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Subject: Re: [docbook-apps] website dtd processing on win32

Hi Volker,

> Hi Dan,
> I use vim and dbhelper to write my docbook documents. It's a matter
> of taste what kind of editor you use and of course the document size
> matters. As larger a document is growing as more assistance you'll
> need from your editor to relieve your work. I tried out several
> editors but came always back to vim.
Since vim is basically a text editor, I'll stick with EditPlus, which has
all the features of vim as far as I can see (& I've worked with EditPlus for
a few years now). I've made my own DocBook "cliptext" in EditPlus that
includes *all* the DocBook elements with valid required (& my own person
preference of optional) child elements. For example, if I need a <section>
tag, I type out "section", press F2, and it inserts the following for me:
It even places the caret inbetween the opening and closing tags of the title
element. As far as plain text editors go, it is quite good for me.

Nonetheless, I would *never* trust a non-techie author with no DocBook
training to write me a DocBook manual based on something. In fact, this is
my very point: DocBook should be "under-the-hood" as far as the document
author is concerned. A decent WYSIWYGish (or WHSI-HTML) editor should know
the required & optional elements for each structure, and have them at the
ready for the author to use. It should be impossible to write a DocBook
book, article, chapter, colophone, etc. that is invalid according to the
DocBook schema. Furthermore, it has got to be very easy to use. (If
professional authors are often instructed to write their books at a "grade 8
reading level" [and they are], then at what "user-level" should we in the
programming community be making our apps & tools??)

> Do you know Gemdoc? It's not free but it supplies a GUI for processing
> docbook documents. This application seems - for me - to move on the "right
> path".
> Give the trial version a chance to see what I mean. Something like that
> should be available for free.

I've looked briefly at Gemdoc and discarded it because there's no support
for profiling (which I need extensively, since I have different audiences
for the materials I write - instructors, students, etc). And, as you said
later on, it is far from being complete.

> Gemdoc[1] and eDE[2] are worth a look but far from being "complete".
> Therefore I've registered yesterday pccdf at sourceforge
> (pccdf=Pre-Configured Crossplatform Docbook Framework).  I hope we
> can create a docbook package based on the standard tools (xalan, fop
> etc.) which is easy to setup, easy to handle and can be used in the
> same way on win32 and GNU/Linux systems.  Always looking for a
> helping hand ;)

What is the url for pccdf at sourceforge (I tried searching, but couldn't
find it)? I may be able to help out.

also, I agree that the "standard" tools should should be used in the
publishing-tool-chain (... it's just that not everyone agrees on what the
"standards" should be - I, for example, have avoided the Java tools, except
fop, in favor of xsltproc, which is more "Windows"-based...)

> Docbook is a tool to get the job done. At the moment it seems at
> least to me to be trendy to docbook but not for getting the job
> done, only for the satisfaction of attending a technical trend.
> Docbook should be used not only adulated.

I "use" docbook, but it would get used by more if it were more usable. That
is to say, it is still to *techy*. Are there any free tools that allow me to
write DocBook without ever having to write *any* of the elements myself
(like <para>)?? If there were, then DocBook would have a better chance of
becoming more widely used to "get the job done."

> This phenomenon is well known - like the inner circle of GNU/Linux
> distributions.

uhm - I am most definately not a member of the "inner circle of GNU/Linux" -
which leaves me at the point that I began my diatribe - where's the good (&
free!) Docbook editors?? At least the computer I bought had WordPad
installed, and I never needed to buy MS Office to write simple documents &
manuals. Is there a DocBook version of WordPad anywhere?

Anyway, I don't want to just rag on the lack of tools - I want to
contribute. It's just that I have to do so on a very limited time &
financial budget, so I don't know how long it will take to make this "dream"
come true. I have a number of ideas that could cut down on the coding needed
to create such a tool. I also want it abstracted in a decent way so that
it's not just for DocBook, but can be used with other structured document
schemas (such as those emerging in the news industry).


I hope I haven't offended anyone by my comments. I like & use docBook, but I
could use it more readily (& could convince my colleagues to use it) if the
free tools were there (in a less piece-meal fashion).

Wonderful chatting with you, Volker!

- Dan Gilleland

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