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Subject: Re: [docbook] Loss of faith -- somewhat rantish

On Sat, Jul 12, 2003 at 04:56:10PM +0100, Dave Pawson wrote:
> At 15:51 12/07/2003 +0100, John Levon wrote:
> >On Sat, Jul 12, 2003 at 06:13:03AM -0400, Daniel Veillard wrote:
> >
> > > > Again, sorry for the rant,
> > >
> > > If you can't understand the framework, then don't. You don't have to learn

  Okay, I was irritated, early in the morning, bad things can follow...

> >Daniel, at the risk of irritating you, this is simply not true at this
> >current time with available free software tools. I say this from personal 
> >experience.
> No, (IMHO) you haven't taken enough steps backwards... to learn?
>    When I did it, it was 12 months before I started to grok it all.

  I think the key misunderstanding is that tools like xsltproc are not
DocBook tools. My tools are purely implementations of the XML and XSLT
standards. I think there are wrappers like Tim Waugh xmlto and 
docbook-utils which can make things easier for people who just want 
to process a given format without having to understand all the specs
associated (which is a very serious learning phase).

> >Scot, the XML stuff, and the available free tools currently, *are* hard
> >to use. The relevant syntax *is* obscure, and the multitude of related
> >standards is confusing.
> Agreed. Its called a learning curve. It''s 'quite' steep for docbook,
> but the benefits are appropriately large ((IMO))

  I not sure it should be a requirement. Unfortunately things like
encoding of text directly apply to the user if it uses a generic
editing tool. It's not even DocBook related, it's general computing 
knowledge (and I18N can be quite nasty too).

> define polish?

  My interpretation in that context was "specialized to make it fool-proof".
Problem is that not that many people are interested in specialized tools
and when there are they are more likely to work for a commercial toolmaker.

>    Unfortunately, Daniel, and other linux'ish associates,
> provide tools which allow you to use docbook without any ...minimal... 
> understanding?? / effort???

  Hence my suggestion, docbook has had commercial tools which can hide most
of the hard problems for newbies, if someone don't want to learn, maybe
a commercial tool is the solution for them.

> >In particular, a decent graphical DocBook editor built on top of the
> >trickier stuff such as xlstproc would resolve all of your specific
> >complaints.
> Possibly true, but 'twould take a M$ class of enterprise to provide?

  No, that is not such a big effort, far less than building a real-world
browser and there are at least a few available as open-source projects.
It's not that it's hard that is blocking OSS project, it's that it's 
very specialized. But as DocBook usage spead in the OSS community I'm sure
those tools will come. At least OpenOffice can now export DocBook, I
expect even more specialized efforts to come. But ranting about the current
state is in my opinion just a good way to not get people to work on it ...


P.S.: of course I think that a DocBook editor should not be based on XSLT
      rendering but CSS, it far far simpler and should be good enough for
      editing !

Daniel Veillard      | Red Hat Network https://rhn.redhat.com/
veillard@redhat.com  | libxml GNOME XML XSLT toolkit  http://xmlsoft.org/
http://veillard.com/ | Rpmfind RPM search engine http://rpmfind.net/

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