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Re: Documentation File Formats

From: cbbrowne
Subject: Re: Documentation File Formats
Date: Fri, 23 Aug 2002 13:41:28 -0400

On Fri, 23 Aug 2002 17:49:12 BST, the world broke into rejoicing as
Peter Sullivan <address@hidden>  said:
> On Wed, Aug 21, 2002 at 05:02:58AM -0700, J. Childers wrote:
> > Now that it's out, what do you guys think about standardizing 
> > documentation in OpenOffice file formats? 
> As regular readers of the Kernel Cousins ( 
> will be well aware, Docbook for GNUe documentation has been probably 
> one of the most, erm, hotly-debated issues in IRC over the past year.
> Open Office has been seriously considered, especially since it should 
> be theoretically possible (since Docbook is just another XML format) 
> to get Open Office to save in Docbook format - although no-one seems 
> too convinced about this. 
> The last conversation IIRC was that someone noted that there was 
> a seminar planned at Linux World Expo to talk about doing 
> documentaton using open/free tools. Derek was going to attend 
> this to see if we were the only project finding Docbook hard work, 
> and/or if there were any decent "WYSIWYG" editors for Docbook we 
> were not aware of. However, given the pressures on Derek's time 
> at an event like this, I'm not sure what (if anything) happened on
> this?
> ("WYSIWYG" in quotes, as technically WYSIWYG for a non-visual 
> format like Docbook is an oxymoron, but y'all know what I mean.)  

I actually have some code for translating OpenOffice XML output into
DocBook that is kind of in the "polishing" stage.

It does a pretty good job; I've been throwing some _tremendously_
complex SAP-DB documents at it (and that's the ostentable purpose of my
little project), and it's certainly not choking too badly.

The _problem_ is that it's certainly not a two-way translation, and you
really only want to be using one source format as the source format.

The plan with SAP-DB is that my program can grab the docs that are
maintained internally at SAP AG and periodically turn them into DocBook
that requires a bit of minimal fiddling-by-hand to make it useful to

I would _think_ that the point of the exercise with GNUe would be that
someone that doesn't know DocBook might write their document using, and then that would get transformed to DocBook, the
_real_ format being used by GNUe.

(Tables are a bit of a pain to write in DocBook; having a GUI for those
would be considerably valuable, and that is something that most
definitely translates nicely!)
(concatenate 'string "aa454" "")
"misfortune, n. The kind of fortune that never misses."  
-- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

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