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Subject: Re: DOCBOOK: docbook vs latex

• From: Doug du Boulay <ddb@R3401.rlem.titech.ac.jp>
• To: docbook@lists.oasis-open.org
• Date: Mon, 02 Sep 2002 18:58:50 +0900



On Monday 02 September 2002 17:21, Ramon Casellas wrote:
> On Mon, 2 Sep 2002, Jirka Kosek wrote:
> > But DocBook is primary focused on software documentation. If we add
> > something very special for mathematics (like maththeorem), we should
> > also add something for other groups of users (historicans, doctors, ...)
> > -- this will end up in very complex DTD with thousands instead of
> > hundreds elements.
>
> I see your point... but I would not be against adding them if enough
> people would like to see them added, and we are talking about ~10 new
> elements that may be used (IMHO) much more than some of the hundreds of
> existing elements.  Anyway, equation and inlineequation are already there
> and in computer science, maths are everywere. Some colleagues around here
> are telling me they would write their dissertations in docbook if there
> was more math support (graph theory, algorithms, heuristics...) I think
> that DocBook is richer than just for software documentation: "DocBook is a
> document type definition (DTD) in SGML and XML. It is particularly well
> suited to books and papers about computer hardware and software (though it
> is by no means limited to these applications).", but once again, there are
> lots of people more capable than I am to decide if it may be interesting
> to add them or not. And I respect their choice. I insist, I see your
> point. :)

Sorry. I dont think I do see that point.
It seems to me that mathematics is more fundamental and common to
all of historianism(?), medicine, economics and in fact all of science
including software documentation than, say the object oriented
elements of DocBook. So I dont think you can legitimately compare
adding new elements for expressing mathematics and the foundations of the
computational sciences with adding new elements for documenting ingrown
toenails for instance.

> > As DocBook is SGML/XML based formar, using LaTeX markup for equations is
> > wrong from design perspective. You should use XML based format like
> > MathML and there is already module which allows usage of MathML inside
> > equation and inlineequation elements. Yes, tools are not always mature
> > enough, but from long time perspective MathML is way to go. Meanwhile
> > you can use "hacks" like dbtexmath.
>
> Agreed. In fact, I started some kind of MathML -> LaTeX using XSLT...  but
> until then....<latex></latex> is a temporary hack that I
> needed. :)

Granted, but since all we really have available at the moment are short
term hacks I was just hoping that markup like <latex></latex> in
db2latex could be modified for compatibility with <alt role="tex">  so that
both toolchain hacks were accessible without redundancy and
without violating the DocBook DTD (but maybe by enhancing it,
if that is what it takes).

Clearly Ramon has identified weaknesses in the existing
content model, and gone ahead and implemented a solution.
If it isnt the most ideal markup notation then shouldnt  the Docbook
developers at least try to find out what would be ideal
and work toward some compromise? Scientific program documentation is
still program documentation.

apologies
Doug


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