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Re: [vox-tech] DocBook

# Re: [vox-tech] DocBook

begin Micah Cowan <micah@cowanbox.com>
> MOn Thu, Jan 17, 2002 at 01:31:04PM -0800, speck@blkmtn.org wrote:
> > On Thu, 17 January 2002, Micah Cowan wrote:
>
> In conclusion:  If you are already a TeX- or LaTeX-guru, you probably
> have little reason to switch to DocBook (except that you need to write
> in DocBook format to write LDP HOWTOs, as Pete discovered).  I picked
> it because it suits my particular needs, and YMMV, as always.

heh.  i consider myself a docbook "layperson".  i know enough to use it
effectively, but not enough to really understand all the terminology and
"bit's and pieces" of docbook.

as a layperson, i definitely defer to micah who seems to have attained
guru status in this area.  from my own POV, here are some comments for
other laypeople:

1. docbook hurts the fingers.  whereas latex users can talk about

\url{http://slashdot.org}, {\bf vmlinuz} and {\it important stuff\/},

<systemitem role="url">http://slashdot.org</systemitem>,
<filename>vmlinuz</filename> and <emphasis>important stuff</emphasis>

god forbid you write a paper about something like
<application>dosemu</application>, and you have two choices:

<enumeratedlist>
<listitem><para>Carpal tunnel syndrome.</para></listitem>
<listitem><para>Make good use of <application>vi</application>
macros.</para></listitem>
</enumeratedlist>

compare with:

\begin{enumerate}
\item Carpal tunnel syndrome.
\item Make good use of {\bf vi} macros.
\end{enumerate}

it may look like a small difference now, but write a 10 page
document, and you're talking about a significantly higher typing to
content ratio.

docbook is painful.  with a good knowledge of emacs or vi, it's less
painful.   but it still hurts.   :)

2. for the average latex user, docbook is a loss of control of format.

for me, the HYPER use of content based markup is a double edged
sword.  i know you can modify stylesheets.  but danged if i know how!
it doesn't look easy.  with latex, i can control the location of
every single dot of my document.  and sometimes latex isn't happy
about the choices i make,  like under/overfull hboxes and vboxes,
pictures that don't "float" well, i can ALWAYS force the issue.

ok, that being said, my recommendation is: if you have a choice of latex
or docbook, definitely pick docbook, hand's down.  micah's reasons for
using it are much more persuasive than my reasons for not using it.
and the fact of the matter is, i do use docbook, grudgingly.

pete

--
The mathematics [of physics] has become ever more abstract, rather than more
complicated.  The mind of God appears to be abstract but not complicated.
He also appears to like group theory.  --  Tony Zee's Fearful Symmetry'

PGP Fingerprint: B9F1 6CF3 47C4 7CD8 D33E  70A9 A3B9 1945 67EA 951D
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