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Re: Simplified DocBook

On Mon, Oct 23, 2000 at 06:39:23PM -0700, Michael Smith wrote:
> I remember a thread on this list a while back discussing which DTD a
> new contributor should start with to author documentation. However, I
> don't remember seeing any discussion of Norman Walsh's simplified
> version of the DocBook DTD:
>   http://www.nwalsh.com/docbook/simple/index.html
> I'd like to suggest that simplified DocBook might be a good choice not
> only for beginners, but also for anyone else writing non-book-length
> technical documents that don't require all of DocBook's options.
> Compared to mastering full DocBook's ~375 elements/~100 attributes,
> learning and using simplified DocBook's ~120 elements/~50 attributes
> is much closer in scope to learning and using something like HTML (~90
> elements/~110 attributes).

I think that what we ask people to use should be far simpler than
HTML.  Of course if they are writing a large Guide, then perhaps they
would be better off using DocBook.

I've just looked at one of my HOWTOs in LinuxDoc to see how many
different tags I use.  The header uses 6 tags but they never change.
The body only uses 11 different tags with 3 attributes.  Of these 11
tags, 3 are almost the same: <sect>, <sect1>, and <sect2>.

LinuxDoc actually has many more tags than I use.  But another
advantage is that tags are short and the <p> tag for paragraph is
optional (double spacing means the same as <p>).  This means that much
of the doc when displayed on a 25 row terminal shows only plain text
(no tags are seen).  Can DocBook do this? 

Also, LinuxDoc doesn't usually need end tags.  It's so obvious where
the tagged region ends that I never really thought about it until
someone mentioned that there is an implied end tag.  Can DocBook do
this?  Then LinuxDoc sometimes uses nested tags like a <Para> tag
inside an <ListItem> whereas in LinuxDoc no <p> tag is needed inside of
a <item> "element".

I rather doubt if a simplified version of DocBook can be made to look
like LinuxDoc.  If it could, then we could abolish LinuxDoc and call
it mini-DocBook.  So one question is: Can something more simple than
LinuxDoc be devised?  Should additional tags be created for LinuxDoc?
What about renaming it to imply that it is for general use?

			David Lawyer

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