RE: XML/DocBook for newbies

Subject: RE: XML/DocBook for newbies
From: "Bill Trippe" <btrippe -at- nmpub -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2005 14:50:47 -0500


Hi Mark

On Thursday, January 20, 2005 12:51 PM Mark Lewin wrote

> Hi all
>
> We're just about to start on a big new round of documentation and
> because it might end up in several different formats, I have suggested
> going down the XML route. Brave (silly?) of me, because I know very
> little about using XML to write technical manuals. But hey -- it will
> be good for my career, I keep telling myself.
>
> So now I've got to get up to speed quickly. All I know is that I need
> to choose a DTD, a CSS and some form of editor that can work with
> them. Can anyone suggest any free/open source tools? And maybe some
> good online or printed resources?
>

I would also suggest you look at DITA, the Darwin Information Typing
Architecture.

A couple of good starting points:

http://xml.coverpages.org/dita.html
http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/xml/library/x-dita1/

You could also look at a high-level white paper I wrote on this (free, no
registration required):

http://www.gilbane.com/whitepapers.pl?view=13

A number of the XML vendors have announced DITA support, including ArborText
and XMetal, and it appears that some folks have put together a FrameMaker
EDD as well.

One brief technical point: you are right that you need to choose some sort
of style sheet mechanism to go from any XML to, say, print or HTML. It does
not have to be CSS though. People are using XSLT and XSL-FO stylesheets, as
well as proprietary print engines. Some of the XML editors, like ArborText,
have their own technology for going to print and other output formats.

Hope this helps!

Bill


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References:
XML/DocBook for newbies: From: Mark Lewin

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