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Re: Suggestions for Organization's documents


David Z Maze <dmaze@debian.org> writes:

> moseley@hank.org writes:
> > I work with a very small non-profit and over the years they have
> > been keeping documents in various formats....  I'd like to move to
> > text-based documents so we are not dependent on a specific product
> > (like Word).  So I'm looking for suggestions.
> Aah, the document format question...
> > The people that create and manage these documents come and go (twice a 
> > year people change at the organization).  So I'm looking for something 
> > with an easy learning curve.  HTML is an options because everyone these 
> > days seems to have a bit of HTML experience.  The other advantage of 
> > HTML is that people can typically view them on their local machine.
> (But, HTML-to-anything converters are rare, though you could do
> something exciting with XSLT.)
> > So, I'm looking for something where the documents are easily edited, 
> > there's *not much of a learning curve* for editing the text, and tools 
> > exist for multiple platforms for generating ps or pdf output for preview 
> > locally.  And easy translation to HTML to fit our site.  XSLT?? DocBook?  
> > LaTeX?
> I think I'd suggest going with LaTeX for this, since the format is
> closest to straight-up text.  If you need something arcane, you can
> have a guru write a macro package for it and just tell your writers,
> "use \strangecommand and don't worry about how it works".  The preview
> cycle is pretty straightforward (latex; xdvi).  HeVeA seems to be the
> best LaTeX-to-HTML converter out there, but depends on an OCaml
> runtime, so installing it on arbitrary (non-Debian) machines might be
> a little tricky.

I see people recommending LaTeX, which I would completelly agree, except
for the fact of the learning curve. 

So you could try Lyx (available in woody/contrib, or
testing/unstable/main), which "is an almost WYSIWYG-frontend for LaTeX
that runs under the X Window System". 

That way you retain plain text files, with the power of LaTeX and a
word-processor-like frontend. And, you could also edit the documents
with a simple text processor (emacs/vi) if you wish.

LaTeX itself is multiplatform, check the homepage of LyX for ports to
other operating systems.

Other (non-free) frontends to LaTeX exist for other operating systems.

Hope this helps,


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