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From Arved Sandstrom <Arved...@chebucto.ns.ca>
Subject Re: website++
Date Tue, 30 Oct 2001 23:26:59 GMT
At 10:03 AM 10/30/01 -0800, Theodore W. Leung wrote:
>I've only gotten started looking at DocBook, and it seems like
>there are more tags than one knows what to do with.  Is it really
>the case that there is no mapping of the current stylebook gramars onto
>some set of the docbook elements?
>I'm not sure if simplified docbook is enough, but perhaps we can use
>docbook and have the stylesheets only work for some of the elements?
>Just throwing out ideas

I've used DocBook a number of times now...just enough so that I have been 
corrected several times by more knowledgeable people, and am starting to 
recognise how little I know about proper DocBook usage. Still, some of the 
ideas that I have been exposed to include the following:

1) subset the DocBook DTD. This may mean just going with simplified DocBook. 
It is also not that much effort to do some site analysis first, and figure 
out what semantics are present (lists, paragraphs, sections, etc etc), and 
then ruthlessly do our own subsetting. I have a number of DocBook docs that 
are reasonably sophisticated and probably don't use more than about 20-25 
elements (with very few attributes) in a very obvious way (I am leaving out 
the localized things like tags that go in articleinfo or chapterinfo).

I'm not suggesting that this subsetting needs to be formal...a simple list 
(a DocBook "simplelist", perhaps? :-)) of allowed element names should

2) establish templates that everyone uses, based on the above analysis and 
DTD subsetting. Ultimately, how many different kinds of pages do we have, 
anyway? The templates themselves can demonstrate use of most, if not all, of 
our selected subset, and help enforce uniformity of usage where even those 
in the subset can be used in a variety of weird and wonderful ways;

3) Locate a DocBook expert; try to emulate the Definitive Guide examples, or 
look at existing DocBook docs, or all of the preceding; and

4) always use a DTD-aware XML editor. Now, this is a good argument for doing 
up a custom DTD; it's either that or keep the aforementioned list handy. 
I've used Xeena with the full DocBook DTD with success.

The article by Michael Smith at 
http://xml.oreilly.com/news/dontlearn_0701.html also looks useful...the 
links in the section near the bottom of the first page, entitled 'Exercises: 
Initial Explorations', look pretty good to me. Some of the initial resources 
you find are SGML-based but the translation is straightforward.

Just some initial thoughts. I'm willing to help with this in any case...just 
don't ask me to design beautiful HTML.

Arved Sandstrom

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