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Subject: Re: [docbook] An apology and some minor revelations


> First, I have been thinking of DocBook too much in terms of a LaTeX-like 
> system, where there is an actual program (well, link) with the same name 
> that (for the casual user) did all the magic to get from the source file to 
> the finished DVI. The idea that DocBook is "only" a language, not a system, 
> and that the "other stuff" are add-ons that must be considered independently 
> still seems a very, very strange way to do things, but does come sort as a 
> revelation.

It's not really that strange, it's the same with all other standards. 
For example, you write an HTML page, then view it in some browsers, and 
your visitors will view in in around five to ten different browsers.

I wouldn't call the components of of the DocBook world "add-ons". There 
are components which are languages: the most popular ones robably are 
XSLT for transformation, CSS for HTML styling (layout and design), and 
XSL (XSLT+XSLFO) for print output. Then there are components which are 
tools: XSLT processors, XSLT packages (eg doing DBX to XHTML), XSLFO to 
PDF converters, SVG players, HTML browses, etc etc. For each type of 
tool, there are several implementations available: there are many 
different XSLT processors, FO to PDF converters, XSLT packages, just as 
there are many different browsers.

> Second, I hadn't quite realized that DocBook XML is a form of XML and not a 
> "übermarkup-language" that just happens to be realized in XML or SGML or 
> something else without having to change the text itself.

I'm not sure what you mean here.

DocBook is a language which uses two notational systems, one is the 
older SGML, the other is the more current version namely XML, which 
basically is a subset of SGML. If you write DocBook XML, you are writing 
XML, as is the case when you're writing XHTML, SVG, or XSLT.

> There are still parts that don't make sense to me -- the <emphasis> tag, for 
> example, doesn't seem to fit. I can write a book, a section, a chapter, a 
> paragraph, a list, a quote, even a programlisting, but I can't "write" an 
> emphasis.

But yes: You mark up emphasized text with the emphasis element, just as 
you markup a paragraph with the para element.

> This still seems like a formating command if I ever saw one.

It is not a formatting command.

For example, see:

http://www.pinkjuice.com/joocs/test/input.dbx :

http://www.pinkjuice.com/joocs/test/output.html :
<p class="simpara">

http://www.pinkjuice.com/joocs/css/doc/design.css :
em {
   font-weight: 600;
   font-style: normal;

> Also, 
> I was surprised to see a "prose paragraph" being treated here as a 
> formating, not a structural element:

Can you explain what you are referring to here?

> I still can't find a docbook.xsl

While some of the popular DocBook tools should be properly setup on your 
Linux system as default, I recommend to simply download the latest 
version of a package by one of the DocBook to XHTML XSLT projects
The most popular package is
http://docbook.sourceforge.net/projects/xsl/ . It's very very complete, 
flexible, and offers many features.
Since the environment doesn't seem to be setup properly on your distro, 
it would probably be the simplest option to download the latest version 
and run it.
for "docbook-xsl".
Then run a tiny shell script like

xslt_processor_of_choice -o  index.html \
   ../dbx/foo.dbx \



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