a paragraph or even the complete text of a Web page. Entities are defined within templates or as attributes of a document set or one of its subfolders.
Templates or entity definitions may also contain calls of a few functions that return text strings. E.g., the size of a document can be automatically inserted into a document during the evaluation process by calling the function which returns the file size as a text string.
An evaluation process may be applied to the objects contained in a document set. In general, one or more documents are created during the evaluation process by taking one or more templates and replacing references to entities or other templates and function calls by their respective values – possibly recursively – until all references and function calls are resolved.