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Re: [docbook] Ruminations on the future of DocBook


On Fri, May 30, 2003 at 09:01:11AM +0000, Stephane Bortzmeyer wrote:
> DocBook needs documentation (TDG is only a
> first attempt), needs training (any MS-Word trainer knows how it is
> difficult to make people use styles, not presentation marks), needs
> software (tools are stilll much too buggy, specially jadetex and
> passivetex), but it does not need yet another rewriting that will
> render obsolete all the training already performed (not to mention
> documents).

Forward migration into DocBook V.next is a separate issue, and will
certainly be accomplished with automated tools.

Simplification is more critical than documentation (apologizing for a 
complex design), training (coping with a complex design) and software
(implementing a complex design).  Until Norm's suggestion that it might
be time to redesign DocBook, I bought into the belief that DocBook was
exactly as complex as it needed to be, no more no less.  And a lot of
this derives from the need and desire to support lots of important
documents created in older versions of DocBook or using older tools.

> My personal opinion on Docbook is that too much time is spent on the
> standard and not enough on the surrounding environment (docs, tools).

Compare DocBook to HTML.  One reason why HTML is so wildly popular is
that you can learn the tags and structures in about 15 minutes, and the
most complicated tools required are Notepad and a web browser.  So while
DocBook needs more software, it also needs simplification so that it can
be more easily hacked with a Perl script or something less complex than 
OpenJade or xsltproc.

Maybe then we'll see a more bountiful set of tools bloom.

Z.


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