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Subject: Re: DOCBOOK: Non breaking spaces or "ties"?

/ Robert Withrow <bwithrow@nortelnetworks.com> was heard to say:
| sbline@club-internet.fr said:
| :- I use the entity &nbsp; for non-breaking space and it works fine. 
| That is what I expected, except that I couldn't find that entity anywhere
| in the DocBook DTD distribution or documentation.  Where is it defined?

See http://docbook.org/tdg/html/appa.html#AEN193324

Also note that XML versions of the entity sets are distributed with
DocBook XML.

| :- As for hyphenation, I suppose you're referring only to print output
| :- like pdf
| Are non-hardcopy renderings prohibited from being hypenated?  I didn't
| know that!

They aren't prohibited, but I don't know of any browsers that do.

| :- If you want a better granularity [on preventing hyphenation] (word-level)
| :- you will have to rely on the renderer
| Oh well.  Doesn't do much for document portability, does it?

If you need page-fidelity, you need to pass around something like PDF.
There are just too many variations in rendering capabilities to expect
that level of fidelity if you're passing around documents and

| I understand that DocBook is a semantic markup.  What I don't understand
| is if *these* kinds of things are considered to be purely "presentational".

Yes, they are. I don't know how they could be considered anything else,
they represent the finest points of good presentation.

| If they are then I can understand that there is no method for encoding
| them in DocBook.  But that also seems to present formidable hurdles
| for producing (what I would consider) truly high-quality (AKA "beautiful")
| renderings of DocBook encoded texts in a portable way.  (Yes, I admit
| I'm biased by almost two decades of experience with the typesetting
| industry, and with TeX-related printing!)

I guess I don't understand what you mean by portable.

| Alternatively, I can imagine that with some kind of twisted thinking,
| one could imagine there being a semantic of an "unbreakable phrase" or
| a "non-hyphenated word".  Which is why I'm asking.  

Sometimes you do need to provide extra hints in your source, there's
no doubt about that. There are two ways to do that: processing
instructions, which aren't (or darn well better not be) semantic, and
the "role" attribute.

If I need to do something really special with a particular phrase,
I might code it as:

  <para>Some text <phrase role="whoa-nellie-this-is-weird">that contains
  a special phrase</phrase> to be formatted weirdly.</para>

Then my stylesheet can key on that role attribute value and do something

But in general, it's better to associate formatting with semantic
markup (filenames, chapters, author names, etc.).

| [I admit I am a complete tyro at DocBook.  But I think this author-
| encoded-semi-presentational thing is actually a generic issue, not
| just a printing one. 


| Consider aural presentation of words that the
| author wanted to have non-standard pronunciation: can DocBook encode
| that?  Should it?

Only with the tricks I described above.

| And while I know that DocBook is a *technical*
| document encoding scheme, consider "The Sound and the Fury".  How
| would Falkner, were he alive today, encode that in DocBook in such
| a way that his *meanings* (i.e. semantics) are captured in the 
| encoding portably?  Or is that completely out of the realm of semantic
| markup schemes?]

It's out of the realm of DocBook :-). But there are other markup schemes
for other sorts of content. If your interests lie in the direction of
novels and "literature" as opposed to technical documentation, check out

| I've seen some pretty outrageous typography from the current set of
| XML DocBook tools (like major widows and orphans), but I'm guessing
| much of that can be explained by their relative immaturity. 

Yes. For fine typography, I'd go with PassiveTeX (XSL) or JadeTeX
(DSSSL) and let TeX do the hard work.

                                        Be seeing you,

Norman Walsh <ndw@nwalsh.com>      | First time surrealists are often
http://www.oasis-open.org/docbook/ | confused by the similarities
Chair, DocBook Technical Committee | between fish and telephones.

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