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Subject: Re: [docbook-apps] Google summer of code

Stefan Seefeld wrote:
> I have been watching with interest the transition from DB 4 to DB 5, and 
> in particular, the discussions about extensibility of a "core" 
> vocabulary. A long time ago we discussed DocBook's limited support for 
> programming language representations, and what to do about it. Norm 
> argued that DB was not a modeling language, and thus, that it wasn't a 
> good idea to add more elements akin to "ooclass", "methodsynopsis", etc. 
> to the core.
> Well, I hope that as part of my project proposal 
> (http://docbook.xmlpress.net/tiki-index.php?page=api-markup), we can in 
> fact add more elements, but keep them in a separate namespace, so the 
> extension is better defined as such.
> I would hope that other extensions (slides, website, etc.) could use a 
> similar approach, i.e. all become domain-specific extensions (or 
> "profiles"). This has a couple of important advantages, not the least 
> that users are free to mix these vocabularies for their own purpose.

I come to this discussion as a DocBook user, but don't have any 
background on why DB got to where it is today.  Our use case is probably 
different from anyone else's: we're doing grammars of natural languages 
(Bengali, Urdu, Pashto...), so we have some grammar-specific extensions 
in their own name space.  We also use the literate programming extension 
that Norm wrote some years ago, so that we can automatically turn our 
grammars into parsers.

That said--

My sense (which I guess I've voiced a couple times) is that there is 
already an awfully lot (too much, IMO) about DB that is specific to 
programming languages.  Our localization has over 200 lines like
    <define name="db.classsynopsis"><notAllowed/></define>
My guess is that if you were to add programming elements in a separate 
namespace, you would want to move all the existing programming-specific 
elements into that namespace too.  I think the result would be a very
much more modular DocBook, rather like a modern programming language 
(Python, say) in which the generic stuff is in the main language, and 
constructs that deal with particular domains are in library modules.

In case it's not clear, I'm entirely for such modularization.
    Mike Maxwell
    What good is a universe without somebody around to look at it?
    --Robert Dicke, Princeton physicist

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