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Subject: Re: DOCBOOK: Re: docbook vs latex

On Sunday 01 September 2002 16:39, Norman Walsh wrote:
> / Robert Krüger <krueger@signal7.de> was heard to say:
> | - latex is by far more comprehensive and better documented (of course,
> | it's been around much longer)
> Perhaps. Have you read http://docbook.org/tdg/en/html/?

yes but for many problems e.g. for referencing figures (or sections etc.) by 
their number I did't find an answer and the browsed through the element 
reference which is somewhat hard to digest. of course this is very subjective 
and I compared it to my first latex steps where a simple introductory 
tutorial answered all those questions by example.  I just think it would help 
to have a small but complete docbook document with a few sections cross 
references,  bibliography and table of contents some programlistings and 
hyperlinks etc. (i.e. the common stuff 90% of the people need, when they 
write a paper using docbook) where this is explained by example but it is 
very possible it exists and I just missed that.  

> | - docbook is simpler and therefore easier to use
> | - docbook-xsl is a very flexible mechanism to generate and customize
> | html-output whereas latex2html doesn't seem to be maintained very well
> | - docbook has some strange concepts (e.g. xrefs to a section resolving to
> | the "Sexction x.y" instead of just the number, making it unflexible for
> | no real benefit)
> Just as there's no single LaTeX document class that would satisfy all
> users, there's no single set of stylesheet parameters that would
> satisfy all users. You can certainly make the section references
> resolve to just "x.y" if you wish. I'd argue that it's not
> 'unflexible' at all, on the contrary, it's very flexible. But I'm
> baised.

you mean by modifying the stylesheets? but then my source text would depend on 
the output medium, wouldn't it? say I wanted to write a text 

"in figure 17 you see xyz"

with the current html-stylesheet I would have to write "in <xref id="..."/> 
you see xyz". If I modified that then I would have to change the text to "in 
figure <xref id="..."/> you see xyz" and then maybe another output medium for 
the same docbook source that behaves like the current stylesheets would 
output text that doesn't make sense. I just think the decision if the 
reference resolves to a number or a word describing the referenced thing and 
a number would have to be made in the document source (or by specification) 
rather than in the stylesheets (as it is in latex if I'm not mistaken). what 
do you think?  

I agree that modifying layout is very flexible with docbook and docbook-xsl.

> | - working with large documents appears to require more thought and
> | organization with docbook than with latex
> There are a few XML "limitations" to consider, otherwise, I'd say that
> the amount of thought required is roughly equivalent.

with the responses I got today I need to experiment a bit but you are probably 
right about that.

>                                         Be seeing you,
>                                           norm

thanks for your response,


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