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Subject: Re: Ruminations on the future of DocBook

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/ Adam Turoff <ziggy@panix.com> was heard to say:
| On Sat, May 31, 2003 at 04:03:26PM +0100, Dave Pawson wrote:
|> At 14:55 30/05/2003 -0400, Adam Turoff wrote:
|> >>   My question then is, would that level of semantic markup be valuable in
|> >> usage?
|> >
|> >Um, isn't that the whole point of DocBook?  If that level of semantic
|> >markup (which exists today), then why aren't people marking up their
|> >class documentation with <literal> and <emphasis>?  (Or are they?)
|> Pragmatic? Speed?
|> The effort and time needed for full semantic markup with todays element
|> set is very high. My question is simply are users getting good value
|> for that time spent?
| Hm.  That's questioning the need for DocBook to exist in the first
| place.  If the vast majority of users aren't using full semantic
| markup, then perhaps DocBook (the current 400+ element version) is 
| solving a problem that people don't need solved.

I think it's safe to say that there are people using DocBook to solve
problems for which it wasn't designed. Nevertheless, it does solve
problems that people need solving.

| Sounds to me like a good case for refocusing DocBook on the structural
| markup consistently found in technical documentation.  Semantic
| markup, to the extent that users *need* it, should be done through
| auxilliary tagsets, so at least a measure of standardization is
| preserved.

The trick will be finding the right balance. If DocBook was reduced to
just the barest bones of structure, then it wouldn't solve the needs
of computer hardware and software documentation without extension and
that would seem to be failure.

                                        Be seeing you,

- -- 
Norman Walsh <ndw@nwalsh.com>      | He who fails to become a giant
http://www.oasis-open.org/docbook/ | need not remain content with being
Chair, DocBook Technical Committee | a dwarf.--Ernest Bramah
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