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Subject: Toolchain for beginner?

I hope this is the proper list for my questions.

I am almost there but cannot seem to get a good toolchain for writing a programming book with docbook. I have written, and self-published (lulu.com), a 568-page programming book using LaTeX, so I'm comfortable with markup languages, etc.

My requirements (desires) are to produce three versions: online (html), ereader (epub), and paperback (pdf). I learned from my current book that LaTeX does not have a reasonable path to html (and thus, not to epub).

Another important point is that I want to be able to include external files (that contain code) when processing the text. I like being able to test each program that I include in my book. Copy and paste leads to errors, and I dislike books that have programs that don't work.

I prefer doing this on my Ubuntu 12.10 but am willing to do it on my Windows 8 installation. This book will be free or very low cost, so I do not want to buy commercial software to write it. (I own a copy of MS Word, but previous experience suggests it is useless for this application.)

Since I'm new to docbook, my take is that I should start with 5.0.

I have gotten xsltproc to do what I want, except that it does not allow me to use linenumbering with my code listings. This version of Ubuntu installs libxslt 10126. Perhaps I need the latest version?

Saxon and Xalan both give me error messages. Sorry, I forget what they were. I uninstalled them, thinking that I probably installed the wrong versions. For example, I just ran across (http://www.microhowto.info/howto/process_an_xml_document_using_an_xslt_stylesheet.html) that seems to indicate I should install Saxon-B.

I have also done some preliminary work with Pandoc, which seems to do what I want so far. But it's simplicity causes me to worry that it will be limiting down the road. I also believe that docbook's use of xml makes more sense, at least in the long run.

I feel like I'm very close, but I'm stuck. Most of the documentation that I have found is out of date or incomplete (for a beginner). For example, everything I've found on 5.0 assumes that I am familiar with 4.x. It doesn't seem to make sense that I should set everything up for 4.x, learn how to use that, and then convert to 5.0.

So I wonder if anybody can point a beginner like me to a good source for helping me to get going on actually writing a book. As when I learned LaTeX, I'm sure there will be many learning experiences as I write. But I would like to avoid taking too many dead end paths.


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