DocBook - a few questions regarding PDF, conditional text etc.

Discussion in 'XML' started by David Winter, Jul 16, 2003.

  1. David Winter

    David Winter Guest

    (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.
    David Winter, Jul 16, 2003
    #1
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  2. David Winter

    Markus Spath Guest

    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.
    Markus Spath, Jul 17, 2003
    #2
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