Re: Suggestions for free/cheap/Open Source documentation for Web Site & PDF?

Subject: Re: Suggestions for free/cheap/Open Source documentation for Web Site & PDF?
From: Janet Swisher <jmswisher -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Jen H <documentation -at- voxilate -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 15 Jul 2009 07:53:39 -0500

On Tue, Jul 14, 2009 at 8:29 PM, Jen H<documentation -at- voxilate -dot- com> wrote:
> Hi, all:
> I've been out of the documentation loop for a few years and thought I'd
> query the group for more modern insight. I'm helping out a project where
> we'll be producing documentation that we'll need to output in both PDF and
> as nice-looking Web pages. I've batted around a few ideas - LaTeX (nice and
> build-system-happy, but LaTex2HTML is so we'll eventually want
> many people to update it and not everyone loves LaTeX), Apache Forrest (but
> it doesn't seem to be heavily maintained and doesn't work with JDK 1.6. This
> is, I guess, not a big deal, but resetting JAVA_HOME all the time is a
> pain).
> Requirements are really the following:
> - Text-based source for easy integration with source control.
> - Free, or close to it.
> - Single-sourceability: Should be able to code text for multiple output
> streams/audiences.
> - Multiple output formats supported, PDF and HTML at a minimum.
> - Can be built without user interaction (i.e., scriptable to run with
> automated builds).
> - Somewhat easily editable - Eclipse plugin support would be fantastic.
> - Pain threshold for initial configuration is medium (<2 hrs to set up, fine
> if it takes a little longer to make "pretty"). Pain threshold for
> maintenance/modification of styles/build system/internals post-initial setup
> is high, however.
> Any advice or suggestions? What's working for you in the land of free
> software? Is anyone successfully using Maven to produce user documentation?
> (Anyone using Forrest?) Any other out-of-the-box DocBook implementations
> that are easy to get up and running quickly? Or other suggestions and
> advice?

Take a look at Sphinx:

Source files are ReStructured Text, which is a simple but powerful
wiki-like markup syntax. Outputs to HTML and PDF. The HTML output is
customizable with templates and stylesheets. PDF output is currently
by way of LaTeX, but a direct RST-to-PDF builder is in the works.

To use it, you need a Python environment. The easiest way to install
Sphinx is to first install setuptools, and then run "easy_install
sphinx". This downloads and installs Sphinx in your Python environment
automatically. To set up your first project, run "sphinx-quickstart".
No special editing environment is needed, though there are
ReStructured Text modes available for emacs and other text editors.

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Suggestions for free/cheap/Open Source documentation for Web Site & PDF?: From: Jen H

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