Re: XML/DocBook for newbies

Subject: Re: XML/DocBook for newbies
From: Bill Lawrence <lawrence -at- mayaviz -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2005 10:13:54 -0400

In DocBook's case, you physically encapsulate your information in
chapters, articles, etc in the following order. After you have decided
whether you're writing an <article>..or..wait..maybe it's a
<chapter>...then you proceed to create the meat of the information.
Finally you hope that the structure you started with suffices for your
project. IMHBOMO, Docbook's great if you've got a publishing deal with
SAMS. I find however that it may require more massaging than DITA does
for single sourcing. Docbook has been good to those who use it and is
certainly better supported than DITA.
Not to engage in religious wars over DTDs, but there are better ways to approach single source design in Docbook. We write all our single source modules (files) as Docbook sections. Sections can nest within sections, which makes them extremely flexible. We get some DITA-like functionality by using attributes to identify information types for the modules, and we can conditionalize on those information types.

The hierarchical structure, such as chapter or article, isn't a problem 'cause we create documents or help through "driver" files that reference the modules via xinclude elements. The driver files are kinda like "master documents" in Word. Only the driver files contain the hierarchical elements. So, a shorter document that uses article as the root can reference some of the same information modules (sections) as a longer document that uses book as its root.


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RE: XML/DocBook for newbies: From: Lisa Hickling

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