OASIS Mailing List ArchivesView the OASIS mailing list archive below
or browse/search using MarkMail.


Help: OASIS Mailing Lists Help | MarkMail Help

docbook-apps message

[Date Prev] | [Thread Prev] | [Thread Next] | [Date Next] -- [Date Index] | [Thread Index] | [List Home]

Subject: Re: [docbook-apps] production environment

From our experiences in porting customers from authoring environments such as 
RoboHelp and Word.

Hope it helps.

On Monday 07 August 2006 16:52, Aaron Mehl wrote:
> The issues are:
> 1. being able to exactly replicate our Templates using docbookxsl style
> sheets

Just about everything can be replicated.

> 2. cost of set up and maintenance of the system

Depends on how much existing content your have. The toolchain is not the 
issue, porting from the current format is.

> 3. Authoring environments that are inexpensive and won't frighten MS
> word users

Try Syntext Serna. It's a short learning curve, WYSIOO Docbook Editor with 
good support for entities and xinclude.

> 4. The ability to let those who just can't switch continue to author in
> MS word.

The WordML stylesheets exist, but round tripping is just one more way to 
insert errors into the XML. We find it better in the medium to long term to 
teach the use of a structured editor. Word requires very disciplined authors. 
We find that even the most restricted word template and macros are eventually 
circumvented. Mainly because a user opens the word doc in a system that does 
not the templates and macros installed and so is not bound by anything. Yes, 
they should not do it and we do get mad about them doing it, but the problem 
still happens as new people come on board. With a structured editor the 
validity of the markup is at least enforced and we just need to train people 
which elements to use for what purpose. Mistakes do happen, but they are few 
and easier to spot and fix.

> To name a few.
> So now the question:
> For those of you working in a production environment using Docbook:
> 1. How hard was moving to Docbook?

Not hard once everyone understands the need and concepts.

> 2. How expensive was moving?

Depends on the number of document pages and users that will be moving.

> 3. How time consuming?

No more than any other system, once you have a good strategy for porting and 
then retraining people.

> 4. Are there noticeable savings in money and time?

Not immediate, but it does become easier to enforce formatting from the start. 
Depending on the size of the document library, the process to auto build all 
presentation formats is an immediate time saver. Depending on the level of 
content reuse you have in your system and factors such as l18n, a variety of 
savings can be noted once you start the next edition of a manuscript.

> 5. How practical is it to round trip authoring in msword and publishing
> in docbook?

In my experience, not very.

> 6. Do the writers like docbook or word better?


> 7. Is this possible with free software or must commercial apps be used?

Depends on what you need to do. PDF output with FOP will only take you so far, 
then you will need XEP.

> 8. What unexpected costs obstacles arouse during the conversion process.

When we first started this, there were many. Today we have the porting process 
about 75% automated. Again this varies depending on the level of formatting 
you have and the consistency with which it (styles) have been applied.

> 9. What does it cost to maintain the system?

A server and electricity :-)

> 10. If you were given the choice to do it over again would you still
> move to using Docbook?

Absolutely :-)

> 11. Were the docbookxsl style sheets enough with customizations or were
> new style sheets built from the ground up necessary?

We find that the docbook xsl are the generic point. From there we build custom 
layers to replicate what our customers existing layout and formatting looks 

If we can help in some nice way, just give me a call.


Ask me about the Monkey.

Sean Wheller
Technical Author

[Date Prev] | [Thread Prev] | [Thread Next] | [Date Next] -- [Date Index] | [Thread Index] | [List Home]