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: "Technical Writing Plus" <doc-x -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 15 Jul 2009 08:48:54 -0600

Jen, Perhaps you should look at OpenOffice.org. I do not know the specifics,
but it might cover most of your requirements. It does produce pdf and it
does have a scripting language, and it does give you the option of producing
html and xml docs.

It is much more user-friendly than Latex.

Jim Jones chineseadjuster.webs.com stc-chicago-jim.blogspot.com

-----Original Message-----
...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 ugly...plus 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?..

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

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