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Subject: Re: [docbook-apps] oXygen 9 beta with WYSIWYG-like editing supportfor DocBook

Elliotte Harold <elharo@metalab.unc.edu>, 2007-10-03 04:25 -0400:

> However I do think that if the user just wants to do simple bolding and 
> italicizing of text, then they just want to do presentation-based, 
> non-semantic markup. And indeed they probably do want that, and that's OK. 
> But if so they should be using Word, not DocBook.

I won't disagree with you about that. I think there are plenty of
cases of users who think they want to author in DocBook but who
might be better off using something else.

But for better or worse there does seem to be market demand for
WYSIWYG DocBook editing, so it's hard for me to find fault with
the vendor of what is a very good structural editor for XML and
DocBook wanting to add WYSIWYG capabilities to try to respond to
that market need. And I can imagine a scenario of a representative
from oXygen going in to do a product demo of that editor and
having one of the first questions from the customer be, How do I
make things bold and italic?

Given that, I'm not surprised at all they they chose to avoid the
need to explain, "Well, in DocBook the markup element that causes
text to be rendered in italic -- across all output formats
supported by the DocBook XSL stylesheets and all other common
DocBook processing applications is called emphasis, and the one
for causing text to be rendered in bold is also emphasis -- with
(the hack of using) the 'role' attribute having its value set to

If somebody wants to argue that a UI should not include features/
buttons for italic/emphasis or bold/strong-emphasis at all, then
that would seem to me to make a lot more sense. But emphasis in
DocBook amounts to meaning "markup for any content that you want
to be output in italic but which does not have any other semantics
associated with it", so it might just as well been called italic
to begin with.


Michael(tm) Smith


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