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Subject: Re: DOCBOOK-APPS: About DB2LaTeX

Ramon Casellas <casellas@infres.enst.fr> writes:

> Many of the comments and bug reports I receive about DB2LaTeX concern
> the escaping of characters as well as internationalization. I'm thinking
> about how I could improve the package, and using external "modules" with
> java and/or C++ is an option. However, dropping the "XSL only" approach
> may mean compatibility problems, and that some XSL processors are
> supported and others aren't.
> So my questions are:
> - Should I add extension modules in order to make DB2LaTeX to make it
> perform better and faster?

FWIW, I'd vote for keeping the "XSL only" approach. I think there's a
big value in it -- in enabling people to get transformations done with
just a minimal system (just the stylesheets and an XSLT engine) that
will work on any platform and is free from other dependencies.

(I realize DB2LaTeX has the big dependency of requiring users to have
a working TeX setup if they want to be able to do anything with the
generated LaTeX it produces, but that's a different sort of thing.)

Just as an example: I don't think that because Steve Cheng's docbook2x
utilities (for converting DocBook to roff man pages and Texinfo) have
Perl/module dependencies, they're not as widely used as they ought to
be. I guess a lot of users just can't/don't want to deal with getting
the extra dependencies installed and working in order to use it.

Martijn van Beers has been developing a pure XSLT-based DocBook-to-man
solution that I expect will end up being used by a lot more people.

> [...]
> - Should I focus in providing support for the 1 or 2 "most widely used"
> XSLT processors in benefit of the number of features supported? [...]

You might want to aim just for xsltproc and Saxon. If you can judge by
postings to docbook-apps, xsltproc and Saxon are the engines most
DocBook users are using; other than those and Xalan, XT, and 4XSLT, I
can't think offhand of mention of any other engines showing up much on

As far as the other engines go, the current versions of the DocBook
XSL stylesheets don't work reliably with Xalan (because of bugs in
Xalan, I think, not bugs in the stylesheets), XT isn't supported
because it can't handle keys, and 4XSLT works with the stylesheets (I
think) but doesn't seem to be nearly as widely used by DocBook users
(for now, at least) as xsltproc and Saxon.



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