Re: patch -- DocBook exporter

Subject: Re: patch -- DocBook exporter
From: Paul Rohr (
Date: Thu Feb 10 2000 - 22:42:14 CST

At 09:56 PM 2/10/00 -0600, wrote:
>I have nothing against the implementation of this patch, but I'm
>unsure of its usefullness without certain features AbiWord currently
>lacks. I'm not a DocBook professional, but structured document editing
>through its tags (as you suggest) doesn't seem to mix well with AbiWord's
>structure without a "DocBook" style that lets the user know just what
>he's formatting.
>Also, it seems like AbiWord users would benefit more from a DocBook
>importer, at least until we have all the styles in place for editing
>and saving. This isn't to say an exporter isn't valuable, but I think
>we should nail down the styles before we commit this code that will
>be re-written.

As the author of the "round-trip" manifesto, I suppose I ought to chime in

What Shaw's suggesting makes a ton of sense. Once our style sheet (and/or
template) support improves, I could imagine the following combination making
a cool DocBook editing environment:

  import -- map DocBook tags to equivalent paragraph and character styles
  editing -- apply those "DocBook styles" to existing text
  export -- map DocBook styles back to the equivalent tags

In fact, it wouldn't much matter which properties got associated to those
styles during editing, since none of them would get saved. They'd just be a
useful convenience while editing.

Two obvious notes here:

1. This is just a useful alternative. Many DocBook folks may still prefer
traditional structured XML editors, which focus their UI on enforcing
structural rules about the content. Our UI is much more focused on WYSIWYG,
but both approaches have rabid fans. Please don't start that particular
flamewar here.

2. Unlike structural editors, we're not likely to be able to *validate* the
structural integrity of these "DocBook styles" any time soon. That would
have be done by an external tool. Eventually, when we add the right level
of scripting support, someone could probably add a "validate" macro to the
DocBook template where these styles live. However, that's still a long ways

Still, this does sound like a *very* useful approach. It would allow us to
provide round-trip fidelity of the actual DocBook content, expressed as
styles so it was editable, rather than just a stripped-down export of our
existing WYSIWYG content.


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