RE: XML/DocBook for newbies

Subject: RE: XML/DocBook for newbies
From: "Lisa Hickling" <Lisa -dot- Hickling -at- realsuitesoftware -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2005 11:04:44 -0400

Opinions and counter-opinions do not consitute war, Bill. Most
proponents of XML formatted docs are happy just to apply a standard, any
standard. Each schema has its advantages, disadvantages and well honed
workarounds. So, I'm not opposed to DocBook. I simply reiterate with
support from your posting that...

>I find however that [DocBook] 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.

Lisa H.

"The finest language is mostly made up of simple unimposing words."
George Eliot

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Lawrence
Sent: Wednesday, August 17, 2005 10:14 AM

>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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