It seems at the end that our April’s fool predication on DitBook may turn right.. in some ways Jim Early, member of the DocBook TC, recently posted an article on his blog about DocBook going modular. This announcement got us truly excited at LiveTechDocs.
Put simply, until today you would publish a book with chapters. Tomorrow you may publish anything you like without creating a book: a new section with a legal disclaimer or a subset of a chapter that contains all your new content for review.
As outlined by Jim Early, DocBook modular is built around the concepts of assembly, resource and toc:
An assembly file, written in XML, tells what content (resources) are published and how it is organized in the final output (toc).A resource identifies a modular piece of content that is included in the final output; it can reference an entire XML file (chapter, section, paragraph…) or a subset of that file (through XML tag ID).The toc, table of contents, defines the logical content organization in the final output.
Long gone are the days when you give your clients book documentation. You may still need that PDF book available on your website or included in your installer but what you need most is modular content that can be re-used in different contexts.
Modular DocBook really helps in this sense: with this new development, DocBook users are able to take advantage of the XML precept “write once, publish to multiple outputs”.
DocBook 5.1 so very soon. We will keep you posted on that.
Modular DocBook is truly exciting news for the entire DocBook community. This concept, inspired from DITA architecture, offers documentation teams more flexibility to organize XML content and re-use it in efficient ways.
Last and definitely not least, this brings DocBook one step closer to DITA in concept. And what if this flirt would turn into a long-term relationship?