|lars...@swedbank.se||Jan 29, 2008 6:13 am|
|Stefan Seefeld||Jan 29, 2008 6:52 am|
|Ned Horning||Jan 29, 2008 6:54 am|
|Lou Iorio||Jan 29, 2008 7:17 am|
|Eckel, George||Jan 29, 2008 7:53 am|
|Warren Young||Jan 29, 2008 9:11 am|
|Warren Young||Jan 29, 2008 9:43 am|
|Lou Iorio||Jan 29, 2008 10:10 am|
|Warren Young||Jan 29, 2008 10:52 am|
|Lou Iorio||Jan 29, 2008 11:19 am|
|Steve Ball||Jan 29, 2008 11:56 am|
|Warren Young||Jan 29, 2008 2:32 pm|
|Stefan Heuer||Jan 30, 2008 1:26 am|
|Subject:||Re: [docbook-apps] DocBook editor|
|From:||Warren Young (war...@etr-usa.com)|
|Date:||Jan 29, 2008 9:11:25 am|
Does anybody have any experience in using MS Word as a DocBook editor?
Not me, but that won't stop me from levying an opinion. :)
Does it work?
I haven't been keeping up with recent releases of Office, but the last time I checked, Word didn't know the first thing about DocBook. Unless that's changed, the answer is "not unless you make it work".
Is it easy or hard to set up?
It seems to me that it could be made to work, if one had the will and power to apply that will. You'd need:
1. A culture where styles are used to the exclusion of all other formatting mechanisms. You need a group of people who would never think of changing a font from the toolbar. People for whom the Page Layout dialog is taboo. People who shudder at the thought of pressing the Bold button on the toolbar.
2. A willingness to only save in .docx format or something like it. If the goal is to support old .doc files, you're doomed from the start.
3. A willingness to write your own conversion tools from .docx to .dbx which are written to be liberal in what they accept as input but only produce valid DocBook XML. Naturally they map all the styles you defined for #1 from input to output, but they need to be able to cope with people hitting the Bold button: what does "bold" mean in DocBook, which has no "bold" tag? Your tool will have to make that choice, and you'll need to be willing to accept that choice, because it'll be expensive to keep changing the tool if whims keep changing.
4. A willingness to accept suboptimal results. Your converted documents will probably only be able to use 10% of the tags in DocBook, simply because Word has no way to make the semantic assertions necessary for an automated tool to select the others. The best you can hope for is to get all the major structural tags right, like <sect1>. You can't expect to be able to use inline tags like <varname>.
5. A willingness to accept that these suboptimal results as an ongoing thing, with no practical ability to improve your lot short of "getting out of the game", so to speak. Your conversion tool can't support everything DocBook does, so if someone hand-edits a DocBook file to add something your conversion tool can't, you can't round-trip that file any more, even if you have a tool that will convert from .dbx back to .docx. Such a tool can only be of limited use, because it would have to strip out any semantic markup that Word cannot preserve in its .docx output.
Is it easy or hard to use?
Provided none of the items above present a problem, it could be very easy to use. It's the up-front development cost that'll run most people off such a project.
Thank you in advance.
And I wish you luck, if you undertake this project. Please consider making it open source if you do. I'm sure there are lots of people who would be willing to accept this "training wheels for DocBook" approach, if the initial hurdle wasn't as high.