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Alpha DSSSL stylesheet for DocBook

From: Jon Bosak <bosak@atlantic-83.Eng.Sun.COM>
Date: Sun, 19 Jan 1997 13:20:40 -0800
Message-Id: <199701192120.NAA13880@boethius.eng.sun.com>
To: www-style@www10.w3.org
cc: bosak@atlantic-83.Eng.Sun.COM
I've just posted the following notice to the Davenport mailing list,
which is populated chiefly by users of the DocBook DTD for technical
documentation.  I'm copying it here mainly for those who might be
curious to see how a real table model (in this case the CALS table
model, which is about as real as it gets) can be specified from
scratch in DSSSL.

Black-belt Scheme experts who want to demonstrate their wizardry are
invited to try adapting Anders Berglund's CALS table spec to the table
model in the Cougar DTD (which should in theory be simpler).  If
anyone accomplishes this, let me know and I'll include it in a future
release of the DSSSL stylesheet for HTML.

Jon

========================================================================

1997.01.19

Well, I've been chipping away at a DSSSL stylesheet for DocBook since
last August, and it's becoming clear that I'm not going to get much
further with it until XML is out of the way.  The stylesheet made a
giant leap forward when Anders Berglund contributed the awesome
section that implements CALS tables, but since then I've only gotten a
chance to work on this during a couple of long plane flights, and
progress in the last two months has been almost zero.  So I've decided
to call the current version (0.63) an "alpha" and let other people
start playing with it.

No attempt has been made yet to deal with TOCs (generated or tagged),
index entries or references, footnotes, fancy syntax specifications,
or callouts and their ilk.  There is just enough so that you should be
able to use Jade on a DocBook 2.x document and get viewable RTF with
no SGML error messages (beyond complaints about the non-SGML
characters that I used to hack the bullets and checkboxes).  The style
is a vanilla demo format based on what used to come out of everyone's
cartridge-driven HP LaserJet back when your only choice for titles was
Helvetica and your only choices for text were Times and Courier.  Any
resemblance between this typographical treatment and anyone's actual
DocBook templates or FOSIs is, outside of this historical echo,
entirely fortuitous.

Among the numerous shortcomings of the current stylesheet is the fact
that it assumes the Win95 laptop environment that I've been using for
testing.  If all goes well, by the time I get on a plane again I will
have a laptop running Solaris, but I have no idea what I will then use
to view or print RTF.  Frame is supposed to import RTF but seems to do
a wildly buggy job of it.  Pointers to Unix applications that do a
good job with RTF would be greatly appreciated.

The stylesheet can be obtained by anonymous FTP from sunsite.unc.edu
in the directory /pub/sun-info/standards/dsssl/stylesheets/docbook.  I
will be happy to receive suggestions for further improvements, but the
fact is that I can already think of a bunch of them that I don't have
time to implement.  I would be much happier to receive working code
that can be added to the stylesheet to make it deal with some of the
things that are missing.  Same with bugs, of which I'm sure many will
be found when this is tried out with existing DocBook collections: I'm
interested in hearing about them, but I'll be a lot more interested if
you can provide a solution.

Bugs in Jade execution should NOT be reported to me but to James Clark
(jjc@jclark.com).  Always include an actual SGML file that
demonstrates the problem together with the stylesheet, the
corresponding RTF output, and a text description when you send a Jade
bug report to James.  If you need information about Jade, read
http://www.jclark.com/Jade and check out the other materials in
ftp://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/sun-info/standards/dsssl/.  Right now there
are virtually no tutorial materials on DSSSL, just the standard (a
DynaText 2.3 electronic copy of the committee draft for Windows is in
/pub/sun-info/standards/dsssl/draft) and the existing example
stylesheets, so if you're going to try working with this, bring a
sturdy ax and don't forget the water purification tablets.

Recommended reading: R. Kent Dybvig, The Scheme Programming Language,
Second Edition (Prentice Hall, 1996, ISBN 0-13-454-646-6).

Jon

----------------------------------------------------------------------
 Jon Bosak, Online Information Technology Architect, Sun Microsystems
----------------------------------------------------------------------
 2550 Garcia Ave., MPK17-101,           |  Best is he that inuents,
 Mountain View, California 94043        |  the next he that followes
 Davenport Group::SGML Open::ANSI X3V1  |  forth and eekes out a good
 ::ISO/IEC JTC1/SC18/WG8::W3C SGML ERB  |  inuention.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Received on Sunday, 19 January 1997 16:20:45 GMT

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