re: Giving up on XML

Subject: re: Giving up on XML
From: "Sean Hower" <hokumhome -at- freehomepage -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2007 07:27:19 -0700

I started following this thread but haven't kept up with everything in it, so I might have missed some things.

The original poster expressed difficulties....for lack of a nicer word.....getting docbook to work. I totally know and understand that pain. I went through the same thing a couple of years back. What really REALLY helped me was not "DocBook: The Definitive Guide"--which I found esoteric, outdated, and relying too heavily on open source technologies that required WAY too much tinkering to get to work--but the following instead.

Going through this took me two days to get a toolchain up and running, as opposed to the month that I had spent banging my head off the desk trying to get it to work. Now, if someone has already posted a link to this work, my apologies.

As for XML and whether one should use it, etc etc etc, XML is a technology like .... sort of .... html. And like HTML, it has its uses and misuses. And like HTML, it has other technologies that can complement it. And like HTML, if you don't want to get down into the code, you really do need some sort of tool, such as the free edition of XMLSpy, to use it--you wouldn't expect to be able to just create Web pages without some sort of tool, right?

But, there is a learning curve on this and if you don't have the time or the budget or the _need_ for XML, don't bother. Same with DocBook. If you're worried about open formats, use, by the way, "supports" much the same way the Frame supports it. If you want to use XML because everyone else is, then expect to go through the same learning curve that everyone else is. But when it comes right down to it, if you do a proper analysis of your needs and you discover that you don't need to use DocBook or XML, that's perfectly okay. :-)

I know the thread's title was giving up on XML, but it sounds more like giving up on DocBook. If DocBook is too difficult to get working the way you want it to, and trust me this isn't a slam because I know from experience that it is a pain, then you can try one of the MANY other dialects out there, like DITA.

Other than that, let me just say I agree--mostly--with what Eric Dunn has been saying on this thread. ;-) Mostly.

Cheers and have a happy Friday.

Sean Hower - communications specialist

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