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Subject: Re: DOCBOOK: docbook vs latex

On Mon, 2 Sep 2002, Jirka Kosek wrote:

> Doug du Boulay wrote:
> > Wouldnt it be possible to put in an RFE to try and
> > get mathelement, maththeorem etc into DocBook?
> Why adding mathelement when there is equation and inlineequation
> already?

They are not the same at all... In fact, a theorem may have a name,
eventually a mathcondition, a mathassertion, and a mathproof (just to give
and example, the content model may differ) all of them with dozens of

I may agree with you in the sense that mathelement is redundant (in fact
it is an element wrapping most of my DTD math extensions so they can be
easily identified), but mathproposition, mathremark, maththeorem,
mathproof, mathexample, etc, are (in my case) full-blown elements and do
not map well to equation... (~formalpara)

> 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. :)

> If mathematicals want, they can create ustomization layer adding
> maththeorem and other elements. Maybe using something like <formalpara

Yes, we can... That is what I did. BUT it is not DocBook anymore (so in
some sense, we are losing one of its advantages).

> role="maththeorem"> can be also sufficient.

It may be a good solution in order not to have to extend the DTD, but I
don't think it is sufficient, e.g.  <chapter role="appendix"/> ?

> 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>\begin{equation}</latex> is a temporary hack that I
needed. :)

Thanks for reading.


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