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David Winter 07-16-2003 10:08 PM

DocBook - a few questions regarding PDF, conditional text etc.
 
(Sorry - couldn't find a generic DocBook NG - I hope this is close
enough.)

I'm considering moving my documentation and translation business -
which is currently done in proprietary formats such as FrameMaker,
Word and XPress - to a system centered around DocBook. I'm currently
reading "DocBook - The Definitive Guide", but I'll need a few answers
ASAP ... So maybe a kind soul could give me at least a few hints.


1) Storing documents in databases

Instead of working with large, "monolithic" files, I'd like to store
technical documents as collections of re-usable segments in a
database. So the document should only be some kind of "outline", while
the actual content of sections/paragraphs is written to/pulled from a
database on a local or remote server; sort of like includes.

Is this feasible for someone without an enterprise IT budget (i.e., a
freelance author/translator team), and what tools are involved? I
suppose you need an SQL DB, some kind of middleware and an XML editor.
Does anyone here have experience with working/reliable/affordable
setups?



2) DocBook to PDF

a) I understand that conversion to PDF is possible using FOP. The
question is: Is it also practical/realistical to use this in a
production environment? I.e., will it work reliably?

b) Can I expect features such as multi-column layouts, headers and
footers, multiple templates for cover, body, index pages, inclusion of
images etc.?

c) How does the Renderer/Objects Processor map internal
cross-references to pages? Is it possible to do cross-references such
as "see Section X on page y?"



3) Conditional text

Is it possible to specify formats to exclude sections of a document,
based on content, language or output format? I.e., I'd like to specify
attributes such as "Print Version only", "Digest/Full Version". Can
this be done?



4) "Locking" tags

If all this is possible, I'll use this setup with other
authors/translators. In this case, I'd like to keep them from
accidentally deleting markup. E.g., I'd like to duplicate an existing
German document and allow the English translator to modify/translate
text, but not delete or re-arrange headers and sections.

Are there editors that allow this kind of "granular" locking?



I know these are big issues, and I'll have to do a lot of Googling and
reading from here, anyway. But if someone could at least point me in
the right direction, I'd be grateful.

TIA.

Markus Spath 07-17-2003 07:17 AM

Re: DocBook - a few questions regarding PDF, conditional text etc.
 
David Winter wrote:
> (Sorry - couldn't find a generic DocBook NG - I hope this is close
> enough.)


there is one at http://www.oasis-open.org/docbook/mailinglist/
you probably are looking for the docbook-apps list.

many of your non xml-authoring questions are nicely answered here:
http://www.sagehill.net/docbookxsl/index.html

>
> I'm considering moving my documentation and translation business -
> which is currently done in proprietary formats such as FrameMaker,
> Word and XPress - to a system centered around DocBook. I'm currently
> reading "DocBook - The Definitive Guide", but I'll need a few answers
> ASAP ... So maybe a kind soul could give me at least a few hints.
>
>
> 1) Storing documents in databases
>
> Instead of working with large, "monolithic" files, I'd like to store
> technical documents as collections of re-usable segments in a
> database. So the document should only be some kind of "outline", while
> the actual content of sections/paragraphs is written to/pulled from a
> database on a local or remote server; sort of like includes.
>
> Is this feasible for someone without an enterprise IT budget (i.e., a
> freelance author/translator team), and what tools are involved? I
> suppose you need an SQL DB, some kind of middleware and an XML editor.
> Does anyone here have experience with working/reliable/affordable
> setups?
>



you can modularize your documents via XInclude.
a minimalistic approach could store everything in a CVS repository.

>
>
> 2) DocBook to PDF
>
> a) I understand that conversion to PDF is possible using FOP. The
> question is: Is it also practical/realistical to use this in a
> production environment? I.e., will it work reliably?
>


there are both open source (FOP) and commercial pdf-renderers (e.g. from
RenderX). in my experience FOP works reliable, but still has quite some
limitations.


> b) Can I expect features such as multi-column layouts, headers and
> footers, multiple templates for cover, body, index pages, inclusion of
> images etc.?
>


sure, but you need the corresponding stylesheets

> c) How does the Renderer/Objects Processor map internal
> cross-references to pages? Is it possible to do cross-references such
> as "see Section X on page y?"
>


see sagehill

>
>
> 3) Conditional text
>
> Is it possible to specify formats to exclude sections of a document,
> based on content, language or output format? I.e., I'd like to specify
> attributes such as "Print Version only", "Digest/Full Version". Can
> this be done?
>
>



the docbook stylesheets support profiling

>
> 4) "Locking" tags

....


hth,
m.



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