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Subject: DOCBOOK: docbook tools vrs general tools [was: Proposal: Linking inDocBook]

At 23:47 2002 06 24 +0200, Peter Eisentraut wrote:
>Norman Walsh writes:
>> Fork 2: Do It Our Way OR Do It the XLink Way
>>   If we do it our way, we get to define the semantics, but no tool will
>>   ever support our linking elements directly. (Well, I suppose some
>>   special purpose DocBook tool might, but let's not worry about that.)
>I'm wondering how such "direct" support would look like.  All toolsets
>that work with DocBook are in some way specially purposed for DocBook.
>Today we have XSLT and DSSSL stylesheets (and other obscure conversion
>tools) that work specially with DocBook.  Even in the unforeseeable future
>there will have to be some sort of tool that associates semantics to raw
>DocBook.  For such a tool it's pretty irrelevant whether it converts xlink
>or some other linking system for presentation.

I find this comment interesting.  I have a different perspective.

(Bias disclosure:  my company has developed SGML and XML editors
and composition systems for almost 20 years.)

I see DocBook as another DTD (or XML vocabulary).  An XML Editor
and/or composition system should be able to handle DocBook like
"just another DTD."  There should be no reason for a special
DocBook tool.

You mention stylesheets for DocBook, but a generalized XML editor
can take any stylesheet (written in a supported standard stylesheet 
language) and apply it to any DTD.  There is nothing special about

Applying non-style-related semantics is less standardized (unless
you talk about writing DOM code), but there really is very little
non-style-related semantics associated with DocBook right now in
general.  Any given person/company/application may have special
semantics they wish to associate with DocBook, but of course that's
specialized to that person/company/application and aren't going to
be supported in a "DocBook tool" anyway (except one written specifically
for that person/company/application's needs).

So I don't see anything that requires a special DocBook tool right now.
Linking is, in fact, one of the first steps in this direction which is
probably why Norm says what he does.


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