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Subject: Re: DOCBOOK-APPS: Re: which DocBook in DOCTYPE?

> From: Karl Eichwalder <keichwa@gmx.net>
> Bob Stayton <bobs@sco.COM> writes:
> > I've chosen #4 and use a simple DOCTYPE in my files:
> > 
> > <!DOCTYPE book SYSTEM "docbook.dtd">
> This is a work around not a solution.

I have to agree that this is a workaround.
And the solution is?

> It's hardly possible to exchange
> those documents; partners have to guess what DTD to use, etc.

If I export XML documents for exchange, I filter the
files to change the DOCTYPE to the PUBLIC ID.
> > Docbook is stable enough now that this is generally not a significant
> > burden.
> All DocBook DTDs were stable; every DTD is stable by definition!

Well, each released version may be stable, but this
is the sequence of released (non-draft) versions of Docbook 4:

18 May 2000 Released Docbook 4.0
19 Jun 2000 Released Docbook 4.1
12 Aug 2000 Released Docbook 4.1.1
27 Aug 2000 Released Docbook 4.1.2

So XML files created during this year would have five
(including 3.1 before May) different PUBLIC IDs refering to
five different DTDs, depending on when they were created.
That means maintaining all five DTDs and making sure my
tools work with all five.  That's solution #1, which is
certainly another valid approach to the problem of evolving
DTDs.  It's just not the one I chose.

> DocBook 5.x will expose your system setup is broken.

How so?  I adapt my active files to each new DTD release
when I update my tools.  That's because I only want
to maintain one set of tools and matching DTD.
I have my previous tools under revision control so I
can go back to them if I have to revert back to
an inactive file with a previous DOCTYPE.

One of the reasons I want all the documents using
the same DOCTYPE is so that my authors can cut and
paste between files without running into DTD conflicts.
For example, you may recall that <comment> in Docbook 3.X was
changed to <remark> in 4.0.  If I'm maintaining files
in their original doctypes (3.x and 4.x), then it is likely
they will run into this problem even more when Docbook 5.x
comes out and we have 3.x, 4.x, and 5.x files mixed together.
> > I'm curious as to how other people handle this problem.
> There's no problem to solve -- just stick with released standards
> (SGML/XML, DSSSL) and fix software bugs.  Systems depending on "drafts"
> are broken from the very beginning.
The issue in this case (that I consider a problem)
is an evolving standard: Docbook 4.  I'd be happy to stick
with it if it would just stand still.  8^)

> Architectural Forms Processing is a genuine way to "map" a document
> instance from one DTD to another.  Once again I like to recommend David
> Megginson's book ("Structuring XML Documents", 1998).

Thanks for the recommendation. I'm curious as to what it
says about this issue.

Bob Stayton                                 400 Encinal Street
Publications Architect                      Santa Cruz, CA  95060
Technical Publications                      voice: (831) 427-7796
The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc.              fax:   (831) 429-1887
                                            email: bobs@sco.com

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