DocBook: The Definitive Guide
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: October 1999
Pages: 648

DocBook: The Definitive Guide is the complete and official documentation of the DocBook Document Type Definition (DTD) and many of its associated tools.

DocBook is a system for writing structured documents using SGML and XML. It provides all the elements you'll need for technical documents of all kinds. A number of computer companies use DocBook for their documentation, as do several Open Source documentation groups, including the Linux Documentation Project (LDP). With the consistent use of DocBook, these groups can readily share and exchange information. With an XML-enabled browser, DocBook documents are as accessible on the Web as in print.

DocBook: The Definitive Guide was written by Norman Walsh, the author of the XML implementation of the DocBook DTD; and Leonard Muellner, the manager of O'Reilly & Associates' Production Tools Group.

In this book, you'll find:

  • A brief introduction to SGML and XML
  • A guide to creating documents with the DocBook DTD and associated stylesheets
  • Information about using SGML and XML tools like Jade and DSSSL
  • An guide to customizing DocBook
  • A complete SGML and XML reference, including examples, for every DocBook element

In addition, the CDROM contains:

  • The complete source text of this book, in both SGML and HTML
  • All the examples from the book
  • DSSSL Stylesheets that let you convert DocBook documents to RTF, LaTeX, or HTML
  • The DocBook DTD for SGML, version 3.1

Oasis, the organization that is the official maintainer of the DocBook DTD, has identified DocBook: the Definitive Guide as the official documentation for the DocBook DTD.

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DocBook: The Definitive Guide Review

By Felix Gatzemeier

from Undisclosed

Comments about O'Reilly Media DocBook: The Definitive Guide:

The subtitle is a dead giveaway: "The Official Documentation". Anynone who has a liking for well-defined standards and concise documentation should be happy with this volume.

Some introductory chapters describe the basic structure of DocBook xml and sgml files. These are among the most useful resources on getting started with writing xml documents I've found yet.

The core (and the bulk) of the book is the description of the elements and their usage. The structured text is nicely modularized along these given lines. But the book stops working here. Due to the heavily interrelated nature of the information, the reader keeps paging through the alphabetically sorted entries. The only solution for this is a strongly hyperlinked electronic document - which is exactly what the authors provide on the accompaigning CD-ROM. It is only through this reference the true value shows itself.

Also, you don't have to take my word for it. The full text is available at www.oreilly.com and in other places. So, buying the book gives you a more readable rendition of the longer text passages, a fallback when the net goes down, and the feeling of giving some folks their due.

One drawback of the first edition is that it covers DocBook Version 3, while Version 4 is out now.

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