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Subject: Re: DOCBOOK: docbook vs latex

Ramon Casellas <casellas@infres.enst.fr> writes:

> 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...)

It seems like what you're saying is that math support is a "horizontal"
need that cuts across disciplines and would serve a range of user
communities, as opposed to a "vertical" need that would benefit only a
specific discipline or user community (doctors, botanists, etc.).

If, as you suggest, there is a signficant body of users from various
disciplines who:

  * would prefer to use DocBook

  * but are now authoring in LaTeX simply because LaTeX provides better
    logical markup for math

...then it might be worthwhile to seriously consider whether those user
needs could be met by adding some math markup models to standard DocBook.

It really does seem like math markup might be a unique case.

For one thing, discussions related to mathematics markup/rendering turn
up pretty regularly on the docbook and docbook-apps list. But I can't
remember discussions about markup for many other non-computer-related
fields ever taking place on the lists. I mean, I don't remember seeing
suggestions for adding, say, "biology" or "chemistry" markup to DocBook.

Another thing: math markup seem unique in that it has specific and
unique processing expectations/ rendering requirements associated with
it. I don't think most other kinds of discipline-specific markup have
such specific processing expectations associated with them.


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