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Subject: Re: DOCBOOK: MS files included with elements?

I had some relaying trouble with my smtp so I finally got this
sent.  I had it written a few days ago.

On Thu, 10 May 2001, david@usermode.org wrote:
> Once you learn what tags are available and how they are
> applied, it's much easier to recognize the meaning behind the
> styles. Instead of seeing an 18pt Arial Bold font, you'll look
> at the context around it and see a sect2 title.

Yes, I am still struggling with knowing what the tags are, or at
least what the tag name would be %like%.  I will keep plugging

> The trouble with going by the styles is that they're different
> from document to document. The only reason a certain paragraph
> is indented in Word or Framemaker may be simply because the
> author set up the style that way. If you're lucky enough that
> the word processor's style names were sensibly chosen and
> *consistantly* used, then you can use them as excellent guides.

Noone ever seems to be consistent in there styles with Word, even
when the company has tried to enforce standards.  This is a big
argument I am having with the Word folks right now.  They go, you
can enforce what you want with a common template.  My answer ends
up being, basically, yes, but you don't.  With a publishing
environment, you would.

> If you chose the fonts then there's meaning for you in
> them. But all too often I find that fonts were chosen to look
> nice rather than convey meaning.  Like my Mom, who sets her
> fonts very large so she can see them on her small monitor, but
> when I get them I wonder why she's emphasising everything...

I don't have mothers to deal with.  Its programmers writing tech
specs and tech designs in Word.  Perfect for docbook but
frustrating with Word.  But, the point being, that there is at
least a reasonable sense of format control.

> The trick is to learn what tags are available and what they
> mean. You don't have to memorize their exact syntax (that's
> what the O'Reilly book is for), only know that they're
> available.

Oh yeah, I have the online version readily available.  Hopefully,
Paul Kinnucan's XAE for Emacs will someday add a feature where,
when the cursor sits on a tag, you can hit a keystroke and it
will jump you directly to the full documentation of the tag, like
he does with java code and javadoc in the JDE.  Maybe, if I keep
plugging away with Elisp, I can add it and send it to him.

> I said convert it to ascii when "all else fails" :-)

Oh, didn't catch that, sorry.

> If there's an obvious structure to the document, then
> converting it can ruin it. Particularly if the word processor
> does an inept job of converting to ascii.

catdoc does a pretty nice job, actually.

> Oh, and I can't even get my fellow Word-hating developers at
> work to use DocBook for their reqs and specs (which are prime
> DocBook candidates) so good luck trying to convert Word
> users. Maybe you can sell them on Framemaker+SGML or Adept
> instead.

Well, I am finally winning the battle of having a newsserver as
part of our communication culture, so hopefully, docbook will be
easier to sell, because they are starting to see the value of
something that I fought for for so long, and therefore, maybe
they will be more inclined to look at something else that I feel
like we should do, docbook.  Now, Emacs, thats a whole new battle
that I think I will not ever wage.

Thanks for the thoughts.

I don't want to be the rock.  Yeah, okay, what do you want to be?
I want to be the piece of glass.

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