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Subject: RE: [docbook-apps] DocBook and InDesign

There actually is a mechanism for preserving directives for publishing in a specific output format: processing instructions.  If they become very dense, they make the markup hard to read, but the mechanism is there.  Processing instructions are ignored if they are not recognized by a processing engine and can be made specific to an output format.  While there are some processing instructions in DocBook, any number of them can be added, they just will not be recognized when a document is passed to another processing environment.

I think it is important to keep in mind that DocBook was not designed for publication of documents that require polish in their presentation.  The purpose was to produce a reasonable render of the content for authors working to produce technical documentation.  My first exposure to DocBook was in FrameMaker+SGML.  I was actually relieved when I moved to editing the markup directly in our move to XML and was no longer constantly fiddling with the output format.  The fiddling would have been counterproductive in many ways since we had multiple output formats by then and tuning for one frequently not only did not help the others but actually could negatively impact them.  I was down to occasionally specifying that a table should start at the top of a page instead of breaking across a page (and even that could be risky with reused content).

Our environment was pretty optimal for DocBook -- hundreds of documents produced and revised on an ongoing basis with corporate standards for what they were to look like.  This is probably not the model for a publishing house, but it is what DocBook shines at -- large quantities of documentation that are to be produced with a standard look and feel as rapidly as possible.

Authors moving from Word were frustrated, but many of them were frustrated because they didn't buy the fundamental premise of DocBook: mark up what it is, not what it looks like.  It is true that some things like table editing can be helped by WYSIWYG.  In general, I found it freeing to be able to concentrate on the content rather than worrying about the appearance, which depended heavily on the output format being used.

Larry Rowland

-----Original Message-----
From: Dave Pawson [mailto:davep@dpawson.co.uk] 
Sent: Friday, June 18, 2010 12:46 AM
To: katie@inkwelle.com
Cc: docbook-apps@lists.oasis-open.org
Subject: Re: [docbook-apps] DocBook and InDesign

On Thu, 17 Jun 2010 07:56:05 -0700
Katie Welles <katie@inkwelle.com> wrote:

> Seems to be that the expectation in round-tripping is just that the
> text edits will be intact, yes?

Yes... but what help is that?
Two windows open, XML source, Finished output.
Edit XML. 

For non techie editors, .... dunno :-)




Dave Pawson

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