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Re: [xml-dev] Writing a book in XML

On Tue, 2007-10-30 at 11:12 +0100, Harbarth, Juliane wrote:
> Good morning,
> assumed I like to write a book (well a big document) in XML, I would
> probably use docbook since it is mature and there are already lots of
> conveniances for it (stylesheets, etc). Then the whole document would
> really be one big XML document which has many advantages. 
I would do it this way: find the most convenient tool for each stage of
your process and use that, transforming the document whenever you need
to switch tools for a new stage.  Try to make sure that you do finishing
touches at the finish: if your editing environment makes you be too
concerned with details at the wrong time it will just intrude.

For example, you might author in Open Office using a stylesheet for the
basic document. Then XSLT the ODF into some other format you made up
yourself. Then mark up some parts further with a text editor. Then
transform into DITA and typeset with that. 

For splitting a document into parts, one approach is not to do it with
inline markup but to it with transformations. You could make a system
that allows people to book in or out arbitrary fragments (replacing them
with an XLink but not allowing check-out of a branch that already has a
fragment XLink. 

In other words, I don't think anyone should write a book "in XML" but
they should write with whatever is optimal, which may well be XML but it
may be multiple schemas too. It is very hard to have a professional
quality book unless you have a pipeline process, a division of labour,
and that may mean thinking in terms of small local optimal solutions
rather than one big fat application or one big fat schema.


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