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The profile editor creates sample points for hue/saturation you click on. The hue/saturation of any point of the image is dependent on the white balance. Therefore you should white balance the image first.
I realize that. In the meantime I was thinking more about it. Picking WB can be used in fact for creating a palette.
As I understand it now, the profile editor does not really need a DNG or a raw image; in fact it does not need any image. It could have been made with an "empty" box to be filled with some color, the task being to assign another color to that (or to leave it). Even better: it could start out with the color swatches.
In other words, the DNG image is for nothing else but for providing the source of different colors. White balancing helps putting it into a "realistic context", so that one does not have to work with an abstract color but with "skin", "sky", etc.
When loading a color checker image, WBd on a gray square, one gets 18 different colors to manipulate with (i.e. to assign color transformation). After that, picking WB on a *coloured* square, one gets 24 other colors to work with, and so on.
Is this correct?
The WB feature in the DNG Profile Editor (PE) is there because it is possible that you might open a DNG file in PE that has not already been white balanced. Imagine you photographed an image under tungsten lighting but had the in-camera WB manually set to daylight. If you didn't set the WB before converting the image to a DNG, it will appear very warm when you open it up in PE. So PE's WB feature is designed to save you time by letting you do a click-WB instead of having to go back to CR or LR to adjust the image's WB.
PE is named "profile editor" because it only edits profiles. It is not an image editor. So you are correct, you do not really need an image to edit profiles, technically. However, unless you have an image open you have no way to evaluate how good your adjustments are.
Typically the only reason to make a profile or edit a profile is if there's something about an existing profile that you're unhappy with. And you'd be unhappy because you'd have an example of a "problem" image, where the existing profile doesn't produce the result you want. That's the image you want to bring into the PE, so you can pick out the colors that are "wrong" and fix them.
Then ideally you would open many more images in PE just to verify that your adjustments generalize well.