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Subject: Re: Ruminations on the future of DocBook

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/ Tobias Reif <tobiasreif@pinkjuice.com> was heard to say:
| * will depend less on any specific schema language such as DTD (no
| schema supplied attribute values etc).

I'm certainly in favor of removing dependencies such as defaulted
attribute values. But I do think we need to have a normative, formal
schema to define what "valid" means for DocBook documents.

| * will not contain any presentational features.

That's a laudable goal, but my experience suggests that the
distinction between semantic and presentational is not black and

| * will be as media-independent as possible.

That seems like a good goal.

| * will continue to be useful for a wide range of scenarios, from tiny
| howtos to large book projects. (the latter could mean that the number
| or inline elements could not be decreased significantly)

Yes, it needs to address at least the problem domain that DocBook
currently addresses.

| To address some of your points from
| http://norman.walsh.name/2003/05/21/docbook :
| "If we were starting over, I think we'd approach the problem much
| differently:"
| "We'd use XML."
| agreed :)
| "We'd use RELAX-NG."
| This seems to be a very fine schema language, but there are others. I
| hope that DocBook won't again depend on one specific schema language.

That depends what you mean by "depends", I guess. I don't think it's
practical to say that the only normative definition of DocBook will be
natural language prose.

| "We'd design for the web."
| I suggest to forget the web when designing DocBook, as much as possible.
| If DocBook stops being media-independent, I will stop using it. If I
| author for one single specific medium, eg the web, I use a
| media-specific language, eg XHTML. If I need media-independence, I can
| use DocBook.

I didn't mean the web to the exclusion of other media.

| "We'd almost certinaly put it in a namespace."
| That's good. XSLT, SVG, all are in their namespace, and it's no problem.

It's a problem if you still want to use DTDs and it's a nearly
insoluble problem if you want to mix namespaces and use DTDs

| One specific point: XLink might be a candidate for the linking
| mechanism; SVG uses it for example.

It might be. There's still (alas) plenty of controversy about XLink.

                                        Be seeing you,

- -- 
Norman Walsh <ndw@nwalsh.com>      | He who seeks happiness for himself
http://www.oasis-open.org/docbook/ | by making others unhappy is bound
Chair, DocBook Technical Committee | in the chains of hate and from
                                   | those he cannot be free.--The
                                   | Dhammapada
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