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Re: debiandoc vs. docbook

At (time_t)1032558367 Martin Wheeler wrote:

> On Fri, 20 Sep 2002, Susan Kleinmann wrote:
> > 1. We should adopt an XML based language because of the abundance of tools
> >    that exist to manipulate such languages.
> Yes; but let's not throw the baby out with the bath water completely for the
> moment.
> I know that for many XML is the latest and greatest buzzword-of-the-month
> technology, and that indeed, some think it has completely 'replaced' SGML
> markup outright (!?!); but this just isn't true, and certainly does not
> reflect the daily working reality of many of us.
> Quite simply, there are a lot of non-professional authors, writers and
> documentation specialists who are only just coming to terms with the needs
> of markup and the sort of environment SGML processing requires; asking them t
> o
> set up and work with a full-blown XML database-driven environment at this
> point might be just too much to take on.  (Besides which, lots of it is still
> iffy, anyway :)

I disagree strongly.  Specifically, to address your points:

* XML has not replaced SGML.

For environments without legacy SGML, it has.  If we're replacing
DebianDoc, then Debian will not have legacy SGML; adding more
legacy SGML to the equation doesn't make sense.

* Authors have just come to grips with SGML processing.

To my knowledge, nearly all tools that generate output from
DocBook SGML will handle DocBook XML properly.  One notable
exception is docbook-to-man, but there is now an XSL stylesheet
to do the same thing.

The skills remain the same; the tools should not be dramatically

Having said that, there are advantages to ditching the SGML
tools entirely; you can then leverage standards like XInclude.

* "full-blown XML database-driven environment"

Can you elaborate on this?  Just because XML works well in a
database-driven environment doesn't mean that to author
documentation in XML requires anything related to databases.
This strikes me as fear-mongering.

To resort to an established authority, but consider this soapbox
from IRC a few short days ago:

* nwalsh climbs on his soapbox
<nwalsh> "Friends, you may recall that I was using SGML for many
years before XML came along.
<nwalsh> You may further observe that I still try to support SGML
processing of DocBook
<nwalsh> And finally, you may assume that I am aware that SGML
has some advantages over XML.
<nwalsh> But let me be perfectly clear. SGML is DEAD. You don't
have to like it, but that's the way it is.
* nwalsh climbs off his box

John R. Daily

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