[Top][All Lists]

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

Re: (off topic?) Docbook? Re: manlint?

From: Larry Kollar
Subject: Re: (off topic?) Docbook? Re: manlint?
Date: Sun, 27 Sep 2020 00:14:47 -0400

A little late to the party, but I do have some experience here.

> I assume the reference to Docbook, which might indeed capsize
> like an overweight freighter, but XML is such a simple and robust
> form of structuring documents that it's going to outlast us all.

I’m not going to pronounce Docbook dead, but open-source projects
that use it (or Texinfo) have accidentally erected a barrier to entry for
people who want to contribute to the documentation. They would be
much better served by adopting Lightweight DITA, which can ingest
HTML5 and Github-Flavored Markdown alongside DITA XML (and
convert any type to any other type). Complain about Markdown all you
will, and use weird-arse corner cases to show it’s Bad, but GFM can
handle a lot of everyday text.

XML is a stripped-down form of SGML. Much of what was stripped
involved conveniences for people working directly with the markup.
They may as well have stripped entities as well, because I’ve never
seen them actually used (most XML-based markup languages have
their own methods of defining and using variables). Yes, JSON and
CSV (and Markdown, for that matter) are a lot easier to output from
an awk script… but for input, there are several decent XML parsers
for awk while TSV/CSV/JSON parsers have severe limitations. I had
to learn enough Python to deal with a couple of work projects that
involved CSV and JSON input.

OK, let’s move to *roff for a moment. It can do most of the things
that DITA advocates tout: reusable topics, conditionals, variables,
insertions, and so forth (you can get a *lot* of mileage out of .so).
Most of the -ms macros that come before the first .LP or .NH are
considered book metadata in DITA, so metadata is covered. What
*roff doesn’t do is produce usable HTML output. Yet.

Yeah, XSLT sucks like pure vacuum. All that’s keeping it alive is the
lack of a decent open-source (or even reasonably-priced) CSS3
processor. If one becomes available, you’ll see people abandoning
XSLT as fast as they can.

— Larry

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]