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Subject: Re: DOCBOOK-APPS: best tool for docbook?

On Wed, Aug 22, 2001 at 12:10:32PM -0400, Bob McIlvride wrote:
> At the same time, using Emacs helped me change my mind set from semantic
> markup to structural markup.  Could it be that some people who demand a
> WYSIWYG editor for DocBook are those who haven't yet internalized this
> paradigm?

Sounds like it.  I think a lot of them haven't tried going through the
complete list of all the elements defined in DocBook.  If they did,
they might notice that DocBook is NOT a formatting markup language!
There are only a few elements in DocBook that actually directly
control the formatting of the output...only one I can think of off the
top of my head is <emphasis/>.  Contrast this with XSL-FO and HTML,
where you have lots and lots of elements that do control formatting,
as that was what they were designed to do.  The vast majority of tags
in DocBook OTOH, encode structural and semantic information about the
document, e.g. <programlisting/>, <function/>, <structname/> and so on
and so forth, so you think in terms of these higher-level entities
that are part of what you are writing about, instead of worrying too
much about what your document is going to look like in the end.
That's the job of the stylesheets.

XML/XSL were invented to divorce the styling/presentation of a
document from its content, and DocBook is one attempt to do this for
the particular area of computer/technical documentation.  The tags in
DocBook are designed so that you think about what you are writing, the
actual content of your document, and not so much about what your
document will look like in the end when you're done.  If you're
concerned about that, customize the stylesheets so that your document
looks the way you want it to look, or use a formatting markup language
directly.  To do otherwise is to waste the rich semantic and
structural information that DocBook allows you to encode into your

Rafael R. Sevilla <sevillar@team.ph.inter.net>   +63(2)   8177746 ext. 8311
Programmer, InterdotNet Philippines              +63(917) 4458925
http://dido.engr.internet.org.ph/                OpenPGP Key ID: 0x5CDA17D8

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