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From Peter Hargreaves <>
Subject Documentv20 --> DocBook
Date Mon, 29 Dec 2003 16:03:32 GMT
Hi, Folks,

The following is to strengthen the case for DocBook (or some other media
independent DTD) as the central document type.

1) The central document type should be independent of the final media
type. Yes/No?

2) The central document type must be styleable for any target media type
such as XHTML, PDF, DOC, WML, etc.

3) The central document type should not be biased toward any one of the
possible target media types.

4) The skin should be the very first time that presentational, layout
and target media languages (such as XHTML, fo, WML, PDF, DOC,etc) are

5) Some legacy source content DTDs are derived from target media
languages but they need not influence the choice of central DTD.

6) Other source content DTDs are virtually independent of the target
media type (e.g. DocBook)

7) A source content type such as DocBook is very rich in document
structure and semantic markup. The style sheets (or skins) for DocBook
feed on that richness.

8) A central document type, standing between content and skin, must not
filter out richness of meaning of document structure, or it will
undermine the presentational possibilities.

9) A central document type must therefore be very rich in its
description of document structure and meaning - without bias toward
media type.

10) The central document type might be user chooseable, if Forrest can
cope with the complexity of this?

11) Yes, you've guessed, I propose DocBook for the central document
type, starting with a very simplified version.

12) Why re-invent the wheel?

For those not familiar, here is an extract from Norman Walsh's DocBook:
The Definative Guide:
"DocBook provides a system for writing structured documents using SGML
or XML. It is particularly well-suited to books and papers about
computer hardware and software, though it is by no means limited to
them. DocBook is a document type definition (DTD). Because it is a large
and robust DTD, and because its main structures correspond to the
general notion of what constitutes a book, DocBook has been adopted by a
large and growing community of authors. DocBook is supported “out of the
box” by a number of commercial tools, and support for it is rapidly
growing in a number of free software environments. In short, DocBook is
an easy-to-understand and widely used DTD. Dozens of organizations use
DocBook for millions of pages of documentation, in various print and
online formats, worldwide."

Anyone else on this wavelength?


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