[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: debiandoc vs. docbook

On Fri, 20 Sep 2002, John R. Daily wrote:

> I disagree strongly.

<sigh> I _did_ say this is the stuff of flame-wars.

> * XML has not replaced SGML.
> For environments without legacy SGML, it has.

And for environments _with_ legacy SGML, you've got a phenomenal amount of
inertia to overcome.
(I'm talking practicality here, not theory.  I remember in 1992 a major
publisher I was sending text to refusing to accept it on magnetic disk. >o|
Norm's soapbox speech is entirely correct -- but try selling that attitude to
the editorial team of an SGML-only publishing house.

My point is, that documentation writers are not necessarily geared to the
debian development environment.  Some will be just writers; used to their
revenue-earning environment, and not wanting, or knowing how, to go any
further.  (For several years myself I did no more than just mark up text; I
never bothered to process it in any way.)  To assume that documentation is
being written by (or, more accurately, post-edited by) programmers only, is
just plain wrong.  Some of us are professional writers, and don't actually
want to change our authoring setup all that much.  (Some may not even be able

I think what we need here actually is accurate information about the technical
setup used by, and degree of technical knowledge of, the average debian
documenter.  (I would expect to find a huge range.)

> If we're replacing
> DebianDoc, then Debian will not have legacy SGML; adding more
> legacy SGML to the equation doesn't make sense.

Aarrggl.  Sorry; you've _completely_ lost me here.
What part of debiandoc.dtd isn't SGML?

> * "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.

Never said it did.  But consider the environment where you're writing in
several different languages, or for minimally different implementations of the
same basic product for your day-to-day work.  Just because marking up
documentation in XML actually requires no more than emacs + psgml + a
locatable DTD doesn't mean that some writers aren't working in a totally
different setup, with totally different block text manipulation methods.
And *that* is what is perceived by them as an 'XML' environemt.

> This strikes me as fear-mongering.

No; just a slightly more broad-ranging view.

Martin Wheeler   -   StarTEXT / AVALONIX - Glastonbury - BA6 9PH - England
msw@startext.demon.co.uk                      http://startext.demon.co.uk/
GPG pub key : 8D6B948B  ECC6 D98E 4CC8 60E3 7E32  D594 BB27 3368 8D6B 948B
      - Share your knowledge. It's a way of achieving immortality. -

Reply to: