Reviews and Book

I just finished writing 5 reviews in 24 hours. Four for TuxTops.com and the Nokia E61 review for OSNews.com. Now I am free from such responsibilities and I can start writing the booklet on “mobile web design” this coming Monday. I will make it quick and to the point (especially as O’Reilly hasn’t reply to my request for publication), so I have it ready within this month. I think I will only write it in HTML and then I’ll find a converter to export a PDF out of it too. I don’t think I will take the time to also export it in DOC and ODF. Not sure yet. Let me know about the format(s) you prefer.

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Kitty wrote on June 8th, 2006 at 2:59 AM PST:

Have you considered Docbook? I am only starting to use it for my own technical documentation project at work, so I’m an absolute beginner, but it probably offers a few vantages over writing directly in HTML:
1) simpler validation, as there’s a number of free editors, both XML generic and specialized, that will validate what you’re writing against the standard docbook DTD
2) there’s a number of converters and xslt out there, so you can have a much better HTML conversion, and customize it much more, than the export you can get from OO or any wordprocessor
3) in the same way, conversion to PDF should be simple
As it’s a pretty well known standard, you can even render it directly with programs like GNOME’s Yelp ( and I’m pretty sure there’s a similar piece of software under KDE)


Ludovic Hirlimann wrote on June 8th, 2006 at 7:02 AM PST:

PDF is the way to go. I would use OOo to create the master document in odf, and then export from ODF to PDF and if you want to host it online (maybe with google ads), you can still export from odf to html (but that would require tweaking as OOo exported sucks a bit).

Doc is not necessary once you either have pdf or html.


KCorax wrote on June 8th, 2006 at 7:07 AM PST:

> As it’s a pretty well known standard

I object to that. Plus DocBook doesn’t pack in the fonts which makes it a really unimportant compromise between tex and pdf. There are really easy to use near-wysiwig tex editors which is not what I can say about DocBook.

If she decides not to use directly a wysiwig app it would be a questionable choice not to take advantage of her good grasp of html.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on June 8th, 2006 at 7:10 AM PST:

Actually, this is my problem: that HTML-exporting is sucky by any word processor today. How can I offer such badly-exported HTML on a document ABOUT html? This is why I thought to actually write it in cHTML (which is a subset of HTML 3.2 and the most compatible form of HTML) and then export it to other formats…


Kitty wrote on June 8th, 2006 at 7:49 AM PST:

Maybe I’m being obtuse, but what have fonts to do with Docbook?
I’m talking about the structure of the document here, not about its rendering/presentation. If she works in HTML she’ll have the same separation via a CSS I suppose. If she works in LaTeX (always a good choice) she will rely on existing document layouts and classes or will have to work on her own.
Basically writing Docbook is pretty much the same as writing HTML and going through the hassle of defining all the classes and subclasses of styles you’re going to use (code examples, quotations, step-by-step lists etc). Except that Docbook has them all defined yet, and they are designed around technical code documentation.
As for the actual rendering, I’m pretty sure there’s a zillion ways out there to turn that XML into HTML, PDF, whatever.
Sorry if I didn’t get what the point was about the fonts.


KCorax wrote on June 8th, 2006 at 10:43 AM PST:

Html should be fine, especially considering the nature of the book. However it isn’t as unambiguous as a document, it could look very different in various browsers.

You may convert it to 0.html -> 1.tex- > 2.dvi -> 3.pdf in the end which will give you a very very compact pdf and is quite easy to do too. This also eliminates all viewing inconsistencies from step 1 and remains editable up to 2. Finally it will definitelly sate all OSS creeps.


Ludovic Hirlimann wrote on June 9th, 2006 at 7:09 AM PST:

>I thought to actually write it in cHTML (which is a subset of
>HTML 3.2 and the most compatible form of HTML) and then
>export it to other formats…

Yeah but then it might look bad in pdf which is what people will use to print it. Maybe LaTeX might be a solution. BUt I do tend to think that pdf is the way to go. YOu might want to take a look at scribus (I have no idea how it exoports to html) – but don’t use it on Mac OS X it sucks too much.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on June 9th, 2006 at 7:12 AM PST:

cHTML doesn’t have to be ugly. It’s not uglier than a plain PDF file with a few colors and some bold/italics… ;)


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