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From Stefano Mazzocchi <>
Subject Re: DocBook vs Open eBook
Date Mon, 03 Jun 2002 09:21:44 GMT
Ivelin Ivanov wrote:
> Does someone know the difference between these two standards initiatives:
> They both seem to have industry backing while at the same time overlap quite
> a bit.
> Also, why don't we use one of these two for our documentation instead of
> maintaining proprietary DTDs. There are tools on the market for WYWIWYG
> editing of both of these standards, which can make doc writing easier. And
> of course there are XLSTs for rendering to media from XHTML to voxml to PDF.
> Regards,

> Ivelin


this is a FAQ. big time FAQ, I might say. And also, it's totally
off-topic on the cocoon-dev list since forrest was created also to
manage the DTD of the documentation (well, attempt to).

Anyway, in one word: both docbook/openebook are more complex that what
we need. We need to adapt the stylesheets anyway and the editing tools
are focusing on a XML/CSS solution (not toward a hardcoded WYSIWYG
experience) see XEE as an example.

Finally, our DTD reuses HTML tagnames were possible.

I hate this DTD debate because it becomes religious at some point, but
my point is: proceed incrementally. In two years, this community (now
handed over to forrest's) has managed the DTD in quite a successful
manner. Very few changes were required, yet the documentation is pretty
solid and complete in functionality.

Docbook simply tries to be too many things at the same time, but mostly
is a markup for books or collection of books. openebook is also a markup
for books.

The docbook stylesheets are so complex that there is a project to
maintain them. Look at how easy (compared to the docbook stylesheets) it
is to create a forrest skin. 

Would you want to impose the overhead of creating a skin for all the
docbook/openebook tags on the skin authors?

You might say: let's use only a subset (like almost everybody does), but
then you are not using Docbook, but a proprietary subset of docbook (and
maybe we ended up needing a feature that docbook doesn't have, so we are
using an 'extended subset' of docbook).

In short, I fear we'll end up not using docbook anyway.

So, in the good old software darwinism patter: let's the DTD evolve with
us. We already need the ability to include authoring metadata and we
might use the dublin-core namespace for this. Docbook doesn't allow this

Bah, I see almost no value in going standard with markup when we don't
need to 'interoperate' with anybody and there is almost nothing we can
reuse from the environments where more standard markup is used.

Stefano Mazzocchi      One must still have chaos in oneself to be
                          able to give birth to a dancing star.
<>                             Friedrich Nietzsche

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