RE: XML/DocBook for newbies

Subject: RE: XML/DocBook for newbies
From: "Fred Ridder" <docudoc -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2005 18:51:05 -0400

I find it interesting that I use the same "top-down" and "bottom-up"
adjectives when talking about DocBook vs. DITA, but I apply them
in exactly the opposite way.

Lisa seems to be defining them from the writer's standpoint, where
in DITA the topic is often the starting point and combinations of
topics are periodically collected and arranged into deliverables. But my
use of "top-down" to describe DITA is based on the way the DTD
is architected--starting with the broadest classification of the topics
that comprise a document (concept, procedure, reference) and only
specializing where there is need or value to the specialization. And
also the way that DITA defines most specializations in terms of the
parent element types so that specialized topics can usually be reused
at a higher level even in documents that don't "understand" the
specific specialization that has been used in the topic.

In the case of DocBook, it has always seemed to me that the design
started with an encyclopedic catalog of all the atomic types of content
and built up a myriad of compund elements from there. But I suppose
when it comes time to use it, the most common thing is to start at
the top and burrow down.

My opinions only; I don't speak for Intel.
Fred Ridder
Parsippany, NJ

From: "Lisa Hickling" <Lisa -dot- Hickling -at- realsuitesoftware -dot- com>
Subject: RE: XML/DocBook for newbies
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2005 08:37:17 -0400

Bottom-up: First type/classify information into topics --> then your
wrap it into a package
In this sense, DITA allows you to physically classify and write your
information according to topic types (procs, concepts, references). Only
later do you concern yourself with how the information will be presented
(ie grouping topics to form a chapter, which can be easily done through
XSLT). All of this spells enhanced opportunities to reuse topics,
possibly across multiple logical chapters in different document sets.
Using DITA, information becomes more granular and flexible.

Top-down: First define a package --> then squeeze the information into
the packaged mold.
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.

This is just my rant valued at $.02. For more info/points of view stay
tuned to this or maybe later threads and don't forget to google!

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

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