1999 Linux Symposium

docbook: tutorial for hackers


DocBook: A Tutorial for Hackers and Writers

From the burgeoning number of tools and formats available for Linux documentation, one has begun to dominate the Open Content documentation scene. The DocBook DTD is being utilized by many projects in the Open Source community, including GNOME, KDE, LDP, and the OSWG.

In providing a structured method for creating documents that are marked up according to content instead of formatting, SGML has made a real comeback by enabling Linux documentation to be output to a wide variety of output formats from a single, definitive source.

The value of single-source documentation formats cannot be underestimated. The power of SGML and the DocBook DTD is immense, and can be harnessed not only to simplify the process of creating and distributing Open Content documentation, but can also be used to automatically generate powerful cross-referencing systems and indexes.

Due to the very structured nature of DocBook and the community's general lack of experience with creating documentation in such a format this tutorial will show developers, writers, and general Linux users how to get started creating documents with DocBook. We will also discuss a number of the tools available, some stylistic concerns, and future possibilities.

Dave Mason

Dave Mason is the manager of the Red Hat Advanced Development Labs. He has been at the labs for two years and originally joined to start the GNOME Documentation Project. While working on GNOME, Dave helped the GNOME Community move to DocBook.

Before RHAD Labs Dave was a technical writer for almost ten years and used every form of markup language the W3C could throw his way. Guitars enter Dave's life almost as much as markup.

Deb Richardson

When not donning PVC and saving the virtual world from evil-minded AI, Deb tends to spend a lot of time working, reading, goofing off, and playing games. A recent convert to a "TV-free life-style", Deb no longer watches Buffy & Angel, but secretly wishes she did.

Deb is not a vegetarian, nor does she partake in any known team or individual sport. She does walk a lot, however, and when she isn't busy building cities and ruling the Nile, she will occasionally look in on her two Opensource related projects, LinuxChix (http://www.linuxchix.org) and the Open Source Writers Group (http://www.oswg.org). Deb currently works at Zero-Knowledge Systems as an Information Architect, and has lots of fun doing whatever it is she does.

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