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Subject: Re: [docbook-apps] CSS based docbook editor

As a Word conversion tool, we use a modified version of Majix (http://sourceforge.net/projects/majix/). The code on the SourceForge site has not been maintained since 2004, hence the modifications reside on my server and can be available to anyone who wants it. I have not had the time to prepare a real release and the project administrators have not returned my emails. (Email me if you are interested in the modified version of Majix).
I have modified the Majix base code a bit  to emit Docbook 4.5 XML that can be compiled without errors.
Since most Microsoft Word documents are not structured, there can be a bit of cleanup to
do in the document. The conversion will create a "Docbook" file that can be compiled, and
may look acceptable in the output, but may not be structured as you would like. Here are
some issues that you may find:
• The conversion will be a Docbook "section". You may have to relabel this if this is not
appropriate. The section will have a "FIX ME" title and the real title may be a paragraph
directly below the title. This can be an easy copy and paste.
• Most images are converted to WMF format and deposited into the "images" directory. You
can convert or replace these figures. The titles for the figures will be a "FIX ME" title.
• ENTITY declarations will be placed in the XML headers. If these are not appropriate, you
will have to modify the "entity*" declaration in the "Metriguard.tdef" file or manually edit
them in the converted XML.
• All tables will default to 20 columns. You will have to edit the number of columns and
remove unnecessary colspecs. If there are any spans in the table, you will have to replace
these manually.
This is usually good enough for me to use for starting a Docbook XML document. It usually doesn't take much time to clean up a document after conversion and make it "production XML" .
Dean Nelson
In a message dated 4/2/2010 11:45:33 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, maxwell@umiacs.umd.edu writes:
On Fri, 02 Apr 2010 13:51:05 +0200, Nathalie Sequeira <n@n-faktor.net>
> I am currently looking for a docBook editor that is directed towards end

> users
> ...
> - And especially:
> ability to import and transform rtf documents preformatted in a
> specified way by contributing authors (or at least open them and
> reformat, instead of having to cut and paste single text blocks, which
> seems to be the necessary procedure e.g. in XMLmind?)

Three or four years ago, we had to start our project with MsWord.  Once we
had XMLMind, we imported the Word doc into XXE (= XMLMind Editor) using a
tool which I have long since forgotten.  The tool worked reasonably well,
and we were able to import the doc as a whole; I think we had to do some
clean-up after we got it into XXE.  Unless you're doing this conversion on
multiple documents, I would consider that a one-time cost, and a small one.

I haven't looked at tools to convert Word to DocBook since then, but I
would guess that they have gotten better.  I don't know whether there are
tools that do both the import and allow editing; conceptually, those are
rather different tasks.

There was a slight learning curve for XXE, but we have now at least half a
dozen people who have learned it and are reasonably happy with it.  (Some
are happier in XXE than in Word 2007, but your mileage may vary.)

I do have a few minor gripes about XXE:
1) It doesn't handle right-to-left text well (that's probably not an issue
for most people!)
2) It doesn't do "track changes" (yet; that's on their list, and there are
work-arounds if you don't mind having the changes flagged only in your
3) It mungs the XML code by adding newlines in places no human would add
them (but that's only an issue if you want to hand-edit the XML in a
programmer's editor; it has no practical effect otherwise)

I will also mention that they have an active mailing list for users, and
they are *very* responsive to reasonable requests.

Unless you are lucky, you will need someone who can figure out how to
modify the standard configurations for XXE, and for DocBook as a whole, to
do what you want.  Our own setup is decidedly non-vanilla, and it does take
some work to keep on top of things.

In sum, we are satisfied customers of XXE.  (We have gladly paid for the
Professional version.)

   Mike Maxwell

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