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Subject: RE: [docbook-apps] Tripane output

Hi Stefan,


You are describing fairly standard Web Help format, except for the fourth pane for legalese and the placement of the navigation buttons. Perhaps you could start with one of the standard Web Help generators and customize it to add those features.


The standard DocBook stylesheets can now generate Web Help output, and the latest editions of both Oxygen and XXE provide Web Help transformations, if you want to experiment.


XMLmind just released a free, open source Web Help Compiler  that converts any set of static XHTML, DocBook-generated or not, into Web Help. Example.


Also look at Eclipse Help running online as an Infocenter. Examples are the Eclipse help system and that of my company.


The advantage of the DocBook-generated Web Help, including XMLmind’s implementation, is that the URL to the current text page appears in the browser’s address bar, which allows your readers to bookmark and e-mail URLs to exact pages. (This is not usually possible in a frames-based system.) I see that this is also true of the Oracle help system you want to emulate.


The example that Jirka sent shows nav buttons in the top panel like you want. WHC moves those buttons to the top of the TOC panel.


The advantages of an Eclipse Infocenter are the built-in search and separate search-in-current-topic features, plus collapsible frames, all generated for you. Infocenters have the disadvantages that the address bar does not contain the URL to the current text frame (but there is an alternate way to generate a URL that opens to an exact page or section of a page), and that there are no sequential page-by-page nav buttons. (The yellow arrows are browser-like Back and Next buttons, not in-sequence-only nav buttons.)


Best of luck!


From: Stefan Hinz [mailto:stefan.hinz@oracle.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 9:23 AM
To: DocBook Apps
Subject: [docbook-apps] Tripane output


Has anyone on this list created a tripane (X)HTML output from DocBook XML? Something like this (the "live version" is here):

Tripane example

That would be:

  • Book title and navigation buttons (prev/next) in top pane
  • TOC in left pane
  • Contents in right pane (chunked XHTML)
  • Legalese in bottom right pane

Bob's fine book explains how to create similar output with frames (http://www.sagehill.net/docbookxsl/OtherOutputForms.html#Xhtml), but I need to use something more modern (<div>s). With the DocBook style sheets, the XHTML created via xsltproc contains lots of <div> containers. Those <div>s don't have IDs, but that's a fairly straightforward fix using a customization layer. Once they have IDs, the respective portions of the XHMTL can be displayed in the appropriate <div> containers.

The tough thing is to display the TOC in the left <div> at all times. In our current XHTML output, the TOC is just on the start page.

Has anyone done something similar already? Any pointers appreciated!

Stefan Hinz <stefan.hinz@oracle.com>, MySQL Documentation Manager
Phone: +49-30-82702940, Fax: +49-30-82702941, http://dev.mysql.com/doc
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